Talks At The Schomburg: Black Curators Matter Oral History In Harlem

April 18, 2023

A series of conversations about Black visual art curators presented by Department of African American/ African Diaspora Studies, Columbia University in Harlem, NY.

The Black Curators Matter Oral History Project is an intergenerational dialogue series between Black visual art curators who have made an outstanding impact across the arts and cultural world, presented by the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS) at Columbia University in Harlem, in collaboration with the Columbia Center for Oral History Research.

The first in a series of conversations about Black visual art curators, this evening’s program will foreground the period between the 1970s -1980s examining the works by Black curators whose exhibitions and writings offered alternative histories and interrogated systems of power and representation.

Participants include: Deborah Willis (New York University), Lowery Stokes Sims (Museum of Arts and Design), Ashley James (Guggenheim Museum) and moderator Kalia Brooks (NXTHVN).

The event is free and open to the public.

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Participants include DEBORAH WILLIS, PhD Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, among others. Professor Willis¡¦s curated exhibitions include: “Framing Moments in the KIA,” “Migrations and Meanings in Art”, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits¡¨ at the International Center of Photography; Out of Fashion Photography; Framing Beauty at the Henry Art Gallery and “Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments” at Indiana University.

LOWERY STOKES SIMS Curator Emerita for the Museum of Arts and Design, and formerly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art A specialist in contemporary art, craft and design, Lowery Stokes Sims has served on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-99), as executive director and president The Studio Museum in Harlem (2000-2007) and retired as Curator Emerita from the Museum of Art and Design (2007-2015). More recently she has worked as an independent curator and consultant for numerous exhibitions at various institutions, including the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (2018-2020) and has been appointed the 2021-22 Kress-Beinecke Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

ASHLEY JAMES, PhD Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum She is the curator of Off the Record (2021) and co-curator of The Hugo Boss Prize: Deana Lawson, Centropy (2021). Prior to joining the Guggenheim, James served as Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she was the lead curator for the museum¡¦s presentation of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (2018¡V19), organized Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room (2019), and co-curated John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance (2020-21). James also served as a Mellon Curatorial Fellow in Drawing and Prints at the Museum of Modern Art, where her work focused on the groundbreaking retrospectives of Adrian Piper (2018) and Charles White (2018¡V19), and has held positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she co-organized the exhibition Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection (2015). James holds a BA from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Yale University in English literature and African American studies.

KALIA BROOKS, PhD Director of Programs and Exhibitions at NXTHVN, CT She is a curator, arts administrator and educator with a focus on developing exhibitions, programming, strategic planning, and curriculum for organizations working at the intersection of art and education. Her academic research covers the late nineteenth century through contemporary art with an emphasis on emergent technologies and African American, trans-Atlantic and diasporic cultures of the Americas. Brooks holds a PhD in Aesthetics and Art Theory from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA). She is co-editor of Women and Migration: Responses in Art and History (Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK). She has served as a consulting curator with the City of New York through the Department of Cultural Affairs and Gracie Mansion Conservancy. Brooks is also an ex-officio trustee on the Board of the Museum of the City of New York.

Presented by the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS) at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Columbia Center for Oral History Research. In co-sponsorship by The Mellon Foundation, The Mellon Arts Project at Columbia University and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University (IRAAS).

Wednesday, April 19 · 6:30 – 8 pm EDT get your tickets here

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Blvd New York, NY 10030.

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