African American Art Lecture Series | Nana Adusei-Poku

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

5:30 pm

Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building Map

Sponsored by:
Department of Art & Art History

Historical Entanglements and Refused Heroines – An exploration of Mickalene Thomas’ “Le dejeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires”

In 2001, the then newly appointed director of The Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden and the painter Glenn Ligon stirred much controversy with the curatorial framing ‘post-black’ in the context of the group exhibition Freestyle, followed by Frequency (2006), Flow (2008) and Fore (2012). The term was applied to a generation of creative practitioners who sought to dis-tance themselves from previous generations of black artists, who in opposition had utilized the term Black in order to describe their practices, as both definition of self and as a form of political resistance.

One of several artists exhibited in Frequency and connected to the term ‘post-black’ is Micka-lene Thomas. Her interdisciplinary practice is characterized by a profound engagement with studio portraitures of Black women, ranging in media from photography and collage, to paint-ing and video installations. One of her contemporaries, artist Kara Walker has asserted that Thomas offers Black women “a kind of post-womanist self-consciousness.” Since her inclu-sion in Frequency, Thomas’ work has been presented in solo exhibitions in museums and gal-leries all over the US and further afield, and featured on television series such as Fox’s “Em-pire.” Whilst emphasizing “visual disobedience” in Thomas’ appropriations and the implications of her work for art-historical research, this talk will examine its commercial appeal and concomi-tant implications for the post-post-black era.

Nana Adusei-Poku (PhD) is a Lecturer in Media Arts and Master of Fine Arts at the Uni-versity of the Arts, Zurich. She was Research Professor for Visual Cultures 2015-2017 and for Cultural Diversity from 2013-2014 at the Hogeschool Rotterdam with affiliation to the Piet Zwart Institute and the Willem de Kooning Academy. She has published in journals such as e-flux, multitudes, Le Journal des Laboratoires and peer-reviewed journals such as Nka Journal for Contemporary African Art, Feministische Studien and Dark Matter. Her curatorial projects include “No Humans Involved” at the Witte de Wit Center for Contemporary Art in Rotter-dam and a forthcoming discursive event, “Performances of No-thingness” at the Academy of Arts, Berlin.

Image: Still from Empire TV Series 2017

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building Map

Free and open to the public


Arts Lecture / Reading Visual 

General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends, Members
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