Press Release

Brooklyn Public Library Announces 2019 Fall Season

Brooklyn, NY
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Brooklyn Public Library Announces 2019 Fall Season with Lectures, Performances, Exhibitions and Special Events Featuring Prize-Winning Authors, Journalists, Performers, and Artists from Brooklyn and around the World 

Highlights Include:

  • ‘Til Victory is Won: 400 Years of Making Revolution and Inventing Utopia, an evening long teach-in marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of first enslaved Africans to the shores of present-day Jamestown in 1619, featuring lectures by activists, historians, cultural critics, and artists exploring how Americans can work together to create a more radical, inclusive, and racially just future
  • Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on her new memoir The Education of an Idealist
  • Musician and activist Billy Bragg in conversation with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman on his political pamphlets, The Three Dimensions of Freedom, and the accountability crisis in Western democracies
  • Award-winning author Amitav Ghosh shares his latest work, Gun Island; a globetrotting, folkloric adventure about family and heritage
  • An exhibition honoring the pioneering New York alternative art space Franklin Furnace, featuring works by Shirin Neshat, Willie Cole, Tehching Hsieh, Rashaad Newsome, and Jenny Holzer 
  • Curatorial collective Black Chalk & Co. presents Beautiful Words are Subversive, an exploration of Zimbabwean and African diasporic literatures through print, audio-visual, and performance works
  • The launch of The Centre for the Less Good Idea at BPL, the first North American extension of artist William Kentridge’s Johannesburg-based arts incubator project; Kentridge, fellow artists, and curators will hear project pitches from New York-based artists in Fall 2019, culminating in an exhibition of work from both cities at BPL in Spring 2020 
  • The return of Library-favorites—Message from the Library—featuring musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson, Classical Interludes, Night of Philosophy, and LitFilm 

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), one of the largest library systems in the country, today unveiled the 2019 BPL Presents fall season, a series of socially engaged cultural programming that includes conversations and lectures with authors, artists, and scholars; music, dance, and theater performances; art exhibitions; and film screenings. Through its nearly 70,000 free programs a year, BPL continues to redefine libraries as centers for ideas and exploration that support personal advancement, provide opportunities for civic engagement, and strengthen the fabric of communities they serve.

“In the coming months, library patrons will be challenged and delighted by the extraordinary array of speakers, artists, and writers who make up our fall season,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “From Pulitzer Prize winner and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power—who in her new memoir offers an urgent response to what one person can do—to the Turtle Island Quartet performing their Grammy Award-winning project A Love Supreme: The Music of John Coltrane, we hope the diversity of these programs attracts and inspires people from across the borough.” 

Throughout the fall the Library will host an exploration of timely civic and cultural issues including conversations with award-winning authors and thinkers including former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Billy Bragg, Amitav Ghosh, Benjamin Mosher, Angie Thomas, Andrew Marantz, Terry Tempest Williams, Eva Chen, and Jacqueline Woodson.

“This fall is especially meaningful to all of us at the library,” said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture, Brooklyn Public Library. "With our programing we are taking an uncompromising look into our collective memory especially when it comes to the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave ship on our shores. This is exactly where we see our role as a true public institution; fostering curiosity and relentlessly questioning the status quo.”

On Saturday October 26, BPL Presents will observe the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the shores of present-day Jamestown during a five-hour program titled ‘Til Victory is Won: 400 Years of Making Revolution and Inventing Utopia. Exploring how Americans can work together to create a more radical, inclusive, and racially just future for the United States and beyond, patrons will delve into American and trans-Atlantic history from 1619 to the present, offering the opportunity to engage with and participate in interactive lectures, conversations, and historical readings that focus on important junctions of our history. Invited guest lecturers, including Susan Burton, Greg Tate, and Robyn C. Spencer, will speak about liberation policies, the Civil Rights movement, mass incarceration, utopia, poetry and art as a tool against dehumanization, and more. For complete details about the evening, please click here.

BPL’s visual arts program continues to expand, and in fall 2019, the Library will feature multiple art exhibitions in its Central Library and across its branches. On view through October 15 is a tribute exhibition honoring the pioneering alternative art space Franklin Furnace and its enduring legacy as a catalyst of risk-taking cultural production in New York City. Including works by Shirin Neshat, Willie Cole, Tehching Hsieh and Rashaad Newsome, as well as a Jenny Holzer banner recreated specifically for Brooklyn Public Library, Franklin Furnace: Performance is Public explores the dynamics between free speech and public space, and between live performance and the archival process. 

In October, the Library will present Black Chalk & Co. artist collective’s exhibition Beautiful Words are Subversive for which artists Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Tinashe Mushakavanhu will create works across print, performance, and audio-visual media, exploring notions of language and cultural production with a focus on Zimbabwean and African diasporic literatures. In December, BPL will launch The Centre for the Less Good Idea at Brooklyn Public Library, the first North American extension of artist William Kentridge’s Johannesburg-based arts incubator project. Kentridge, fellow artists, and curators will hear pitches from New York-based artists culminating in an exhibition of work by artists from both cities at BPL opening in January 2020. A two-artist exhibition, The Stars Down To Earth, will launch in January 2020 and feature work from photographer and sculptor Dario Robleto and photographer Mary Mattingly. The work incorporates storytelling sculpture, as well as work with found natural materials, and will take residence at both Central Library and Greenpoint Library, a new branch focused on ecology.

In addition to the fall programming, in October BPL will announce the winners of the fifth annual Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize. Throughout the upcoming year, the BPL Presents season will continue its ongoing innovative Library-produced programming including the BPL-commissioned lecture series Message from the Library featuring musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson on November 3; the 12th season of BPL’s Classical Interludes, which provides free access to professional-caliber chamber music including Catalyst Quartet and Grammy Award winners Turtle Island Quartet; its partnership with Theater of War Productions, using theater to spark conversations within the community about issues such as race, social justice, and the impact of war, in an effort to promote healing and change; and in 2020, a new semester of University Open Air, the return of A Night of Philosophy & Ideas in collaboration with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy; and the LitFilm festival—please visit: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/bpl-presents 

 

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Central Library Facade. Photo by Gregg Richards. Image courtesy Brooklyn Public Library.

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