Bring in the Reality

475 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019


Bring in the Reality presents works in a variety of media that embody the rhetorical role of parrhesia: works that speak candidly, freely and boldly; works that “speak truth to power.” The title of the exhibition is taken from Cornel West's 2014 book Black Prophetic Fire, in which he speaks to the enduring resonance of blues, jazz, hip-hop discourse and the writings of Malcolm X within the tradition of parrhesia, saying that with the civil rights leader, “It was always ‘bring in the funk, bring in the truth, bring in the reality.’”    

Implicit in the exhibition is freedom of speech and the obligation to speak for the common good, often reflecting on the personal risk taken to do so through the construction of counter-narratives. Conjuring the burden not only of history, but also of our present moment, Bring in the Reality presents alternative voices as highlighted by portraiture, video documents, interactive data surveys, sculptural anecdotes, Second Life, archives, allegorical paintings, aphorisms and slogans.

In the face of enduring inequality, homelessness, racism and police brutality, these works highlight a commitment to social change through the ongoing relationship between art and politics. The exhibition includes works previously commissioned for or featured in NLE exhibitions, as well as interrelated works by NLE community artists. Curated by Rachel Gugelberger.

Location: Nathan Cummings Foundation, 475 Tenth Avenue, 14th Floor
Opening Reception: Tuesday, May 12, 6–8pm. RSVP required to attend:
Viewing Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am–4pm, by appointment only. To view the exhibition, please contact the Nathan Cummings Foundation at

View the exhibition catalogue here.

Bring in the Reality was made possible by support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation. Rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community, The Nathan Cummings Foundation seeks to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities. For more information visit

A very special thank you to Halim Badawi / Instituto de Visión / Jack Shainman Gallery / Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong / Lenox Hill Neighborhood House / Julian Navarro / Hope Sandrow / SRI Fine Art Services / Squid Frames

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Bring in the Reality