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The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Njideka Akunyili Crosby
In conversation with Erin Christovale
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Episode Summary

Who do you think you are? What do you think you are? These questions of gender, religion, race, nationality, class, culture, and all our polarizing, contradictory natures permeate Kwame Anthony Appiah’s newest book. In The Lies That Bind, Appiah, the author of the Ethicist column for the New York Times, challenges our assumptions of identities—or rather mistaken identities. Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a MacArthur Award-winning Nigerian born visual artist who lives in Los Angeles, meshes painting, printmaking, photography, and collage to create large-scale mixed media works bursting with multinational perspectives. Speaking with the Hammer Museum’s Erin Christovale about 21st century identity politics and the appropriation of culture, Appiah and Crosby will share from their own work to consider how our collective identities shape—and can bring together—our divisive world.


Participant(s) Bio

Kwame Anthony Appiah pens the Ethicist column for the New York Times, and is the author of the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism, among many other works. A professor of philosophy and law at New York University, Appiah lives in New York.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby draws on art historical, political and personal references to create densely layered figurative compositions that, precise in style, nonetheless conjure the complexity of contemporary experience. Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria, where she lived until the age of sixteen. In 1999 she moved to the United States, where she currently lives. Her cultural identity combines strong attachments to the country of her birth and to her adopted home, a hybrid identity that is reflected in her work. Crosby is the recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and was awarded Financial Times‘ Women of the Year, 2016. Recent solo exhibitions include Front Room: Njideka Akunyili Crosby, The Baltimore Museum of Art, alongside Prospect.4, curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, New Orleans. Among her current projects is an an outdoor mural for LA MOCA Grand Avenue, on view until December 31, 2018. She lives in Los Angeles.

Erin Christovale is the Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She is also the curator of Black Radical Imagination with Amir George, which has screened both nationally and internationally in spaces such as MoMA PS1, MOCA Los Angeles, and the Museo Taller José Clemente Orozco. Exhibitions include a/wake in the water: Meditations on Disaster(2014) at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Memoirs of A Watermelon Woman (2016) and A Subtle Likeness (2016) at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, and S/Election: Democracy, Citizenship, Freedom (2016) at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and baby boy(2017) at Transmission Glasgow. She recently organized the 28th anniversary of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS with Vivian Crockett as part of Visual AIDS’ project, A Day With(Out) Art and Made in L.A. 2018, the Hammer Museum’s biennial showcasing artists from the greater Los Angeles area with Anne Ellegood.