Mendi + Keith Obadike

Medi + Keith Obadike Book of Light, 2019

Medi + Keith Obadike
Book of Light, 2019
Still image from the one-hour performance of sound, song, music, poetry, light, and moving images commissioned by Carnegie Mellon University

  • April 4, 2023 6:00 PM

Mendi: We are trying to experience what the sounds hold. ... As Keith said to me earlier “change the air.” Keith: It is a subtle way of working. I think it’s what we like about it. Mendi: Our ephemeral inheritance also holds information.  —Excerpts from Mendi + Keith Obadike - Being There: Tuesday Evenings with the Modern (November 11, 2020), with guest curator and artist lauren woods

Mendi + Keith Obadike is an artist couple who work collaboratively to make music, art, and literature, creating layered works that address timely and relevant issues in thoughtful, beautiful, and poetic ways. To much acclaim, Mendi + Keith Obadike have been widely commissioned and featured in significant exhibitions and art related events with multifaceted and experiential works that come out of varied and extensive research, evoking a full body experience for viewers, and leaving an impactful record of their existence.

For Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, Mendi + Keith Obadike present Sound, Site, Structure, a presentation of images and sounds from recent projects.

Mendi + Keith Obadike are sound artists and composers who have exhibited and performed at The New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Their projects include a series of large-scale, public sound art works: Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School (2015) and Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center (2014) and the Rebuild Foundation (2015), as well as authoring several books and albums. Their honors include a Rockefeller New Media Arts Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, among others. Their recent projects are Anyanwu (2019), a public sound installation; Book of Light (2019), a sound and light show commissioned by Carnegie Mellon University; the overnight musical work, Lull, a sleep temple (2020); a music/video work entitled The Sun (2020); Lift (2021), a music/video meditation on the song known as the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice And Sing”; the sound and light show Difference Tones (2022); and their tono-type series—sound sculptures meditating on the sonic language of writers—The Bell Rang (2022), Timbre (2022), Frequency (2022), and Harmonies (2022).


This popular series of lectures and presentations by artists, architects, historians, and critics is free and open to the public. Lectures begin at 6 pm in the Modern’s auditorium. Seating is at 5:30 pm. A livestream broadcast of the lecture will be available here.

A limited number of tickets (limit two per person) will be available for purchase ($5) from 10 am until 3 pm the day of the lecture online. Free admission tickets (limit two per person) are available at the Modern’s information desk beginning at 4 pm on the day of the lecture.  

On Tuesday nights during the lecture series, the galleries are open until 6 pm and Café Modern’s bar is open (no food service available.) Lectures will not be broadcast into the café this season.