Isaac Julien’s immersive, multi-screen film installation Lessons of the Hour anchors this exploration of Frederick Douglass’ reflections on image-making, race, and citizenship. On view 18 May–24 September 2023.
Co-curated by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, and presented in collaboration with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, the exhibition brings together rare nineteenth-century daguerreotypes—on public view for the first time—saluting the studio practices of the African American photographers of Douglass’s era, as well as the many compelling sitters who sought to have their images captured and remembered. Juxtaposing these historic images with Julien’s contemporary work, the presentation represents a dialogue between local and international, between Douglass’s encounters with the citizenry of Hartford, Connecticut, and the continuing international reach of his unfinished movement for social justice. I Am Seen…Therefore, I Am: Isaac Julien and Frederick Douglass marks the 180th anniversary of Douglass’s first visit to Hartford in May 1843.