Artist John Sims’ premieres 2020: (Di)Visions of America online at the Ringling

Artist John Sims kicks off 2021 with the online World Premiere of 2020: (Di) Visions of America at Ringling Museum of Art on MLK Day.

SARASOTA — Prolific artist, activist, and writer John Sims, a 2020-21 Artist-in-Residency at the Ringling Museum of Art, will kick off a series of exhibitions and events with the premiere of his work 2020: (Di)Visions of America on Jan. 18.

Based on the artist’s op-ed pieces and his responding multimedia work, this performance will challenge the complex issues surrounding COVID-19, police brutality, and the signs and symbols of American slavery in the context of the African American experience.

This online event will broadcast from the Ringling website on Jan. 18, 23, 30 at 7:30 p.m. and on Feb. 1 -2 at 6:30 p.m., as an outside screening at Ringling Museum. Ticket and screening info available here.

Sims will also be part of the group show Marking Monuments at Contemporary Art Museum, The University of South Florida, which features his animation video of a Florida plantation reimagined as a slave memorial, rewritten historical marker, and his signature piece, The AfroConfederate flag.

Artist John Sims, Freedom Memorial at Gamble Plantation, 2020. Video animation with sound, 12 foot AfroConfederate flag, marker.

On Jan. 23, a four-part series of symposiums entitled, Monuments, Markers and Memory, which critically explores power, politics and activism around public monuments and memorials, will be presented at USF, Gamble Plantation, New College of Florida, and Ringling Museum.

The series is centered on the works of Sims as an artist, writer, and activist and his recent series of op-eds in the Tampa Bay Times. The series will conclude with a keynote given by Sims.

On Jan. 30, Sims’ video, Recoloration Proclamation, 2020 will open for screening at the Monda Gallery at Ringling Museum as a part of the group exhibition, For Real This Time, an exhibit featuring film and video-based work by seven artists: Deanna Bowen, Allison Janae Hamilton, John Sims, Cauleen Smith, Martine Syms, Kara Walker, and Bear Witness, whose work explores issues of race, history, representation, and social justice on view Jan. 29-Feb. 18.

John Sims is a Detroit native and Sarasota-based conceptual artist, writer, and social justice activist. He creates art and curatorial projects spanning the areas of installation, performance, text, music, film, and large-scale activism; his work is informed by mathematics, design, the politics of white supremacy, sacred symbols/anniversaries, and poetic/political text.

For 20 years, he has been working on the forefront of contemporary mathematical art and leading the national pushback on Confederate iconography. Currently, he is an Artist-in-Residency at the Ringling Museum, where he developed the performance piece 2020: (Di)Visions of America.

His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC News, USA Today, NPR, The Guardian, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera, Art in America, Sculpture, Science News, Nature and Scientific American. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, Guernica Magazine, and The Rumpus and The Grio.

For more information, visit www.johnsimsprojects.com.

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