No Pretty Songs, Gentlemen: A Multi-Media Installation on the Peekskill Riots of 1949

Casita Maria Center
for Arts and Education Presents  



No Pretty Songs, Gentlemen

August 31, 2012 – Sept 22, 2012


A Multi-Media installation on the
Peekskill Riots of 1949


Opening Reception: 

Friday, August 31st



Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education is pleased to announce No Pretty Songs, Gentlemen, a project by Seth Kim Cohen. 


A FREE Event


Artist, Seth Kim-Cohen and a group of students stage a series of interventions on the streets of New York. Statements, gestures, images, and actions from the Peekskill Riots are re-presented on the 6 train, the South Bronx, and Times Square. 


 No Pretty Songs, Gentlemen interrogates issues of commitment and beauty as they pertain to these historic events and to the composition of art and politics today.


About the Project


No Pretty Songs, Gentlemen revisits a few days in 1949, when the African-American singer and activist, Paul Robeson, travelled to Peekskill, New York, to perform a concert to benefit the Civil Rights Congress. Members of the Ku Klux Klan and anti-Communist protesters assembled at Peekskill, assaulting concert-goers with baseball bats and rocks. One hundred and forty people were injured, cars were overturned, a cross was burned on the concert site, and Robeson was lynched in effigy.


 No Pretty Songs, Gentlemen takes its name from a statement issued by Robeson in 1949, announcing that he would no longer perform concerts for mere entertainment’s sake. He would devote himself, instead, to the struggle for full citizenship for African Americans.


About the Artist


Seth Kim-Cohen’s work has been presented at venues in North America, Europe and Asia.Artforum has described his work as "collegial and awkward, a real-life mistake framed by a semifictitious context… an allegory for experimental thinking in general."


Visit the artist’s work! 



Aisha Jordan

Arts Manager 

with any questions 


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