Knobkerry Roundtable

    Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 6:30–8:30pm

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    Sara Penn (1927-2020) operated Knobkerry in New York City from the 1960s through the 1990s. The store traded in textiles and ethnographic objects that Penn expertly transformed into coveted patchwork garments and, inside her store, arranged in elaborate and densely layered displays. It also served as an important physical and social space for a network of Black intellectuals, musicians, and artists, and for a broader subset of cultural and subcultural figures passing through the city.

    This program invites a group of Penn’s friends and colleagues, most of whom participated in Sara Penn’s Knobkerry: An Oral History Sourcebook by Svetlana Kitto, to bring to light Penn’s contributions to fashion, art, and culture in New York City. In lieu of a large physical presentation of Penn’s work or objects that passed through Knobkerry, this program provides a forum for recollections of Penn’s underappreciated artistic and ideological priorities. It looks to her peers to describe the expansive position she occupied and a physical, social, and aesthetic context she largely constructed for herself.

    With Carmen Hammons, Joanne Robinson Hill, Kathleen McDonnell, Seret Scott, and Ken Tisa. The program is moderated by Charles Daniel Dawson and Svetlana Kitto and will be livestreamed on Zoom.

    Charles Daniel Dawson is a photographer, curator, arts administrator, consultant, filmmaker, and scholar based in New York City. He is an early member of the Kamoinge Workshop.

    Svetlana Kitto is the author of Sara Penn’s Knobkerry: An Oral History Sourcebook.

    Sara Penn’s Knobkerry: An Oral History Sourcebook is published by SculptureCenter and New York Consolidated. The publication is designed by Pacific and is complimentary at SculptureCenter and available online below.

    This program is presented in advance of Niloufar Emamifar, SoiL Thornton, and an Oral History of Knobkerry.



    Leadership support of SculptureCenter’s exhibitions and programs is provided by Carol Bove, Jill and Peter Kraus, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Lee Elliott and Robert K. Elliott, Eleanor Heyman Propp, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, and Robert Soros and Jamie Singer Soros.

    SculptureCenter’s annual operating support is provided by the Elaine Graham Weitzen Foundation for Fine Arts; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Jacques Louis Vidal; A. Woodner Fund; Libby and Adrian Ellis; The Willem de Kooning Foundation; Teiger Foundation; Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; Cy Twombly Foundation; Arison Arts Foundation; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and contributions from our Board of Trustees, Director’s Circle, SC Ambassadors, and many generous individuals and friends.