Choose your dates:

  1. Sunday, March 3, 2024

  2. Monday, March 4, 2024

Artist and Curator Check-in: Jean Alexander Frater and Jefferson Godard

On February 4, 21c Museum Manager, Adia Skyes, kicked off an ongoing series Curator Conversations with an engaging repartee between Jefferson Godard, Jean Alexander Frater, and Derrick Woods-Morrow. If you missed the conversation, you can check in out in the YouTube link below. 21c caught up with Jefferson and Jean for a quick Artist/Curator Check-in. Read on to see what gives them reasons to be hopeful, how we can support artists in our communities, and what they have learned this past year.

How are you feeling today? This week? This new year?

Jean Alexander Frater (JAF): I’m having a difficult time differentiating between days, weeks, months.  In Chicago, where the weather shifts, we can get a few more clues about the passage of time.

Jefferson Godard (JG): Things are definitely getting better as I will soon have my second vaccine. Plus, my favorite season is Spring, so I am in heaven.

Are you hopeful? If you are, what is giving you a reason to be hopeful in this moment?

JAF: I feel hopeful. A few days ago, there was a collective loud and immediate response to a proposed city ordinance that would greatly threaten DIY art venues and cultural events in the city of Chicago.  So many people stood up and took the lead, shared information, drafted letters and in so many ways advocated for the artistic and creative community here.  It all happened simultaneous to the opening of the second round of funding that an anonymous donor through Hyde Park Art Center is providing for Artist Run Spaces in Chicago.  This larger community made up of incredibly invested and supportive humans makes me feel very hopeful.

JG: Aside from the fact that we have a new regime, I am really just hopeful as there have been so many vaccines given out!

What are you looking forward to doing this year in your art practice?

JAF: I have a solo show coming up at Aspect Ratio Projects Gallery in the fall.  I am excited about what will happen in the studio to form how this show will be.

JG: I am really looking forward to some curatorial projects I have planned!

How can people continue to support artist in their communities?

JAF: Once it is possible: go out!  Be creative in your choices and you will be rewarded in your soul! Seek out interesting, DIY, smaller, non-commercial events and alternative spaces.  Become invested in the spaces, artwork, performances, venues that spark your interest and curiosity.

JG: Aside from buying from local artists, I think increasing the discourse on social media is a good start. Of course, I think that attending shows is important, but this will take time. And, by discourse, I mean that we need to go beyond liking things, but add helpful/constructive feedback as well.

Do you have any #protips or things you have learned in the past year that you would like to share with fellow artists?

JAF: My love for my fellow artists and creatives has grown exponentially over this past year.  I am proud to make, think and be alongside you.

JG: Actually, the one thing that has been reinforced to me over the past year is that people really want to be part of your team (or give feedback/advice)! I reached out to some people who would normally be unreachable due to demanding schedules but now have more flexible ones due to being at home. My advice here is, if you are fortunate enough to have a meeting with some important person to keep it short! Limit the meeting to 20 minutes and prepare everything ahead of time!

Check out the link to watch the full recorded conversation:  Curator Conversation Series: Episode 1

Artist/Curator bios:

Jefferson Godard is a video art curator, gallerist, educator, and trained architect. In 2012, Godard founded Aspect/Ratio Projects, a contemporary art gallery focused on video art. The gallery is currently located in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago and represents both emerging and mid-career internationally based artists. In addition to the gallery, he has curated video art based exhibitions and screenings at spaces including: The Chicago Architecture Biennial, Gallery 400 at UIC Chicago, Nice and Fit Gallery Berlin, Souvenirs from Earth channel in France, Shane Campbell Gallery Chicago, and The Mission Chicago. As a trained architect, Godard has worked on several high-rise residential projects in his hometown of Miami, Florida as well as an award-winning urban park competition Bahndeckel in Munich, Germany. In addition to his curatorial and gallery endeavors, Godard has lectured or participated on panels at Northwestern University, MCA Chicago, Moving image Art Fair New York, Chicago Artists Coalition, Art Cologne, and chaired a panel discussion at the College Arts Association Conference.–contact.html

IG: @jeffersongodard and @aspectratioprojectsgallery

Jean Alexander Frater experiments with the materials inherent to painting and then integrates other histories, traditions and language into this form. Alexander Frater is represented by Aspect/Ratio Gallery in Chicago. She was a 2017-2018 Chicago Artists Coalition BOLT resident, received an MFA from School of Art the Institute of Chicago, and a BA in Philosophy, from the University of Dayton, Ohio. Her work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as the Wexner Center for Arts, Columbus; El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe; Images Festival, Toronto; Possible Project Space, Brooklyn; Ben-Gurion airport, Tel Aviv; Kulturhuset, Stockholm, THE MISSION Gallery, Chicago; Transmitter Gallery, Brooklyn and Guest Spot @ The Reinstitute, Baltimore.

IG: @jeanalexanderfrater

Derrick Woods-Morrow‘s (b.1990) work is a meditation on deviation and disruption, on language and representation – on growing up in the American South. Currently based in Chicago and originally from Greensboro, North Carolina his artistic practice explores black sexual freedoms and the complicated histories concerning access to these freedoms.

As he navigates historical archives, he searches for moments, or ‘glitches’ that show alternative queer futures, existing, emboldened, and exacting – Freedom. Together, with other Queer Folx, he creates photographs, moving images, performance, installations and sculptures that recognize histories they were written out of and future places they wish to occupy.

Woods-Morrow’s work questions the very validity of the personal archive, of memory (ever fleeting), and of being ever-present with oneself. He is questioning the performance of the self untethered from expectation, both in his art, and his life – a new ideal of intimacy, where darkness liberates us, and blackness is inherently queer.

A recipient of the 2018 Artadia Award, Derrick Woods-Morrow received his MFA in Photography from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2016, and was most recently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography and Teaching Artist at the University of Illinois Chicago. He is an alum of the Fire Island Artist Residency & Chicago’s Bolt Residency. He has screened films at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center & Chicago Arts Incubator. His work has exhibited in collaboration with Paul Sepuya in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; at YNCI V: Detroit Art Week Expo (curated by Darryl Terrell); in Photography Now at The Center for Photography at Woodstock; and Down Time: On the Art of Retreat at the Smart Museum Chicago (curated by Leslie Wilson and Berit Ness). In Winter of 2019, a new film, much handled things are always soft (2019) will debuted in collaboration with the VISUAL AIDS 30th Annual Day With(out) ART programming at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art LA, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum, The New Museum & over a hundred institutions worldwide.

IG: @moresweetbeef


Jean Alexander Frater

L: Barnacle Grip, 2020, Arcylic, latex, and varnish on torn canvas

R: Peach Sea, 2021, Arcylic, latex, and varnish on torn canvas

Jean Alexander Frater, Space Matter, 2020, Arcylic, latex, and varnish on torn canvas


Derrick Woods-Morrow

L: Frederic on Lake Ponchartrain | after Lincoln Beach, 2019, Photograph

R: Excerpts from Acts of Divination (II) – Negation of Slight, Documentation of 2-hour durational performance, 2019, Photograph

box of 64: acts of boyhood divination (performance + video) spring 2019

Derrick Woods-Morrow brings together a cohort of black, queer collaborators in this experimental performance and conversation incorporating sculptural materials and movement. Performers include Darryl Terrell, Charles Long, and Zakkiyyah Najeebah. In Progress is a series of public programs designed to give artists, thinkers, and curators a platform for developing new works and to give patrons a glimpse into the creative process. In Progress is organized by January Parkos Arnall, Curator of Public Programs, and Christy LeMaster, Assistant Curator of Public Programs.