Grace Jones: Musings
Richard Bernstein, Inside Gatefold for Muse, 1979. Courtesy of The Estate of Richard Bernstein / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York.
What imaginaries do Grace Jones’ visual and sonic performances unfold?
In this series, we listen out for contemporary literary and academic voices that rehearse, record, and resound Jones’ contributions to black and queer imaginaries, looking at the role of music and performance in creating communities of affect and resilience.
The series references Jones' third and final disco album Muse, thought to have been unsuccessful due to Disco Demolition Night, a 1979 anti-black, anti-queer protest against disco music where protestors set fire to hundreds of disco records. Disguised as backlash from rock music fans, the event forced disco underground, steering a lasting shift in the direction of popular music.
Listen to Nigerian-British author Irenosen Okojie read her short-story Grace Jones, winner of the AKO Caine prize for African writing 2020; British-Eritrean musician Desta Hailé reading excerpts from her upcoming book, Black Beauty Model Agency (Independently published, 2021); performance studies scholar, Ricardo Montez reading an excerpt from the chapter ‘Theory Made Flesh?: Keeping Up with Grace Jones’ from his newly released Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire (Duke University Press, 2020); British cultural theorist Mark Fisher’s ‘I, the Object’, from his influential blog k-punk; ‘I feel Love: Disco and its Discontents’ by Tavia Nyong’o; art critic Douglas Crimp’s acclaimed DISSS-CO (A Fragment): From Before Pictures, A Memoir of 1970s New York (MoMA PS1, 2016); cultural studies scholar, Tim Lawrence’s ‘Life and Death on the Pulse Dance Floor’; and excerpts from Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity by José Esteban Muñoz.
Wed 11 Nov: Ricardo Montez, an excerpt from Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire, read by the author.
Wed 16 Dec: Douglas Crimp, DISSS-CO (A Fragment): From Before Pictures, A Memoir of 1970s New York, read by a member of 1525.
Mon 15 Feb: Tim Lawrence, ‘Life and Death on the Pulse Dance Floor: Transglocal Politics and the Erasure of the Latinx in the History of Queer Dance’, read by a member of 1525 Collective.
Mon 15 Mar: Jose Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, read by Niall Farrelly.