Toni Morrison documentary, film by Solange Knowles highlight ICA fall programming

Toni Morrison
The life and works of acclaimed novelist Toni Morrison is the subject of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ film “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” and will be screened Sept. 11 at the ICA. (Photo courtesy ICA)

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will kick off its fall programming with film screenings that showcase the work of the late author Toni Morrison and the singer-songwriter Solange Knowles.

A free screening of “When I Get Home,” by Knowles will take place Friday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. The film “takes listeners on an ‘exploration of origin’ across 19 tracks” and meshes together “static R&B, funk, Zydeco and blues,” according to NPR. 

Then, on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., the ICA will host a free screening of “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ film on Morrison, who died Aug. 5, just a month and a half after the film was released. The award-winning documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

“The film is a literary portrait in still images, text and interviews,” according to an NPR review in June. “The author speaks directly to the camera, imparting her experience to us. … The film is not a strictly chronological journey through its subject's career, nor is it comprehensive by any stretch … but it is nevertheless a fitting tribute, breaking up heady discussion of Morrison's major works with jazzy digressions about her family's Great Migration journey from the South to her cherished multiethnic suburb of Lorain, Ohio.” 

The screening at the ICA will be preceded by a happy half-hour starting at 6:30 p.m. and a post-screening discussion with scholar and award-winning author Nikki Giovanni.

Solange Knowles
A still from “When I Get Home,” by singer-songwriter Solange Knowles. (Photo courtesy ICA)

Other highlights of the ICA’s free fall programs include: 

Friday, Oct. 4: First Friday and opening from 6-9 p.m. of the ICA’s new exhibition “Great Force,” featuring a performance by artist Tomashi Jackson, DJ, refreshments and cash bar. 

Wednesday, Oct. 23: Claudia Rankine, poet, author, educator and co-founder of The Racial Imaginary Institute, speaks at 7 p.m. about her work on constructions of whiteness.

Saturday, Nov. 9: Provocations: Guadalupe Maravilla Opening. Artist Guadalupe Maravilla activates his ICA commission “Disease Thrower” with a 24-hour performance starting at 4 p.m. centered around healing.

Saturday, Nov. 16: “Opera: Touch of Elegance.” “Great Force” artist Richard Kennedy presents an ICA-commissioned, 50-minute, fictional opera at 7 p.m. about his black queer experience.

Wednesday, Nov. 20: Author Rebecca Walker, a contributor to the “Great Force” catalog, at 7 p.m. will discuss her work on reclaiming black essentialism and black cool.

For a full schedule of programs, visit

About the Institute for Contemporary Art

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is a noncollecting institution that showcases a fresh slate of changing exhibitions and programs. The ICA is a place to explore new ideas, providing an open forum for dialogue and collaboration across the region and the world. Mirroring the increasing emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies across VCU, the ICA has created a new environment for artists and scholars from around the world to test ideas. As a university-wide resource, the ICA links campus, community, and contemporary artists by supporting local creative communities, engaging an international network of contemporary artists and organizations, and encouraging collaborations with VCU departments, faculty, students and the Richmond community. The ICA is a responsive institution that offers a broad range of artistic perspectives with the goal of questioning assumptions and encouraging critical discourse. For more information on the ICA, please visit