This newly commissioned billboard and installation by designer, artist, and archivist Josh MacPhee welcomes the SMFA at Tufts and surrounding communities into reflection on a year of deep loss and radical change. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated longstanding social, economic, and racial inequities that govern access to health care, housing, information, opportunity, and basic necessities for survival, while at the same time ushering in new forms of protest, solidarity, and mutual aid. Taking into account these complex, evolving, and compounding issues, MacPhee asks: What should our cities, educational institutions, and cultural spaces look like today as we care for one another in this new reality? What tools may we need? Framed against an idyllic sky of bright blue and fluffy clouds in a highly graphic style, the bricks as building materials or projectiles float as the clouds in suspended motion, bringing a sense of levity and possibility to a world in transition. As part of the artist’s longstanding work within and in support of social movements, We Carry a New World in Us establishes a space of construction and deconstruction where we can develop new visions for the future. This work is presented in conjunction with Art for the Future: Artists Call and Central American Solidarities, on view at Tufts University Art Galleries at SMFA at Tufts and Aidekman Art Center, Medford, from January 20 to April 24, 2022.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Josh MacPhee is a founding member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, the author of An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels, and coeditor of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He cofounded and helps run Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements. This project is organized by Abigail Satinsky, Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries.