Watch our Conversation with Artists Addressing "The Freedom Principle" at ICA Philadelphia

1960s Chicago was a hotbed of culture and freedom of expression with the formation of black artistic collectives such as Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and AfriCOBRA. Their work was so innovative and new that it continues to inspire artists to this day. The exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, currently on display at ICA Philadelphia, documents that ongoing movement.

Last night we brought together four Creative Capital and Doris Duke Performing Artists to discuss the atmosphere in Chicago and how it continues to inspire artists today. Muhal Richard Adams, Steve Coleman, Cauleen Smith and Henry Threadgill were led in a dynamic and often hilarious conversation by writer and musician Greg Tate. Thanks to ICA Philadelphia for hosting the event, and PhillyCAM for livestreaming the discussion!

From left to right: Greg Tate, Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Cauleen Smith and Henry Threadgill.

“You had to push your imagination as far as you could see it… There was no formula, no style. Nothing but your imagination.”
– Muhal Richard Abrams

“When I heard Ornette Coleman, then I understood the concept of freedom. Before then, freedom wasn’t in my mind!”
– Henry Threadgill

“There’s a lot of pressure not to be yourself in society… Everything is geared to hurl you in a certain direction.”
– Steve Coleman

“Chicago is this place that just produces black genius in abundance… so, I was curious.”
– Cauleen Smith

Creative Capital’s ongoing discussion series, Creative Conversations, highlights cohorts of artists addressing different themes and social issues in their work. Stay tuned for new panel discussions coming to a city near you!

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