Bring in the Reality

The Nathan Cummings Foundation


Bring in the Reality

This Exhibit has been extended and will now close on September 17th

To view the exhibition, please contact

Bring in the Reality features artwork at the intersection of storytelling and activism that examine economic, social and political inequality. The exhibition, curated by Rachel Gugelberger and organized by No Longer Empty, presents works in a variety of media that embody the rhetorical role of parrhesia: works that speak candidly, freely and boldly; works that “speak truth to power.” The title of the exhibition is taken from Cornell West's 2014 book Black Prophetic Fire, in which he speaks to the enduring resonance of blues, jazz, hip-hop discourse and the writings of Malcolm X within the tradition of parrhesia, saying that with the civil rights leader, “It was always ‘bring in the funk, bring in the truth, bring in the reality.’”

Kameelah Janan Rasheed 

Purchase the Proper Boots With Which to Pull Yourself Up By The Bootstraps, from the series How to Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette for the Lumpenproletariat), 2014

Implicit in the exhibition is freedom of speech and the obligation to speak for the common good, often reflecting on the personal risk taken to do so through the construction of counter-narratives. Conjuring the burden not only of history, but also of our present moment, Bring in the Reality presents alternative voices as highlighted by portraiture, video documents, interactive data surveys, sculptural anecdotes, Second Life, archives, allegorical paintings, aphorisms and slogans.



Hank Willis Thomas In collaboration with Sanford Biggers          

Seeker, 2012

In the face of heightened inequality, homelessness, racism and police brutality, these works highlight a commitment to social change through the ongoing relationship between art and politics. The exhibition includes works previously commissioned for or featured in NLE exhibitions, as well as interrelated works by NLE community artists.

Artists: John Ahearn / Radcliffe Bailey / Carolina Caycedo / Mel Chin / Melanie Crean / Jennifer Dalton / Enmedio / Iliana Emilia Garcia / Scherezade Garcia-Vazquez / Guerra de la Paz / Kameelah Janan Rasheed / Tim Rollins and K.O.S. / Stephanie Rothenberg / Dread Scott / Dread Scott & Kyle Goen / Hank Willis Thomas (in collaboration with Sanford Biggers) / Nari Ward

For more images of the exhibition, click here.