Counternarratives: Performance and Actions in Public Space featured a selection of performances and actions that challenge social, cultural, and political conditions while others reclaim and question normative uses of public space within urban environments. The exhibition presented intercontinental conversations between activists and artists and positions the city of Baltimore within a global context. Counternarratives, which was free and open to the public, invited audiences to contemplate how the human body functions as a catalyst for positive social and political change.
Within MICA’s Decker Gallery, audiences entered a sculptural timeline permeating the space. The timeline started in 1955 with Rosa Parks’ historic act of civil disobedience on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks’ momentous performative protest against racial injustice, informed by her involvement with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, defines the conceptual framework for the timeline. To honor her legacy and relevance to contemporary actions in Baltimore, the exhibition featured a total of fifty-five case studies. In acknowledgment of the impact of the 2015 Uprising on the public sphere of the city, the last two years of the timeline were mostly concerned with performances and actions in Baltimore.
Initiated in 1997 by MICA’s former Curator-in-Residence George Ciscle, MICA’s Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) is organized across two consecutive semesters. The goal of EDS is to examine the curatorial process and to explore new ways of engaging with local artists, students, cultural organizers, activists, museums, and galleries. EDS 2017–18 was taught by MICA faculty Monica Amor with the support of GTI Gerald Leavell, mentors Graham Coreil-Allen, Nick Petr, Bashi Rose, and advisors Alex Oehmke and Jeff McGrath.