New Scholarship in African American Art History
The 2018 Evelyn Kranes Kossak Symposium
Friday November 2, 2018
9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Roosevelt House, Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street
New York, NY, 10065
In conjunction with the exhibition Acts of Art and Rebuttal in 1971,at Hunter College’s Leubsdorf Gallery, the Department of Art and Art History is hosting a day-long symposium devoted to recent scholarship in African-American Art History. Acts of Art and Rebuttal revisits the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition’s stance against Whitney Museum’s Contemporary Black Artists in America show, and the exhibition they helped organize in response at Acts of Art, a small, artist-run gallery in Greenwich Village. The Acts of Art exhibition Artists in Rebuttal to the Whitney Museum: Black Artists in Rebuttal spoke to issues of identity, visibility, and the politics of representation. Those issues continue to engage both critical art histories of African American Art in the postwar period, and current art practice.
9:45 Welcome and Introductory Remarks: Howard Singerman
10:00 Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Evidence of Things Seen: Preserving the Historical Narratives of African American Art
11:00 LeRonn P. Brooks, assistant professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Lehman College, City University of New York
On Continuity and Being in the Practice of Art History
12:00 Break for Lunch
12:45 Tour of Acts of Art and Rebuttal in 1971 at the Leubsdorf Gallery
1:30 Cheryl Finley, associate professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University
Art, Activism and Performance: Bearden, Baraka, Bailey
2:30 Tobias Wofford, assistant professor in Department of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University
“The Biggest Family Reunion”: Air Travel, Roots, and Returns in FESTAC’77
3:30 Cherise Smith, chair and associate professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, and Executive Director of the Galleries at Black Studies, University of Texas at Austin
An Auspicious Year
4:30 Bridget Cooks, associate professor in the Department of African American Studies and Department of Art History at the University of California Irvine
The Black Index
5:30 Roundtable wrap-up
6:00 Reception in the Roosevelt House Four Freedoms Room
The New Scholarship in African American Art History symposium is made possible by the Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professorship. Additional funding is provided by the American Chai Trust.
Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her position at the VMFA, she served as Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from 2000 to 2017. Among the exhibitions she organized during her tenure at the CAMH are the acclaimed Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (2005); Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 with Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2009); a major retrospective on Benjamin Patterson, Born in the State of Flux/us (2010); and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (2012). Her 2018 debut exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was a 50-year survey of work by Howardena Pindell entitled Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen. The exhibition is co-organized with Naomi Beckwith, the Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and will travel through 2019.
Dr. LeRonn P. Brooks is an assistant professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Lehman College of the City University of New York. He is a curator for The Racial Imaginary Institute founded in 2016 by poet and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine. His interviews, essays, and poetry have appeared in publications for Bomb Magazine, The Studio Museum in Harlem The Museum of Modern Art, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Spelman Museum of Art, The International Review of African American Art, as well as The Aperture Foundation, among others. He has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the journal Callaloo. Dr. Brooks is the creator and executive-producer of Culture/Context, an online conversation series currently featuring major contemporary artists.
Dr. Cheryl Finley is associate professor of Art History at Cornell University. She holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and the History of Art from Yale University. An art historian, curator and contemporary art critic, Dr. Finley has contributed essays and reviews to Aperture, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, American Quarterly and Artforum. Her prolific critical attention to photography has produced the coauthored publications Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story; Harlem: A Century in Images; and Diaspora, Memory, Place: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Pamela Z. This year she has published Committed to Memory: the Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton, 2018) and My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South (Yale, 2018). A specialist in the art market, Dr. Finley’s current project is Black Market: Inside the Art World, about the work of Black artists in the global art economy, focusing on the relationship among museums, curators, biennials and tourism.
Dr. Tobias Wofford is an assistant professor in the Department of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research explores the meeting of globalization and identity in the art of the African Diaspora since the 1950s. Wofford’s writing has appeared in catalogues for a number of exhibitions including Postwar: Art between the Pacific and the Atlantic and Melvin Edwards: Five Decades, as well as in such journals as Art Journal and Third Text. His research has been supported by fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Wofford is currently working on a book-length manuscript that examines the multifaceted role of Africa in contemporary African American art.
Dr. Cherise Smith is associate professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Art History, and chair of the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in American art after 1945, especially as it intersects with the politics of identity, race, and gender. She is the author of Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith (Duke, 2011), which examines how identity is negotiated in performance art in which women artists take on the characteristics and manners of a racial, ethnic, and gender “other.” Her manuscript Michael Ray Charles: Studies in Blackness—the first book-length monograph on the artist—is in production with the University of Texas Press. She has published essays in Art Journal, American Art, and exposure among other venues. As Executive Director of the Art Galleries at Black Studies, Dr. Smith spearheads an initiative to expand UT’s holdings of art and material collections relating to people of African descent.
Dr. Bridget R. Cooks fills a joint appointment in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Art History. Cooks's research focuses on African American art and culture, Black visual culture, museum criticism, film, feminist theory and post-colonial theory. In 2002 she earned her doctorate degree in the Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester. She has received a number of awards, grants, and fellowships for her work, including the prestigious James A. Porter & David C. Driskell Book Award in African American Art History for her book Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum (Massachusetts, 2011), and the Henry Luce Dissertation Fellowship in American Art. She is currently completing a second book, A Dream Deferred: Art of the Civil Rights Movement and the Limits of Liberalism. Cooks has also curated several exhibitions of African American art including The Art of Richard Mayhew at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, 2009-2010.
Conversations on Acts of Art and Rebuttal
Friday, October 5, 2018, 1–6pm
Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College North Building, 4th Floor
Entrance on the south side of 69th Street
between Park Ave. and Lexington Ave.
1pm | Welcome by Howard Singerman, Phyllis and Joseph Caroff Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, Hunter College
1:15pm | 1971 Art Students League: Richard Mayhew and Oakley N. Holmes, Jr. in conversation with Lisa Farrington
1:45pm | Statement by Cliff Joseph, read by LeRonn P. Brooks
2pm | Weusi Artist Collective: Dindga McCannon and Ademola Olugebefola in conversation with LeRonn P. Brooks
2:30 pm | Betty Blayton-Taylor discussing her work, from a film by Oakley N. Holmes, Jr., 1975
2:45pm | Abstraction: Richard Mayhew and Frank Wimberley in conversation with Lisa Corinne Davis
3:15pm | Vivian Browne discussing her work, from a film by Oakley N. Holmes, Jr., 1975
3:45pm | Where We At: Black Women Artists: Dindga McCannon in conversation with Lisa Farrington and Lisa Corinne Davis
4:15pm | Nigel Jackson and Acts of Art Gallery: James Denmark and Frank Wimberley in conversation with LeRonn P. Brooks
4:45pm | “Once in a While” by Benny Andrews, read by Tom Sleigh, Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Hunter College
5pm | Round table discussion: Rebuttal to the Whitney Museum Exhibition: Black Artists in Rebuttal
5:45pm | Audience Q&A
6pm | Closing remarks by Sarah Watson, Chief Curator, Hunter College Art Galleries
6:15-8pm | Reception at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery, 132 E. 68th Street
For more information on "Acts of Art and Rebuttal in 1971"
please visit: https://www.leubsdorfgallery.org/calendar/rebuttal
AXIS MUNDO: QUEER NETWORKS IN CHICANO LA
An exhibition of work by a collaborative network of over 50 LA-based queer Chicanx artists produced through the 1960s to 1990s
Curated by C. Ondine Chavoya and David Evans Frantz
Hunter College Art Galleries: 205 Hudson Gallery & Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery
June 22–August 19, 2018
Kick Off Reception for Axis Mundo
Thursday, June 21, 2018 from 3:00–4:30 PM
The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery
132 E 68th Street, New York, NY 10065
Please note that the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery will close at 5 PM on June 21, 2018. Please join us for the opening reception at 205 Hudson Gallery from 6–9 PM on June 21, 2018.
Being Alone, Sharing: Conversations on Survival
Saturday, April 28, 1–7:30pm
Organized by Sarah Watson and Dylan Gauthier with Alida Jekabson
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey, curated by Javier Rivero Ramos and Sarah Watson, on view through May 6, 2018
Drafted in his sketchbook, the phrase “school of survival” echoes Juan Downey’s belief that educators and artists have a responsibility to work towards societal change. Addressing the urgencies of the material realities of the 1970s, Downey’s work foreshadows the ever-evolving crisis we find ourselves in today. Considering our current ecological and political moment, this conversation series invites artists, educators, and activists to share how their creative process, approach to education, and daily life respond to and define survival.
1–1:30pm Introduction by Sarah Watson and talk on Juan Downey by Javier Rivero Ramos
1:30-2:45pm Conversation with Stephanie Alvarado, Brooke Singer, and Dior St. Hillaire, moderated by Alida Jekabson
2:45-3:45pm Conversation with smudge studio (Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse) and Tattfoo Tan, moderated by Dylan Gauthier
3:45-4pm Coffee Break
4-5:15pm Conversation with School of Apocalypse (Tal Beery, Catherine Despont, Eugenia Manwelyan and Adam Stennett) and Pili X, moderated by Sarah Watson
5:30-6pm Reading by Lila Zemborain and Mónica de la Torre, organized by Jocelyn Spaar
6-6:30pm Intro and performance demo of Datagarden’s MIDI sprout
6:30-7:30pm Wine and cheese reception
STEPHANIE ALVARADO is a queer Afro-Indigena Latina feminista born and raised in the Bronx, NY by way of Guayaquil, Ecuador. She is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and reproductive justice scholar and activist. Alvarado is currently the Director of Advocacy and Partnerships at 596 Acres, NYC's only community land access advocacy organization.
Founded in 2011 by Joe Pattucci and Alex Tyson, DATAGARDEN is an arts organization and zero waste record label. DataGarden builds community and connection to nature through experiences that extend human perception using sound, including releasing downloads on plantable artwork; producing installations and events; and using plants to play electronic music with their bio-sonification MIDI Sprout device.
DYLAN GAUTHIER is an artist and educator who creates platforms and social infrastructure around ecology, community, landscape, and social change. Gauthier is a founder of the boat-building and publishing collective Mare Liberum and of the Sunview Luncheonette, a co-op for art, politics, and poetics in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He teaches in the Film and Media Department at Hunter College.
ALIDA JEKABSON is a M.A. candidate in the Art History program at Hunter College and is the spring Gund Curatorial Programming Fellow for the Hunter College Art Galleries. Alida's research interests include public art and museum history with a focus on modern and contemporary art from the Americas.
JAVIER RIVERO RAMOS, co-curator of the exhibition The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey, is a second year PhD student at Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archeology studying modern and contemporary art with a specific focus on Latin America. His research interests include international networks of artistic exchange, art under duress, and Pan-Americanism. He has worked in the curatorial departments of Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, MX; Museo Jumex, Mexico City, MX, and the Hunter East Harlem Gallery, New York.
SCHOOL OF APOCALYPSE––founded in 2015 by Tal Beery, Catherine Despont, Eugenia Manwelyan and Adam Stennett––is a radical learning community organized around a notion of school broadly defined as a framework and container for the emergence of shared knowledge. The school invites a range of thinkers, artists, and scientists to present programming on themes connecting creative practice and notions of survival. Subjects of study are theoretical as well as hands on, and emphasize the integration of observational and material practices found in mystical traditions, creative modalities and scientific field work.
BROOKE SINGER engages technoscience as an artist, educator, nonspecialist and collaborator. Her work lives “on” and “off” line in the form of websites, workshops, photographs, maps, installations, public art and performances that often involves participation in pursuit of social change.
JOCELYN SPAAR is a poet, translator, and artist, living in New York and working at the Hunter College Art Galleries. She is the poetry editor of STILL magazine, based in Berlin and New York.
SMUDGE STUDIO is a collaboration between Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse that started in 2005. smudge studio designs and cultivates embodied practices that support humans in paying nuanced attention to the fast and intense material realities that are now emerging on a planetary scale.
DIOR ST. HILLAIRE is the owner of GREENFEEN, an environmental consulting firm that uses Hip-Hop to teach sustainability as a lifestyle through green technology and compost education. Through exclusive partnerships, zero waste events, and organics collection, GreenFeen uses this triple bottom line theory to teach a holistic lifestyle.
TATTFOO TAN is an artist who collaborates with the public on issues relating to ecology, sustainability and healthy living. His work is project-based, ephemeral and educational in nature.
MÓNICA DE LA TORRE is the author, most recently, of The Happy End/All Welcome. She teaches in the Literary Arts program at Brown University. Her translation of Defensa del ídolo, the sole book of poetry by the Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres, is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse this summer.
PILI X is a multidisciplinary artist, radical urban planner, and Director of Community Partnerships at the North Philly Peace Park. His work focuses on community development and place-making using ecology, design, education, and art as a vehicle to implement radical change. He was named one “12 People Of Color Leading The Social Impact Charge In Philadelphia” in 2017 by Generocity.
SARAH WATSON is Director of Exhibitions & Chief Curator of the Hunter College Art Galleries and is co-curator of the exhibition The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey. Her curatorial interest is in creating experimental sites for education, collaboration, and action, with a focus on time-based works including film, sound, video, new media, performance, poetry and literature. In addition to organizing exhibitions and programming, Watson oversees the gallery component of the Advanced Certificate in Curatorial Studies at Hunter College.
Poet and critic LILA ZEMBORAIN (Argentina) is the author of eight poetry collections including Guardianes del secreto (2002), translated into English as Guardians of the Secret (2009); Malvas orquídeas del mar (2004), translated into English as Mauve Sea-orchids (2007); Rasgado (2006), translated into French as Déchiré (2013). From 2009 to 2012 she directed the NYU MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish, where she continues to teach.
Magnum Photos Inside Out
Friday, October 27, 2017
10:15am – 5:30 pm
The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47–49 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
Organized on the occasion of the exhibition Framing Community: Magnum Photos, 1947 – Present, this forum discusses how Magnum photographers have shaped visual narratives within a world that is ever more fractured and uncertain. Across seven decades, Magnum members have questioned their position as outsiders looking in, negotiating religious and cultural diversity while seeking trust and shaping relationships with a wide range of communities. A working group of photographers, writers, and historians retraces significant moments of this cooperative photo agency, debating the meaning of these images as encounters with difference, and looking at their channels of communication and community outreach, from printed magazines to the contemporary digital landscape.
Convener: Maria Antonella Pelizzari
Participants: Nadya Bair, Jennifer Bajorek, Chris Boot, Bieke Depoorter, Reiner Leist, Kristen Lubben, Alia Malek, Susan Meiselas, Fred Ritchin, Carole Naggar, Howard Singerman, David Levi Strauss, Peter van Agtmael
Free and open to the public
Seating is limited
Maria Antonella Pelizzari
10:15 – 10:30
10:30 – 11:45
Magnum Photos and Its Media
Panelists: Nadya Bair, Chris Boot, Kristen Lubben
Moderator: Howard Singerman
11:45 – 12:30
Bieke Depoorter's Talk
12:30 – 2:00
Lunch Break and Visit of Exhibition
2:00 – 3:30
Documentary Photography in a “Post-Truth” Age
Panelists: David Levi Strauss, Susan Meiselas, Fred Ritchin, and Bieke Depoorter
Moderator: Reiner Leist
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 5:30
Migration, Exile: Communities At a Loss
Panelists: Alia Malek, Peter van Agtmael, Jennifer Bajorek
Moderator: Carole Naggar
With the support of the Crossways Foundation in collaboration with the Hunter College Department of Art and Art History and the Hunter College Art Galleries
Image: Susan Meiselas, Hanging out on Baxter Street, Little Italy, NYC, 1978 © Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos
Photo-souvenir: Bayadères for Two Skywalks, March 2016, work in situ, Hunter College, New York, NY, United States, March–December 2016. © Daniel Buren/ADAGP, Paris. Photo by Bill Orcutt.
Bayadères for Two Skywalks: A site-specific work by Daniel Buren
On view through Saturday December 31, 2016
Hunter West Building
132 East 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
“It is by working for a given exhibition site that the work in situ—and it alone—opens up the field for a possible transformation of the very place itself.” — Daniel Buren
Daniel Buren (b. 1938) is a French artist whose work is rooted in the avant-garde conceptual practices of the 1960s. Buren has long engaged in creating large-scale site-specific works, conceiving and executing these works in response to their specific architectural and institutional setting and using these elements as cues for reimagining the space. For Hunter College, Buren has transformed the iconic skywalks into prismatic passageways, rendering a familiar space unfamiliar. This intervention creates an opportunity to engage with the architecture in a new way—prompting questions about how we experience color, light, and space and how those elements alter the social and physical environment. As in all of Buren’s site-specific work, the artwork itself is only completed through interaction, eliciting the viewers’ intellectual, emotional, and sensorial response as they move through the space.
This work is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Buren, Mosset, Parmentier, Toroni, on view at the Hunter College, 205 Hudson Street Gallery in Tribeca, through April 10, 2016. This exhibition—the first critical examination of the significant, albeit brief, work of the four artists in 1967—seeks to reexamine the group by placing its work in context with the broader conversations surrounding institutional critique, performance, and the role of painting as a political medium.
Bayadères for Two Skywalks is made possible by LVMH / Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton with additional support from the David Bershad Family Foundation and Susan V. Bershad Charitable Fund, Inc.; the Brant Foundation, Inc.; Arthur and Carol Kaufman Goldberg; Andrew and Christine Hall; the Hunter College Foundation; Stephen King, C12 Capital Management; the Anna Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; President Jennifer J. Raab; and an anonymous donor.