Rhea Combs & Greg Tate | Ars Nova Workshop
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Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal

Rhea Combs & Greg Tate

In Conversation, with Milford Graves

January 21, 2021

Milford Graves’s visual and sonic transmissions have shaped and been influenced by Black traditions rooted in Afro-Caribbean culture. Each aspect of his performances, from the guttural sounds that emerge from his diaphragm to the elastic ways he bends and shifts his lithe body, function as gestural forms of communication with the ancestors. Ars Nova Workshop and ICA are honored to present Rhea Combs and Greg Tate in dialogue to provide further context on how Graves’s work is situated within Black aesthetics.

UPDATE (1/21/2021) — We’re pleased to announce that Milford Graves will also be joining us for this online conversation.


Rhea Combs is Curator of Film and Photography at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She also serves as the head of the museum’s Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts. Combs has curated film exhibitions nationally and abroad for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, the National Black Programming Consortium, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, to name a few.

Greg Tate has been a leading voice on contemporary Black music, art, literature, film, and politics since launching his career at the Village Voice in the early 1980’s. Through his signature mix of vernacular poetics and cultural criticism, Tate elucidates how race, gender, and class shape popular culture, and why visionary Black aesthetics, philosophies, and politics help define 21st-century America. He is also a musician, leading the experimental soul-jazz-hip hop ensemble Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber.

Cover: Milford Graves / Photo by David Mellins
Thursday, January 21


  • Talks

Program Info

Free with registration
All Ages

Sponsored by

Major support for Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Joseph Robert Foundation.



Presented by

Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal, organized and presented by Ars Nova Workshop and Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (ICA).


January 21, 2021 – “Rhea Combs & Greg Tate: In Conversation, with Milford Graves,” video recording provided by Institute of Contemporary Art. (YouTube)

September 25, 2020 – January 24, 2021

Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal

  • Exhibition

Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal

An exhibition gathering the many-layered and multi-faceted works of free jazz pioneer and polymath Milford Graves. Presented by Ars Nova Workshop at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.