History of Art & Architecture Boston University November 11, 2022 – November 12, 2022
It has been my pleasure to be the lead organizer for the African American Art History: Present Coordinates symposium. In winter 2021, I wrote a grant application to the Emerging Scholars Program, an provost-level initiative to bring embodied diversity to the Boston University campus. I next developed the call for papers and programming targeted at advanced doctoral students in the fields of African American art history, architecture, and material culture. Melanee Harvey, PhD, Associate Professor of Art History, Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, Howard University, gave a keynote lecture that was introduced by Dr. Patricia Hills, Professor Emerita, American & African American Art, Boston University.
The successful weekend brought renewed recognition to Boston University’s longstanding association of excellence in African American art historical scholarship.
Since Spring 2021, I have served as an editor on the board of SEQUITUR, an open-access scholarly art and architectural history journal housed within the Boston University Department of History of Art & Architecture. SEQUITUR has semiannually published exhibition and book reviews, research spotlights, artist interviews, and scholarly essays since 2014. The journal features work of graduate students of art, architecture, art history, and affiliated fields from at all universities. The issues I have worked on are linked below.
Birmingham Museum of Art Birmingham, Alabama September 8, 2018 – November 18, 2019
Who has access to civil rights—the promise of political and social freedom and equality? This question seized Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, as African Americans fought for fairness in all parts of their lives. This revolution became known as the civil rights movement and is a lasting legacy in our state. However, the struggle is far from over. The connections between the civil rights era and the present are visible in the works of art that shaped the movement, four of which are displayed here.
Each of these images is paired with one of the four freedoms listed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech: freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom of worship. Written during a time when the German government was oppressing the civil and human rights of Jewish people, Roosevelt argued that these universal civil rights were the foundation of a healthy, strong democracy. But who could access these freedoms in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and who can access them now? How much has changed in Alabama and the nation, and how can we learn from the civil rights era today?
About For Freedoms
For Freedoms is an artist-run platform for civic engagement, dialogue, and action through the arts. It was founded by the artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman. In 2018, For Freedoms is sponsoring local, statewide, and national initiatives encouraging engagement with and participation in the political process. This exhibition is part of a larger set of exhibitions and programs taking place in Birmingham and across Alabama leading up to the midterm elections in November. For more information on related shows at partner arts organizations, visit forfreedoms.org.
Birmingham Museum of Art Birmingham, Alabama November 2018 – August 2019
Two installations from a major promised gift to the institution in celebration of the donor and the expanding scope of the American collection. These rotations illustrate how American artists used medium specificity and abstraction at mid-century to transition from stylization in the early-twentieth century to the pluralism of subjects and materials in twenty-first century art.
121 PopUp Gallery Montgomery, Alabama September 14, 2017 – October 16, 2017
Approximate Knowledge explores the ways in which surroundings affect individuals and perception. Many of these works visualize the tension originating from common domestic situations and the subsequent corporeal reactions from individuals. Juxtapositions between the inflexible and the malleable represent the stress inherent to fast-paced, high-stakes contemporary living. Architectural elements, precariously balanced, reveal the tenuous separation between public and private life as increasing pressure breaks down carefully constructed social barriers and boundaries. Abstracted representations of the human form refer to the degradation of the physical body in response to internalized psychological stress.