Once Again. . . (Statues Never Die) at Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia presents the World Premiere of new 5-screen film installation by Isaac Julien
June 7, 2022

The Barnes Foundation marks its centennial celebrations with the World Premiere of a new five-screen immersive film installation by Isaac Julien, Once Again... (Statues Never Die)


Commissioned by the eponymous foundation established in 1922 by famed businessman and art collector Albert C. Barnes (1872 - 1951), Once Again... (Statues Never Die) explores the relationship between Dr. Barnes, an early US collector and exhibitor of African material culture, and the famed philosopher and cultural critic Alain Locke, known as the “Father of the Harlem Renaissance.”


Played by actors Danny Huston (Succession and Marlowe) and André Holland (Moonlight and Passing), Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) reflects on Barnes’s and Locke’s mutually formative critical dialogue, and its significant impact on their work as cultural critics, educators, organizers, and activists on behalf of various African American causes.


With his distinguished career as a maker of deeply thoughtful and compelling video installations, his commitment to the investigation of African diasporic politics and culture, and his abiding interest in the Harlem Renaissance, Isaac Julien is the perfect partner for the Barnes in bringing this lesser-known chapter of the Foundation’s history to light.


The exhibition includes works by sculptors Richmond Barthé (1901–1989) and Matthew Harrison (b. 1989) and selected African objects from the Barnes collection.


Created and directed by Isaac Julien, and co-written with Martina Klich, Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) is commissioned by the Barnes Foundation and the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the Sharjah Art Foundation, Linda Pace Foundation, Carol Weinbaum, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. This exhibition is presented at the Barnes Foundation and curated by Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President. Advisers to the project are Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum; Jeffrey C. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke and MacArthur Foundation Chair and Distinguished Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara; curator, filmmaker, and writer Mark Nash; and Chika Okeke-Agulu, a Nigerian-born artist and scholar based in Princeton, New Jersey. The work is executive produced by Mark Nash and produced by Andrew Fierberg and Angie Daniell.


Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) stars André Holland (Moonlight and Passing) as Alain Locke, Danny Huston (Succession and Marlowe) as Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Devon Terrell (young Barack Obama in Barry) as sculptor Richmond Barthé, and Sharlene Whyte (Small Axe and Lessons of the Hour) as the Curator. It also features a special appearance by singer and songwriter Alice Smith.

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