Exhibition - Truths and Reckonings: The Art of Transformative Racial Justice

Sunday, Mar 8, 2020 at 11:00am

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130

Please call before attending any community events. It is likely that they will be postponed or canceled as a result of the coronavirus. You can find CDC coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP has additional resources at aarp.org/coronavirus.

Truths and Reckonings: The Art of Transformative Racial Justice

Truths and Reckonings: The Art of Transformative Racial Justice explores how art and art institutions contribute to transitional justice by confronting histories of racist violence and their legacies today. Transitional justice aims to free political culture from the trappings of the past, but requires that aggressors and aggrieved confront each other, joining in recognition, reparation, and reconciliation. As a source of constructed racial meanings and related identities and behaviors, art can be implicated in racist violence (cultural, institutional, and interpersonal), but can also promote norms of anti-racism and related social change. Truths and Reckonings is an exploratory intervention into public memory, where artworks and objects on display grapple with difficult truths—relating to colonialism, enslavement, lynching, and their legacies—bearing witness to their harms and facilitating the processing of traumas we embody and reproduce.

The installation brings a selection of artworks that address racism from the Kemper Art Museum’s collection—including Rashid Johnson’s Thurgood in the Hour of Chaos (2009) and Kara Walker and Klaus Bürgel’s Golddigger (2003)—into conversation with selected objects from the Washington University Libraries, such as Thomas Nast’s 1864 political cartoon “Compromise with the South” and the Documenting Ferguson digital archive. Drawing on the Museum’s ability to shape understandings of history, including relations between time and place, this installation considers how critical artworks and their presentation facilitate reckoning with the presence of the past and contribute to repair.

Truths and Reckonings: The Art of Transformative Racial Justice is curated by Geoff Ward, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of African and African-American Studies in Arts & Sciences, in conjunction with his seminar “Monumental Anti-Racism” in spring 2020.

Date: February 7, 2020 - April 19, 2020

Location: Teaching Gallery

This event listing provided for the St. Louis community events calendar. Community events are not associated with or sponsored by AARP, but may be of interest to you. If you have an event to share, let us know!

Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster

More from AARP in St. Louis

AARP will host a weekly live Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Hall on Thursday at 1 pm (ET). Please join us each week for the latest information on the Coronavirus.

Read More »

You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today


  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in St. Louis
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner