Autumn Knight makes performances that reshape perceptions of race, gender, and authority in institutional spaces. Drawing from such disparate fields as dance, psychology, religious studies, and theatre, Knight pays attention to the ways knowledge is produced collectively among her audience members and physically in the body through language, movement, and emotion. Often gathering black women at the center of the conversation—whether herself as performer-facilitator or members of communities she makes around her—Knight usurps the dynamics of a room with humor and with purpose, enacting absurd situations and offering new ways of thinking and feeling.
For her first solo museum presentation, Knight works Krannert Art Museum and the Illinois campus into settings for performances, a series of companion pieces, and a gallery installation. The exhibition becomes an occasion for the artist to scrutinize her past work against the backdrop of a large public university while continuing to craft a research method that is perpetually in rehearsal—always nearly finished and yet constantly being taken up again.
Knight's diverse subjects include mental well-being and choreography, group dynamics and self-knowledge, religious mythology and poverty, and black maternal feeling alongside the coldness of racially motivated state sanctioned murder. Knight also makes central the challenges of performance in museums, showing videos of past work and her wide-ranging influences alongside physical supports for performers and viewers under a warm atmosphere of pink and red lights. In addition to scheduled public performances throughout the semester, returning museum visitors will be rewarded, for at any moment one might find a person playing the cello, trying on shoes, or singing a chorus.
Originally from Houston, Autumn Knight is based in New York City where she is currently Artist-in-Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem.