Learning How to Live:

A Conversation in Honor of Juneteenth

Thursday, June 16, 7 - 8:30 pm
Calderwood Hall

Join us for a night of spoken word performance and open dialogue featuring Boston-based organizers and artists bashezo, Julissa Emile, Simone John, Zenaida Peterson, Kamaria Weemz, and Neighborhood Salon Luminary Golden as they share the journey behind making the project A DEAD NAME THAT LEARNED HOW TO LIVE, created in response to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s collection.

In honor of Juneteenth, this living room-style discussion provides collaborators open space to discuss what Black queer community means, how chosen and blood family connections relate to their creative practices, and what it means to build towards a present where Black trans and queer people are free.

Please note: Proof of vaccination status and face masks are required for programs in Calderwood Hall.

Project Description from the Artist

A DEAD NAME THAT LEARNED HOW TO LIVE, a Juneteenth Neighborhood Salon Luminary commission in response to the Gardner's past exhibitions Boston's Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent and Being Muholi: Portraits as Resistance, showcases the intimacy of Black queer & trans family. In collaboration with chosen & birth family, Golden re-purposes the Museum’s collection as backdrops to portraits that interrogate the complicated histories behind Museum archives and their intersections between history & colonialism, land & legacy, village & voyeurism, future & freedom. Placing Black queer life into the Museum's space, in the forefront of its art objects, this commission asks: What does freedom mean within & to a museum? Where does access begin to collide, converge, & conflict surrounding Black people & our histories within archives? What is possible when Black queer & trans folk are allowed to bridge, beacon, & be?

About the Artists


This event is free with museum admission. Advance registration is required for timed entry tickets. Reserve your ticket online by clicking the RESERVE YOUR TICKETS button above.

Please note: While the City of Boston’s vaccination and mask mandates are lifted for general museum visits, the Gardner maintains its proof of vaccination and mask requirements for free and ticketed events in Calderwood Hall. Please visit the Know Before You Go web page for additional information, including accepted forms of documentation, or contact the Box Office at 617 278 5156 for further assistance.

Seating in Calderwood Hall is open within each seating level, and is first come, first served. To request accessible or wheelchair seating please call the box office at 617 278 5156. Seating begins 45 minutes before the performance. Once the performance begins, seating is not guaranteed.

Photo of Calderwood Hall by Cheryl Richards.

The Neighborhood Salon is supported in part by the Barr Foundation ArtsAmplified Initiative and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Museum also receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.