On view: December 6, 2016 through May 16, 2017 This sweeping exhibition showcases works of fashion designers of African descent created from the 1950s through now. Organized into themes including “Breaking into the Industry,” “Rise of the Black Designer,” “Eveningwear,” “African Influences,” “Street Influences,” “Activism,” “Menswear,” “Black Models” and “Experimentation,” the fashions are as varied as the designers […]
Photo (2014): Tim Griffiths at Stanford News
The discussion around what constitutes the boundaries of Abstract Expressionism continues to recur despite decades-long attempts by revisionists. Most provocatively, Ann Gibson’s Abstract Expressionism: Other Politics (1997) demonstrates how women, artists of color, and queer artists were systemically left out of the canon. Two decades later, it has become de rigeur to call for the addition of these artists into exhibitions, but academic scholarship has lagged. Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline remain the familiar anchors of Abstract Expressionism. Here at Stanford, The Anderson Collection showcases important works by the above-mentioned names yet there are many artists not currently a part of our permanent collection whose involvement in the movement has been omitted from the oft-repeated narratives of the period.
We celebrate the recent focus on women, on cultural inclusivity, on gender expansive dialogues and the move to allow a spectrum of identifications. The museum takes this opportunity to look in depth at black artists working abstractly at mid-century as a case study in order to nurture the growing scholarship in this area. How did the art praxis of African-American artists intersect with the overall Abstract Expressionist movement? How does African-American cultural production continue to undergird key fundamentals of mid-century abstraction? There were black Abstract Expressionists of both the first and second generation. Some showed at top-notch galleries associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement—Romare Bearden at Kootz Gallery and Norman Lewis at The Willard Gallery. Others such as Peter Bradley had advocates in the often denigrated figure of Clement Greenberg. This symposium aims to make visible these intertwined narratives in order to explore how blackness and the Abstract Expressionist movement have been tethered all along; but more often than not, their periodic overlapping aims tend to move between invisibility and hypervisibility depending on the needs of a public.
With a variety of programming over a two-day period, the Anderson Collection will work with scholars, professors, artists, musicians, collectors, and performers to open these topics up to wide discussion. The symposium will feature a keynote speaker, workshops, a live performance, and a conversation with contemporary black artists working in abstraction.
The two-day symposium is planned for January 27 and 28, 2017 at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University.
Interested participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 350 words along with a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 10, 2016. Accepted participants will be notified by November 7, 2016. Presenters are invited to give papers suitable for 15- to 20-minute time slots.
The Anderson Collection at Stanford University is a world-class museum built around a permanent collection of 121 modern and contemporary American paintings and sculptures by 86 artists. As a center for research, scholarship, and appreciation of post-war and contemporary American art, the Anderson Collection works exemplify pivotal movements in modern art: Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Bay Area Figuration, California Light and Space, among others.
Andrianna Campbell, Doctoral Candidate, The CUNY Graduate Center
Jason Linetzky, Director, Anderson Collection at Stanford University
Aimee Shapiro, Director of Programming and Engagement, Anderson Collection at Stanford University
Jeff Chang, Executive Director, Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University
Richard Meyer, Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University
Alex Nemerov, Department Chair, Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University
Portrait of Cheryl Dunye (https://apps.chss.sfsu.edu/newsletters/thewatermelonwoman/index.html)
Black/Feminist/Lesbian/Queer/Trans* Cultural Production: A Symposium Honoring the 20th Anniversary of Cheryl Dunye’s “The Watermelon Woman”
This symposium honors the 20th anniversary of Cheryl Dunye’s film, “The Watermelon Woman” (1996). The first feature film directed by and starring a black lesbian, the production of this film marked a watershed moment for black cinema, feminist cinema, lesbian cinema, and new queer cinema. Appearing in the heyday of what filmmaker and scholar Yvonne Welbon has called the “golden age” of black queer cinema, the film garnered widespread critical acclaim, and its success inspired many black lesbians to create their own films in the years following. Her latest release, “Black is Blue” (2014) is a critically acclaimed narrative short film that follows the life of a black transgender man in Oakland, California. Dunye continues to break ground through complex filmic representations of the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Thus, this conference honors Dunye’s growing body of work, as well as her cultural legacy.
Dee Rees will be in conversation with Cheryl Dunye on Fri., Sept. 23, 2016 @7 p.m. Pacific Time at McKenna Theatre, Creative Arts Building, SFSU.
The Conference, sponsored by The College of Health and Social Sciences, Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality, Dean of the College of Health and Social Sciences, Dean of the College of Creative and Liberal Arts, Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Funds, Queer Cinema Institute at San Francisco State University, Watermelon Woman 3.0, and Black Sexual Economies Working Group (Washington University-St. Louis), is free and open to the public.
For more information on the symposium, please go to: Watermelon Woman Anniversary Symposium
On Cheryl Dunye’s Watermelon Woman: The Watermelon Woman
On Dee Rees, see: Dee Rees at IMDB.COM
Photo of Makeda D. Best, Ph.D.(www.bampfa.org)
When Sojourner Truth declared that she sold the “shadow” (photographic portraits of herself) to support the “substance” (the causes of abolition and the rights of women), she recognized the power of images to shape opinion and create economic value. How did the former slave strategically deploy and circulate photography as a form of political activism? Join a conversation with UC Berkeley professors Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby (History of Art) and Leigh Raiford (African American Studies) and photographer/photography historian Makeda Best of the California College of the Arts on the uses to which photography has been put in the African American struggle for political change.
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley. Grigsby specializes in eighteenth- through early twentieth-century French and American art and visual and material culture, particularly in relation to the politics of race, slavery, and colonialism. She is the author of three books: Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France (2002); Colossal: Engineering the Suez Canal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Panama Canal(2012); and Enduring Truths: Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance(2015).
Leigh Raiford is associate professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. She is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle (2011).
Makeda Best, assistant professor in Visual Studies at the California College of the Arts, is an historian of photography. She is currently revising a book on the Civil War–era photographer Alexander Gardner, and coediting a volume titled Conflict, Identity and Protest in American Art.
The Panthers, in more ways than one, sought to visualize racial identity. Their model continues to inform new movements across the globe.
Revolutionary Art (circa 1969) by Emory Douglas, Black Panther Minister of Culture, Oakland, CA.
Art historian and visual cultural studies scholar Judith Wilson has brought our attention to the exhibition of a black woman’s portrait at the Middlesex County Historical Society in Connecticut.
This unattributed pastel on paper image (circa 1904) depicts Anna M. Warmsley (circa 1870s/1880s-1944). Warmsley (née Steadman [sp?]) lived in Middletown, Conn.
Judith saw Carla Halloway’s Facebook posting about this portrait last week. Ms. Halloway of East Hartford, Connecticut wrote that the portrait had been “rescued from the trash” and given to the historical society.
Ms. Halloway’s post generated a lively FB discussion, including comments from a descendant of Anna Warmsley and her husband Herbert Elmer Warmsley (1878/1881-1954). The historical society also has a portrait of Herbert Warmsley.
In online public records (US Federal Census, etc.) and others on ancestry.com, the Warmsley’s family name sometimes appears as “Warmesley.” In early records, Anna is termed a “Negro” and Herbert, whose listed profession was a “galvanizer” in a foundry, a “mulatto.” Anna was a housekeeper for “a private family. She married Herbert when she was about 21. (No marriage certificate appears online. But the US Federal Census of 1910 states that they had been married for five years.)
Who might have painted the Warmsley couple around 1904? They were people of some means and were respected in their community. Did they commission their portraits? White or other non-black artists may have taken up this job. And what about the possibility that the portraits were done by one of the several East Coast artists of color whose names and works we know today?
John G. (Gwynne) Chaplin (1828-1907) worked in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and painted representational mythological and Biblical themes, and portraits. A man of mixed ethnicity–European-American and African-American–Chaplin traveled to Germany and had a studio in Dusseldorf before returning to the US to settle in Youngstown, Pennsylvania. (The actor Charlie Chaplin [1889-1977] was once told that he was related to the artist Chaplin.)
Black Hartford native Nelson E. Primus (1842-1916) made his reputation as a portraitist. But he moved to San Francisco in 1895, so it seems unlikely that he painted the Warmsleys.
Charles Ethan Porter (1847-1923) was a black artist from Hartford. Porter’s still lifes and realist landscapes were admired in the late 19th and early 20th century, and they’re sought after now by collectors of African-American artists’ production. His brushy style seems quite different from the linear approach of the Warmsley portrait. Sounds like a good time to return to the monograph exhibition catalogues on Porter by Helen Krieble et al. (1987) and the New Britain Museum of American Art (2008).
Annie E.A. Walker (1855-1929) was born in Brooklyn, and appears to have spent her younger years in Alabama and in Dallas, Texas. She studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, and graduated from the Cooper Union School for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1895. (See this account of her Cooper Union years.) Afterward, she traveled to France and studied at the Academie Julian in Paris for several years. Her best known work is the Salon-exhibited pastel on paper called La Parisienne (Howard University Art Gallery). She returned the US in the first decade of the 20th century and worked in Washington, DC. Her career and activities were researched by James V. Herring (1942), James A. Porter (1967), Lowery Sims (1978), Andrew Cosentino and Henry H. Glassie (1983), Tritobia Hayes Benjamin (1993), and others. Yet Walker is an artist about whom we don’t know enough. Works are attributed to her here and there, including in some files I haven’t looked at in years. Time to blow the dust off those. More to come…
From Art Historian and Critic Judith Wilson-Paes:
Somebody needs to research a book/ organize an exhibition on the West’s black community photographers–i.e., Oakland’s E.F. Joseph, San Francisco’s David Johnson, and the two LA women photojournalists who are in Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe’s book on black women photographers.
These California photographers are our Van Der Zees and W.S. Robertses in the western US. And as Joy Byrd’s Facebook post makes clear, they documented a little-known chapter of African American history–the flowering of 20th-c. West Coast black communities.
Here’s the correct link: