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No Boundaries Performance Series

Grace Notes


September 09–September 10, 2016

Directed by Carrie Mae Weems 

University Theatre, 222 York Street


Acclaimed photographer and video artist Carrie Mae Weems presents a powerful and provocative new work—rooted in poetry and her stunning projections and featuring music, song, and spoken word—that examines themes of social justice, race, and identity in the context of our historical moment. Weems, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, has spent a lifetime reflecting on these issues and addresses them in her work with a force and clarity unmatched in contemporary art, a fact that burned brightly when she became the first African American woman to have a major career retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York in 2014.

Grace Notes: Reflections for Now—originally conceived as a response to President Obama’s singing of “Amazing Grace” during his eulogy for Emanuel AME Church victim Reverend Clementa Pinckney—brings together a cast of extraordinary artists from different disciplines, among them composer/musician Craig Harris, composer James Newton, poet Aja Monet, writer and theatre artist Carl Hancock Rux, dancer Francesca Harper, and singers Alicia Hall Moran, Imani Uzuri, and Eisa Davis. Weems shapes an immersive experience from these elements, with herself at the center and her arresting video and photography as a framework. In a performance that is indelibly linked to this time of civic unrest, its escalating violence, and the bizarre political rise of Trump, Weems asks and explores complicated questions about the meaning of grace and its role in the pursuit of democracy.

Running time is 1 hour and 20 minutes. There is no intermission.

Click here to look at the Yale Arts Calendar for more events and discussions related to Reflections for Now.

Grace Notes: Reflections for Now is co-sponsored at Yale by the Office of the President; the Andrew Carnduff Ritchie Fund; Yale Center for British Art; Yale University Art Gallery; Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration; Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library; Yale Institute of Sacred Music; Afro-American Cultural Center; Alumni Diversity and Inclusion Task Force; Department of African American Studies; Department of History of Art; Dwight Hall at Yale; Initiative for Race, Gender, and Globalization; Intercultural Affairs Council; International Festival of Arts & Ideas; Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale; JUNCTURE, an initiative of the Schell Center for International Human Rights; New Haven Promise; Office of Public Affairs & Communications; Office of the Associate Dean for the Arts in Yale College; Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life; Saint Thomas More, the Catholic Chapel and Center; Yale Alumni Arts League; Yale Black Alumni Association; Yale Chaplain’s Office; Yale College Dean’s Office; Yale Divinity School; Yale School of Art; Yale School of Music; and Yale University Office of New Haven and State Affairs.

Grace Notes: Reflections for Now was commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA, curated by Sarah Lewis, and premiered at the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre in June 2016.

Grace Notes photography © William Struhs, 2016.