1000 Words: Arnold J. Kemp

March 2021

IN ANTICIPATION of his solo exhibition “False Hydras” at JOAN in Los Angeles, Arnold J. Kemp sat down with me in Chicago to continue our dialogue on the means and meanings of Black queer and feminist critical practice in the age of the internet. A teacher, writer, curator, and artist, Kemp occupies multiple cultural roles, which are paralleled by the range of materials and media—drawing, painting, performance, poetry, photography, installation, sculpture—that have both intellectually informed and physically shaped his practice over the past thirty years. Yet as our conversation made clear, whatever the materials in play, there are certain thematic preoccupations that consistently animate his work: a refusal of hard-and-fast demarcations between the West and its others; an interest in the visual (de)construction of African and diasporic identities within and beyond the Euro-Americas;

— Huey Copeland

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