248 Cabot Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Open to Montserrat community M-F, 10am-5pm
or by appointment:
February 7 – May 15, 2022
Speaking Truth to Power
February 7 – May 15
Speaking Truth to Power features a new series of paintings by Montserrat Adjunct Faculty member, Julia Csekö, based on the seminal writings of four contemporary women thinkers: bell hooks’ All About Love; Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States; and Diane Di Prima’s, Revolutionary Letters.
Csekö uses edited passages from these texts as both concept and image for her large-scale, grid-like paintings, underscoring the ways in which these authors interrogate structures of oppression and domination — from colonialism, patriarchy, white supremacy, to advanced capitalism. In taking excerpts from much longer texts as her paintings’ subject, Csekö examines and questions how these radical literary works continue to resonate over time and with current social and political issues.
In creating each piece, Csekö pays homage to these authors, immersing herself in their work, reading and re-reading each book to emerge with a sentiment or impression of the text. Excerpts are selected and calculated to fit within the limited space of each canvas. Within these practical and conceptual constraints, Csekö stresses the radical truth and unrelenting clarity these writers bring to different social-political scenarios and histories.
The title of the exhibition stems from a previous series, “A Coney Island of the Mind.” The difference between the two is not aesthetic but rather lies in the choice of authors. For sixteen years, the first series was focused on excerpts of poetry, theory, philosophy, and prose by a wide range of famous authors. In time, it became necessary to seek larger diversity within the selected work, opening space for the voices of women as well as BIPOC and LGBTQIA writers.
About the Artist:
Csekö’s work gravitates around conversations and experiments grounded on a paradigm shift from competitive to collaborative practices in social actions and interactions.
Born in Colorado and growing up in Rio, Brazil, she moved to Boston, MA in 2010 to pursue an MFA at SMFA at Tufts. In 2022, Csekö is an AiR at Sculpture Space, Utica, NY, a Somerville Arts Council grantee, and a Somerville Museum Community Curator. In 21’ she received a SAC Visual Arts Fellowship and was an AiR at the Umbrella Art Center 20-21’ in Concord MA. In 20’ she was invited as a Visiting Artist by Emerson College. In addition, she has public murals on view commissioned by the Somerville Arts Council (in East Somerville, MA), the Downtown Boston BID, (at Winter Pl, downtown Boston), and upcoming by Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (in Jamaica Plain, MA). In 2018 Csekö was invited as an AiR at the A4A MassMoCA. Csekö is also the recipient of a 2016 Walter Feldman Fellowship awarded by ABC Boston.