September 13, 2021 – 7 PM Evening Lecture with Zakiyyah Iman Jackson

Associate Professor of English
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
University of Southern California

“Black Light: On the Origin and Materiality of Blackness”

Aesthesis is a political matter, such that black folk have often sought to challenge a mode of representation that mythologizes blackness as mere absence or lack. There is artmaking that seeks to transfigure both the void blackness is thought to represent and a known world whose “facts” depend on a fiction of black vacancy. These are works that, in the words of curator, Adrienne Edwards, “are philosophically charged, culturally compounded abstractions” and figurations “that point to discourse beyond medium and art movements,” alternately affirming nothing or attuning to the indeterminacy and incalculability of blackness, whether blackness be attributed to person, place, or thing. This is not to suggest that double-consciousness and its deposits can be easily uprooted, but rather that perception and its organization are meaningful and necessarily remain a ground of contestation. This talk concerns the reflective and refractive potentialities of blackness as well as its density or fullness that exceed the capture of mimetic representation. It highlights works that critically explore the received terms and limits of representation in the interest of the dissolution of given categories and conceptual forms. Focusing particular attention on Faith Ringgold’s Black Light and American People series, this talk explores blackness as varied, multi-dimensional, and a light source in its own right.

Professor Jackson is the author of Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World.

This event is co-hosted by the Bryn Mawr College Africana Studies Program and the Haverford College Visual Studies Program.

7:00 pm (via zoom).

Register here.

 

September 28, 2021 – Alexis Peskine

Please note: This colloquium is on a Tuesday from noon to 2pm.

“Afro-Diasporic Alchemists: We Got The Gold”

Alexis Peskine’s signature works are large-scale mixed media ‘portraits’ of the African diaspora, which are rendered by hammering nails of different gauge, with pin-point accuracy, into wood stained with coffee and mud. By applying gold leaf to the nails he creates breathtaking composite images. He depicts figures that portray strength and perseverance, with energy reminiscent of the spiritually charged Minkisi ‘power figures’ of the Congo Basin. Peskine also produces striking photography and video works.

Register here.

ART AND RACE IN FRANCE

This series was made possible with the generous support from the Office of the Provost, the Department of French and Francophone Studies, the Film Studies Program, the Center for Visual Culture, the Africana Studies Program, the Museum Studies Program, the International Studies Program, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Department of History.

October 27, 2021 – Mariola Alvarez

Assistant Professor of Art History
Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University

“Abstract Painting and Diaspora in Brazilian Postwar Art”

This paper examines the evolution of postwar Brazilian abstract art considering in particular how Japanese immigrant artists negotiated between the influences of Japanese artistic and cultural traditions, the Brazilian debates between the concrete and informalist art schools, and the global proliferation of abstraction after the Second World War. Japanese Brazilian artists did not fit neatly into the Western model of artmaking, and moreover, called into question the national model at the center of the discipline of art history. Applying diaspora theory to the study of their art, I analyze their work as a way to de-center the U.S. narrative about postwar abstract art.

Register here.

November 1, 2021 – Amy Knight Powell – 7PM Monday evening colloquium

Amy Knight Powell
Associate Professor of Art History
University of Southern California

“A Picture of an Interior in the Slave-fort at Elmina c. 1669”

In 1669, a forgotten Dutch painter named Pieter de Wit depicted the private quarters of the Director-General of the Dutch West India Company in Africa, luxurious rooms situated on the upper floor of the slave-fort in Elmina—well above the barracoons in the dungeon. This depiction of a seventeenth-century colonial interior offers a glimpse into the early modern formation of the racialized ideology of liberal personhood, which deploys domestic space as a metaphor for the interiority of the human subject.

Register here.

November 10, 2021 – Amanda Phillips

Amanda Phillips
Associate Professor, Islamic Art and Material Culture
Department of Art, University of Virginia

“Seeing Labor: Textiles, Art, and Artisanship”

Textiles sit between several fields of study, and even between disciplines. Individual objects may be treated as works of art, while written sources and archaeology attest to the scale of their production, trade, and consumption, suggesting some types are best understood as commodities. Taking this tension into account, this talk makes a preliminary step in exploring how art historians and scholars of material culture might use extant objects to understand how artisans worked, and to propose some new ideas about processes and decision-making or perhaps even authorship. It uses several examples—a large silk hanging made ca. 1400, velvet upholstery woven ca. 1600, and a blue and white cotton made ca. 1700s—to work through ideas of labor, skill, and technology, and some possible implications for the study of art and craft.

Register here.

November 17, 2021 – Monica Huerta

Assistant Professor of English and American Studies
Princeton University.

“What’s in a Face?”

This talk is drawn from a larger research project in progress, Face Poetics. The larger project will reach back into the long, multi-disciplinary history of studying how to read faces to theorize the ethical quandaries of facial recognition technologies in the present moment and in light of current struggles against their use and implementation. The larger project’s goal is to theorize what humanistic visual inquiry and analysis can contribute to conversations at the cross roads of critical race and science and technologies studies, which tend to center political and sociological questions (for some important reasons). “What’s in a Face” will give an overview of larger scope of the project, while zeroing in on some of the problems for humanistic ways of knowing presented by the question of how twenty-first century power works when it interfaces with algorithmic knowledges.

Register here.

February 23, 2021 – Special Lecture & Teach-In: Gystere

Deciphering Strange Breathin’: Sci-Fi and Comics as Decolonial Weapons

A conversation with GYSTERE, Musician, Director, Cartoonist, Intergalactic Keytar Hero

Presented by the Film Studies Program, the Department of French and Francophone Studies, and The Center for Visual Culture

Tuesday 2/23/21
12:30 PM

Register in advance for this meeting with this link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.