Corbett Vs Dempsey, 2021. Softcover, 120pp., 9 x 11 inches
Illustrated catalog for the exhibition Communicate, How?: Paintings and Tapestries, 1967-1980 at Corbett Vs. Dempsey gallery in Chicago. Featuring historical photographs, an essay by Moki-scholar Evie Ward, a travelogue from a trip to the farmhouse by John Corbett, appreciative notes from artists Lisa Alvarado and Christina Forrer, and a detailed timeline of Moki's life.
Moki Cherry (1943-2009) was raised and educated in Sweden, where she worked as a fashion designer in the early 1960s. In 1963, she met Don Cherry, the legendary free music trumpeter, and changed the trajectory of her artistic practice forever. As a couple, Moki and Don worked together on building a utopian vision of art and music, eventually establishing Movement Incorporated, also known as Organic Music Society, a troupe with variable membership that drew together music, image, and dance, with costumes and stage sets created by Moki. Her work in this fecund period included designing posters and flyers for events – sometimes made as increasingly elaborate tapestries – as well as inventing most of Don's signature outfits, composing large textile works that hung as backdrops for their performances and making artwork for covers on many classic Don Cherry albums. Moki also created works that were independent of such happenings, stand-alone paintings and tapestries that brought her training in fabrics and materials together with her visionary imagistic vocabulary. Her early paintings and tapestries were the focus of key shows starting in the early 1970s, after the Cherrys had bought a schoolhouse in a tiny village in Southern Sweden, which they established as a base of operations and cultural arts center. Moki and Don were pioneers of multicultural, interdisciplinary performance. In their work, particularly in the period of this exhibition, they invited artists and other collaborators from a wide spectrum of international points of origin and backgrounds to participate in their unique, vividly imagined new world.