Prior to the Spertus Museum of Judaica's 1994 exhibition, "Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings," participating artist Fan Warren talks about her artistic influences, Black and Jewish relations, and her qualms with the Spertus show.
1:05Copy video clip URL Fan Warren speaks about her work in general, explaining that it deals with “the plight of black people in America; how we are viewed in America by other people, how we exist in America, where we come from, how we’ve gotten here… as well as my own personal self; how it’s been for me as a black person growing up in the South, the plight of my relatives, my immediate families.”
2:30Copy video clip URL Warren explains some of the common symbols that can be found throughout her work, including houses and tables. “I always use the house as this unattainable force that prevails in American culture. I use the table because the table to me is sort of like the center of what’s happening,” explains Warren.
4:46Copy video clip URL Warren talks about the use of reclaimed materials in her work and elucidates the multitude of reasons behind this aesthetic choice.
6:32Copy video clip URL Warren explains her initial reaction when asked to participate the in the Spertus Museum’s show. “It was pretty exciting, although it was a challenge… It was like ‘what am I going to say that’s different?'” says Warren, before going on to talk about her process for approaching the piece.
9:28Copy video clip URL Warren continues talking about the shared history of Africans and Jews before explaining how elements of their history are symbolized in her piece for the show, “Made in America II.”
12:35Copy video clip URL In a short aside, Warren recollects learning about the Holocaust at a young age. Speaking as a younger version of herself, Warren recounts, “Wow, this is amazing to me, that these two people [African-Americans and Jewish-Americans] both have a relationship to this word, the ghetto,” then talking about Maxwell Street as both a Jewish and Black ghetto of Chicago.
15:28Copy video clip URL Warren reveals a few of her frustrations with the Spertus show, including the “extremely racist” nature of Bridges and Boundaries catalog and the insensitivity of the Spertus staff. “Here it is, I’m in a show that supposedly is going to let me do what I do—which is make art—the only freedom I feel that I have today, and now someone is telling me what I should think or how I should feel or what I should say,” laments Warren.
20:14Copy video clip URL Footage of Warren presumably taken for Esther Parada and Hamza Walker’s piece.
25:32Copy video clip URL B-roll footage of Warren’s piece.