Knobkerry Roundtable

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

    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.

    Video and Camera: Lazar Bozic

    An edited and condensed transcript of the discussion was published with November.