Visible and Divisible America: In Conversation with the 2019–2020 KU Common Book

Kemper Family Foundations Balcony, 408

The KU Common Book program represents a campus-wide initiative to engage first-year students in a shared reading and learning experience. The choice for the 2019–2020 academic year is Tales of Two Americas Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation—edited by John Freeman—is an anthology of poetry, prose, and essays. Tales of Two Americas features writers such as Kiese Laymon, Sarah Smarsh, Natalie Diaz, Roxane Gay, and Julia Alvarez who explore the realities and inequalities of America today, in particular, the United States from 2016 onward. The exhibition Visible and Divisible America reflects the writings in the book and their themes, including the costs and value of education, notions of socioeconomic and racial inequality, home and homelessness, safety and insecurity, change and gentrification, and work and labor. In the editor’s foreword, Freeman urges readers to “watch as these writers demolish the myth [of the American Dream] and replace it with the reality of what it feels like to try to keep a foothold in America today.” Similarly, visitors of this exhibition will find evidence of American realities that are visible, invisible, and perhaps, divisible. Also featured in this exhibition is the 2019–2020 KU Common Work of Art, Twelve Drive-Ins I, by Jeff Brouws.

This exhibition is supported by KU Student Senate and Jeff and Mary Weinberg, the Jedel Family Foundation.

Selected images