Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates

BALTIMORE, MD – The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will present a conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, and author of Marvel’s The Black Panther comic book series on Thursday, May 17 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The program is part of The Necessity of Tomorrow(s), the BMA’s free series of creative conversations and social events featuring nationally recognized artists, writers, and thought-leaders to consider key ideas at the intersection of art, race, and social justice—and imagining the futures we want. The discussion with Coates and BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford will be centered on Afrofuturism and its role in today’s cultural landscape.

The event includes music by Ancestral Duo and DJ Trillnatured, a comic book reading room organized by Atomic Books, art-making activities, light refreshments, and community conversation. Coates will give a reading from one of his recent books and discuss his work on the Black Panther comics, as well as on the recent blockbuster film of the same name. Tickets will be available beginning at 6 p.m. on May 17, and seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free. The event will also be live-streamed in the BMA’s Fox Court along with overflow seating.

“We developed the Necessity of Tomorrow(s) because we believe that, as Baltimore’s civic museum, it is incumbent upon us to use our exhibitions, collections, and public programs as platforms to engage the most urgent questions of our time,” said BMA Director Christopher Bedford. “Ta-Nehisi was a natural choice for the next iteration of the series. He is this generation’s voice on issues of race and black identity, which is especially topical with his involvement in the cultural phenomenon that is Black Panther, and the museum is honored to host him.”

The Necessity of Tomorrow(s) borrows its title from an essay by science fiction author Samuel Delany that argues for the role of creative speculation in making a more just future. The first event featured artist Mark Bradford in conversation with Christopher Bedford explored how he changed the course of his life when he was 30 years old to eventually become one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. Bradford also discussed Art + Practice, the nonprofit he co-founded in South Los Angeles to supports the needs of local foster youth.

The next Necessity of Tomorrow(s) event will take place in October 2018.

The Necessity of Tomorrow(s) is generously sponsored by Suzanne F. Cohen and the Cohen Opportunity Fund.

Ta-Nehisi Coates. Photo by Gabriella Demczuk