Isaac Julien

'Frederick Douglass: Lessons of the Hour'

The SCAD Museum of Art presents Lessons of the Hour, a poetic meditation on the life and times of Frederick Douglass by internationally acclaimed artist Isaac Julien.

Debuting a five-screen installation, the film proposes a contemplative journey into Douglass' zeitgeist and its relationship to contemporaneity. The film includes excerpts of Douglass' most arresting speeches and allusions to his private and public milieus. Some speeches included "Lessons of the Hour" and "What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?," as well as "Lecture on Pictures," a text connecting picture-making and photography to Douglass’ vision of how technology can influence human relations. In the film, the character of Douglass interacts with other cultural icons of his time.

Through extensive use of Frederick Douglass' timely words Julien gives expression to the spirit at the time of Douglass' era, his legacy, and ways in which his story may be viewed today.

Signature image for Isaac Julien exhibition
"North Star," from "Lessons of the Hour." Image courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures New York, and Victoria Miro London/Venice

About the artist

A Turner Prize-nominated artist, Julien creates multiscreen film and photography installations that incorporate multiple artistic disciplines into a distinct visual language. His work is included in the collections of institutions around the globe: the Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. In 2013, a monographic survey of his career, "Riot," was published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Programs and events


Frederick Douglass: Lessons of the Hour is curated by Humberto Moro, curator of SCAD exhibitions.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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