Join us at ICP for the New York launch of artist and educator Rahim Fortune's second monograph, Hardtack (Loose Joints, $67). Rahim will discuss his new publication with art historian and writer Nicole Fleetwood, followed by a signing in the ICP Cafe. The conversation will be accessible in-person and online.

The conversation is free to attend with the price of Late Night ICP admission and includes access to the galleries.

About the Book

Flour, water, and salt. These are the sole ingredients that make Hardtack, a Civil War-era food long-associated with survivalism, land migration, and its extremely long shelf life. Drawing from this history as a metaphor for the long-enduring nature of Black culture and traditions, Hardtack uncovers the roots that tie Fortune's native landscape to the conflicts and nuances associated with the post-emancipation Americas.

In the follow-up to his breakout monograph I can't stand to see you cry, Fortune borrows from the language of vernacular and archival photography to interrogate the historical relationship of his community to photography; rooted in the landscape, Fortune often uses sites of historical and cultural interest as a guide but not a subject, implying the deep ties that bind modern Black communities resiliently to their regions, in the face of both adversity and joy.

A significant theme in Hardtack is Fortune’s striking portraits of coming-of-age traditions. Inside, young bull-riders, praise dancers, and pageant queens inherit and gracefully embrace these forms of community ritual. Fortune's dignifying eye pays tribute to these cultural performances' rigour, discipline and creative flair, alongside the intergenerational conversation between young people and elders handing down these traditions. Collecting together nearly a decade of work, Hardtack continues Fortune’s weaving of documentary and personal history, marking a sincere expression of love and passion to a region that has nourished the artist personally and creatively, while also marking an important contribution to photographing the American South.

About the Speakers

Rahim Fortune is a visual artist and educator from the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. He uses photography to ask fundamental questions about American identity. Focusing on the narratives of individual families and communities, he explores shifting geographies of migration and resettlement and the way that these histories are written on the landscapes of Texas and the American South. Fortune’s previous book, I can’t stand to see you cry, was published by Loose Joints in 2021 and was the winner of the Rencontres d'Arles Louis Roederer Discovery Award 2022. His work has been featured in exhibitions worldwide and many permanent collections, including the High Museum in Atlanta, GA, LUMA Arles, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The Boston Museum of Fine Art.

Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood is an art historian and the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor at NYU. A MacArthur Fellow, she is the author and curator of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, winner of the National Book Critics Award in Criticism, the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize of the American Studies Association, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and both the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award in art history and the Frank Jewett Mather Award in art criticism. Fleetwood co-curated and co-edited Aperture’s Prison Nation, an exhibition and publication focusing on photography’s role in documenting mass incarceration. She is currently writing a nonfiction book titled Between the River and Railroad Tracks about growing up in the Black Midwest. She is on the board of MoMA PS1 and The Kitchen, NYC. 


Image by Rahim Fortune