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Isaac Julien: Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die)

June 19 – September 4, 2022

About the Exhibition

Praise for Isaac Julien: Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die):

“Altogether, it’s a dream that makes a point to not make a point at all, but instead foreground old (but still charged) debates about art and objects, about how people see things or don’t, about the resonances of violence and the power of questions to reposition us. It’s a summer must-see.”⁠—Vogue

In celebration of our centennial, the Barnes has commissioned Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die)
, an immersive five-screen installation by artist and filmmaker Sir Isaac Julien, CBE RA (b. London, 1960). The work explores the relationship between Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who was an early US collector and exhibitor of African material culture, and the famed philosopher and cultural critic Alain Locke, known as the “Father of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) looks at Dr. Barnes’s and Alain Locke’s storied relationship, its mutually formative critical dialogue, and its significant impact on their work as cultural critics, educators, organizers, and activists on behalf of various African American causes.

With his distinguished career as a maker of deeply thoughtful and compelling video installations, his commitment to the investigation of African diasporic politics and culture, and his abiding interest in the Harlem Renaissance, Isaac Julien is the perfect partner for the Barnes in bringing this lesser-known chapter of the Foundation’s history to light.

The exhibition includes works by sculptors Richmond Barthé (1901–1989) and Matthew Angelo Harrison (b. 1989) and selected African objects from the Barnes collection.


See the trailer for Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die).


Created and directed by Isaac Julien, and co-written with Martina Klich, Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) is commissioned by the Barnes Foundation and the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the Sharjah Art Foundation, Linda Pace Foundation, Carol Weinbaum, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. This exhibition is presented at the Barnes Foundation and curated by Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President. Advisers to the project are Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum; Jeffrey C. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke and MacArthur Foundation Chair and Distinguished Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara; curator, filmmaker, and writer Mark Nash; and Chika Okeke-Agulu, a Nigerian-born artist and scholar based in Princeton, New Jersey. The work is executive produced by Mark Nash and produced by Andrew Fierberg and Angie Daniell.

Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) stars André Holland (Moonlight and Passing) as Alain Locke, Danny Huston (Succession and Marlowe) as Dr. Albert Barnes, Devon Terrell (young Barack Obama in Barry) as sculptor Richmond Barthé, and Sharlene Whyte (Small Axe and Lessons of the Hour) as the curator. It also features a special appearance by singer and songwriter Alice Smith.


Isaac Julien: Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) is sponsored by:

This exhibition is made possible by Agnes Gund, Emily and Mike Cavanagh, Marjorie Ogilvie and Miller Parker, Brenda A. and Larry D. Thompson, Darrell and Melenese Ford, and Ronald Blaylock.

Generous support for exhibitions comes from the Christine and Michael Angelakis Exhibition Fund, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Christine and George Henisee Exhibition Fund, and Aileen and Brian Roberts.

In addition, support for all exhibitions comes from contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund:

Joan Carter and John Aglialoro, Julia and David Fleischner, Leigh and John Middleton, Jeanette and Joe Neubauer

John Alchin and Hal Marryatt, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, Lois and Julian Brodsky, N. Judith Broudy, Laura and Bill Buck, Elaine W. Camarda and A. Morris Williams, Jr., Eugene and Michelle Dubay, Penelope P. Harris, Jones & Wajahat Family, Lisa D. Kabnick and John H. McFadden, Marguerite Lenfest, Maribeth and Steven Lerner, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan, The Park Family, The Rittenhouse Hotel, Adele K. Schaeffer, Katie and Tony Schaeffer, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene E. Stark, Joan F. Thalheimer, Bruce and Robbi Toll, van Beuren Charitable Foundation, The Victory Foundation, Kirsten White, Anonymous.

Related Programs

The Barnes has engaged cultural partners across Philadelphia, including The Fabric Workshop and Museum; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania & BlackStar Projects; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to present other works by Isaac Julien during the run of the exhibition and beyond.

Poetic Cinema: Isaac Julien and the Sankofa Film and Video Collective
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
June 13–August 3, 2022
A three-part program, developed with Isaac Julien and the Sankofa Film and Video Collective. Screenings will be followed by a conversation between scholars, artists, and filmmakers.

  • Looking for Langston (1989, 45 min.)
    June 13
    Conversation with Isaac Julien, artist and filmmaker; Kaja Silverman, Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania; and Ja'Tovia Gary, artist and filmmaker
  • Territories (1984, 25 min.) and Who Killed Colin Roach? (1983, 34 min.)
    July 11
    Conversation with Maori Karmael Holmes, CEO and artistic director of BlackStar Projects, and Thomas Allen Harris, senior lecturer, African American Studies & Film and Media Studies, Yale University
  • The Passion of Remembrance (1986, 80 min.; newly restored, 4K version)
    August 3, in conjunction with the BlackStar Film Festival
    Conversation with Karen Alexander, writer, educator, and freelance curator, and Louis Massiah, documentary filmmaker and founder/director of Scribe Video Center

In Focus: Isaac Julien
The Fabric Workshop and Museum

August 16, 2022–April 23, 2023
A selection of works from the museum's permanent collection displayed in conversation with Julien's Paradise (Omeros) #2, a photographic multiple created for The Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2002.

Lina Bo BardiA Marvellous Entanglement
The Philadelphia Museum of Art

January 28–May 29, 2023
A nine-screen video installation that explores the life, work, and legacy of the Italian-Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992). Reimagined by Isaac Julien specifically for the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Williams Forum, A Marvellous Entanglement (2019) considers architecture, nonlinear histories, memory, and diaspora.