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In this blue-toned photograph, three blurry, ghostlike figures in long dresses or robes walk toward the right side of the frame.

Will Rawls, Claudia Rankine, and John Lucas, What Remains

Photo © Julieta Cervantes, courtesy Live Arts Bard

Talk: Claudia Rankine with Will Rawls

About the program

Poet Claudia Rankine and choreographer Will Rawls discuss the themes of their upcoming MCA Stage work What Remains, which explores how erasure and exposure shape black American life. Associate Curator of Performance Tara Aisha Willis moderates the conversation.

MCA Talks highlight cutting-edge thinking and contemporary art practices across disciplines and are organized by Curator of Public Programs January Parkos Arnall and Assistant Curator of Public Programs Christy LeMaster.

About the Speakers

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine

Photo: Blue Flower Arts

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations; and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Her most recent play, The White Card, premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/American Repertory Theater). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers's Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Lannan Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and National Endowment for the Arts. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. In 2016 she cofounded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.erick Iseman Professor of Poetry. In 2016 she cofounded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Will Rawls

Will Rawls is a choreographer, writer, and lifelong performer based in Brooklyn. His practice combines dance with other media to investigate the poetics of blackness, ambiguity, and abstraction. His inquiries into bodily states and humanity aim to redraw notions of power and form. The recipient of the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer, Rawls has presented his work at The Chocolate Factory Theater, MoMA PS1, Performa 15, the Whitney Museum of American Art, ImPulsTanz, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. In addition to his own performances, he collaborated with Ishmael Houston-Jones to cocurate the Danspace Project Platform 2016, Lost and Found, which focused on the intergenerational impact of the AIDS epidemic on dancers, women, and people of color; Rawls helped organize performances, reconstructions, and discussions, and coedited the catalogue Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now. His writings have been published by Artforum, Triple Canopy, Les Presses du Réel, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Hammer Museum. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant. He has held teaching fellowships at Wesleyan University and Williams College, and continues to lecture widely at universities and festivals.


This program is made possible by the Gloria Brackstone Solow and Eugene A. Solow, MD Memorial Lecture Series