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MOONSHINE: The Celestial Films of Kevin Jerome Everson

June 15, 2023 - October 1, 2023

Second Floor

Media City Film Festival in partnership with Art Windsor-Essex presents the first solo exhibition of Kevin Jerome Everson’s work in Canada, curated by Greg de Cuir Jr. and Oona Mosna as part of Media City Film Festival’s 26th Edition.

MOONSHINE: The Celestial Films of Kevin Jerome Everson also marks the first occasion that the internationally celebrated American artist, filmmaker, and Heinz Award recipient’s ever-growing body of astral-focussed films are presented together in their entirety. This exhibition offers visitors a rare chance to experience the artist’s cinematic renderings documenting the shape, surface, and spatio-temporal movements of stellar objects, tracing their revolutionary and cosmic cycles, and capturing brief and brilliant encounters between lunar and solar bodies.

Globally recognized for his prolific body of films portraying the lives and experiences of African Americans that “poignantly explore the concepts of labour and work,” the artist’s engagement with astronomical bodies as subject in his moving image practice began with a commission from the University of Virginia, intended to celebrate Black History Month. His response to the commission’s premise culminated in a counter argument. A refusal. An inward search, and a looking up and away. The resulting film, Rough and Unequal: Oceanus Procellarum (2017), is a macroscopic study of the waxing and waning of the moon, shot using an analogue 16mm Bolex camera and a telescope at the Leander McCormick Observatory, operated by the University of Virginia where Everson is currently Professor of Art and Director of the Studio Art Program. The project ignited a fascination in the artist, and he began to commit the movement and repetition of all things superlunary to film: the sun, the moon, eclipses, and other stellar phenomena. As stated by Dr. Terri Francis: ”Through Everson’s eyes, we share the perspective of a black artist following his curiosity and craft. Informed by conceptual art and realism, Everson’s work in moving images involves abstraction and reflexivity, and it is precisely, if ironically, the lack of cultural specificity or personal reference that centres blackness in a universal experience all of us can enjoy.”

MOONSHINE brings together six works: Rough and Unequal: Oceanus Procellarum (2017), Polly One (2018), Polly Two (2018), Condor (2019), Black Vulture (2021) and the world premiere of the artist’s most recent lunar study, Thirty-Seven Degrees (2023). Everson once sarcastically remarked, “Do the privileged powers also own the moon and the sun?” In this era of for-profit space exploration, this remains an open question. Media City Film Festival and Art Windsor-Essex invite you to shift your gaze and contemplate the multitude of answers found in the space of this special exhibition.  

In-person public events with artist Kevin Jerome Everson and curators Greg de Cuir Jr. and Oona Mosna will take place during Media City Film Festival’s 26th Edition. Artwork courtesy the artist, trilobite-arts DAC and Picture Palace Pictures. 

Special thanks to Madeleine Molyneaux (Picture Palace Pictures), Travis Bird (Shotgun Cinema), Sophie Cavoulacos (MoMA) and David Cyrenne (Caesars Windsor).

Meet the Artist: Kevin Jerome Everson

Kevin Jerome Everson (USA) is an artist and filmmaker born in Mansfield, Ohio. He has completed more than 200 films since 1997, quietly assembling one of the most remarkable collections of contemporary African American life ever committed to cinema. He received a BFA from University of Akron (1987) and an MFA from Ohio University (1990). His work has been exhibited widely at festivals, museums, and galleries internationally, including The Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Toronto International Film Festival, Walker Art Center, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Berlinale, New York Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and elsewhere. Everson has received mid-career film retrospectives at Cinéma du Réel/Centre Pompidou (2019), Harvard Film Archive (2018), Tate Modern (2017), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2017), the Whitney Museum of American Art (2011), and Media City Film Festival (2011). His work has also been featured at the 2008, 2012, and 2017 Whitney Biennials, the 2013 Sharjah Biennial, and the 2018 Carnegie International. He is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award (2012), Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities (2019), Berlin Prize (2020), and Guggenheim and American Academy in Rome Fellowships. Media City Film Festival has screened 50+ films by Everson since 2009. He is Professor of Art at the University of Virginia. He lives and works in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About the Curators:

Greg de Cuir Jr (Serbia/USA) is the co-founder and artistic director of Kinopravda Institute in Belgrade. He has organized programs at Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), Anthology Film Archives (New York), Locarno Film Festival, and Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, among others. De Cuir was commissioned by Centre Pompidou to write a catalogue essay about Kevin Jerome Everson’s work for the occasion of the artist’s mid-career retrospective at Cinéma du réel in 2019. He organized the first solo exhibition of Everson’s work in Europe in 2019, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina in Novi Sad, the European Capital of Culture. De Cuir is currently editing the translation of Constructivism in Film: The Man With the Movie Camera, written by Vlada Petric (originally published by Cambridge University Press, 1987). He lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. 

Oona Mosna (Canada) is an artist, author, curator, and artistic director of Media City Film Festival since 2004. She has organized thousands of screenings, retrospectives, and exhibitions with artists including Yoko Ono, Mati Diop, Barbara Hammer, Michael Snow, Sergei Parajanov, Carolee Schneemann, VALIE EXPORT, and Kevin Jerome Everson at La Moneda Palace and the National Museum of Fine Art (Chile), Toronto International Film Festival, Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, and other venues worldwide. An accomplished producer, she has commissioned films which have screened at Tate Modern, Whitney Museum of American Art, Venice Film Festival, Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, Centre Pompidou, The Museum of Modern Art, and elsewhere. She has exhibited Everson’s work as part of film retrospectives and 50+ single-film screenings in North America and Europe since 2009. She lives and works in Windsor-Detroit and internationally.

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