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Opening: Vanessa German | sometimeswecannotbewithourbodies
Contact (402) 933-3161

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, September 14, Noon–2 pm
PUBLIC PERFORMANCE: September 14, 2–4 pm
ON VIEW: Saturday, September 14–November 30

For the 2019 Wanda D. Ewing Commission, the Pittsburgh-based artist Vanessa German presents — a multimedia installation that originated at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA and is being reimagined at The Union. In the artist’s own words, “this work is a dimensional living reckoning. the living reckoning is bold, eruptive, disruptive work against systems & pathologies that oppress & subvert overt & covert violence onto & into the lives & humanity of marginalized people on this land.” was originally conceived for the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2017. It was organized for The Union by Nicole J. Caruth. Before traveling to The Union, the exhibition was presented at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Opening Reception
Saturday, September 14, 12–2 pm
Join us for the opening reception of Vanessa German’s multimedia installation The afternoon will feature presentations by German as well as locally-based artists. Drinks and refreshments will be served.

Ritual Reckoning Performance
Saturday, September 14, 2 pm
After the opening reception, Vanessa German will lead a “ritual reckoning” performance – a two-mile procession in honor of Will Brown and other people of color whose lives have been lost to violence. Accompanied by seven local performers, German will walk silently from The Union for Contemporary Art (2423 N. 24th St.) to the front lawn of the Douglas County District Court (1701 Farnam St.) where the group will perform a goodbye ritual song inspired in part by Mende birth and funeral rites.

Viewers are invited to encounter the performance as it meanders through Omaha, joining at any point for as little or as long as desired. The performance will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete; the specific route will be shared in advance. For the safety of spectators and performers alike, we ask that everyone stay on city sidewalks and out of the streets.

*This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

The exhibition is also made possible through the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this program through its matching grants program funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Visit for information on how the Nebraska Arts Council can assist your organization, or how you can support the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

The Union also wishes to thank Omaha Steaks, Mutual of Omaha, and the Pavel Zoubok Gallery and Director Kris Nuzzi for their generous contributions to the exhibition.

Vanessa German Bio:
Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. Homewood is the community that is the driving force behind German’s powerful performance work, and whose cast-off relics form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures. As a citizen artist, German explores the power of art and love as a transformative force in the dynamic cultural ecosystem of communities and neighborhoods. She is the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of Homewood.

Location The Union for Contemporary Art 2423 North 24th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68110