September 29, 2017

Jeffrey Baykal Rollins

The Body of the People

Curator

Lanfranco Aceti

Location

Old South Meeting House

Photographer

Samuel J. Brewer

Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins has worked for more than thirty years in the field of socially engaged art when it was not glamorous and in places where authoritarian punishment for such a form of art would easily turn physical. He has engaged with the complexity of contextualized images of protest and has dealt with authoritarian speeches across countries to signpost common tropes. He is currently in the USA where he has developed new projects and performances in public spaces.

The performance The Body of the People was commissioned and curated by Lanfranco Aceti for the Museum of Contemporary Cuts and realized in Boston at the Old South Meeting House, the site of the American Revolution. It was part of a series of events that were planned in 2015 and realized in September 2016 ahead of the November election of Donald J. Trump. The curatorial remit was to anticipate trends and what by very few was perceived as an inevitable electoral outcome, leaving ahead of time a warning of ‘things to come’. The body of the People was just one of such visionary works of art which light up the cradle of American democracy, warning of future dangers.

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documentation of performance

Artist

Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins

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Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins is a multimedia artist and educator, now based in the greater New York
City area after living for many years in Istanbul. His “art as social practice,” combines drawing and
painting with performance, alternative education, institutional critique, and cultural studies.
Working in collaboration with numerous museums and universities nationally and internationally,
Baykal-Rollins has created site-specific projects reflecting upon current socio-political disruptions
such as the Arab Spring, citizens in democracy, Black Lives Matter, and gun violence in the
United States. He completed his BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the
Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, and holds an MFA from the University of California, Santa
Barbara.