Pathways to Unknown Worlds : Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968


“Curated by John Corbett, Anthony Elms, and Terri Kapsalis, and opening at the Hyde Park Art Center in October 2006 (5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago), this unique exhibition showcases a diverse, brilliant, provocative and by-and-large never seen range of materials related to pianist, bandleader, mystic, philosopher and Afro-Futurist Sun Ra. Most of these materials come from Ra’s tenure in Chicago (and the period directly thereafter, where from New York he maintained close contact with his Chicago colleagues), especially during mid-50s when he and his business partner and fellow mystic Alton Abraham – together with a small secret fraternal organization that has remained heretofore but a shadowy part of Ra’s early years – built a network of cryptic associations, amassed a huge library of books on the occult, magic, Egyptology, race studies, Theosophy, philosophy and religion, and began constructing the mythology and public persona that was presented to a crossover audience later in the ’60s in the form of Sun Ra’s Myth-Science Arkestra. In the same period, Ra and Abraham began assembling an increasingly large jazz ensemble (first called 8 Rays of Jazz, later known as the Arkestra), and in 1957 they began releasing LPs and singles on their own label, Saturn Records, which was, along with Charles Mingus and Max Roach’s Debut label and Harry Partch’s Gate 5 label, one of the very first and most active artist-owned record labels. Pathways to Unknown Worlds will include a great number of previously unknown ephemeral items, including a dictionary of terms that the secret society had created, which has on its back page the names of the members of the secret society (led, at the top, by Herman Poole Blount, later known as Le Sony’ra, Sun Ra, or Sunny to his friends). A huge array of artifacts from the earliest days of Ra’s record production is a highlight of the exhibition, including his original drawings for the mid-60s albums Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow and Other Planes of There and the original artwork for numerous other LPs. …”
Corbett vs. Dempsey
[PDF] Performing the Past to Claim the Future: Sun Ra and the Afro-Future Underground, 1954-1968
NY Times: Beamed From Tomorrow
Sun Ra: Myth, Science, and Science Fiction.
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