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Black Visual Culture: Origins, evolution and impact

September 29 @ 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, repeating until September 29, 2021

Titus Kaphar's Seeing Through Time series overlays past and present in Suffering from Realness at Mass MoCA.
Titus Kaphar / Mass MoCA

The Berkshire Cultural Resource Center will present Black Visual Culture: Its Origins, Its Evolution and Its Impact, a free series of virtual conversations with Massachusetts of Liberal Arts’ Gallery 51.

In this four-week program, are offering a critical analysis of Black Visual Culture, what it is and some of the central facets that define it. Artist and writer Nan Collymore will lead the sessions to give an overview of the construction of Blackness in the contemporary art world and how some artists have sought to re-construct self in different ways.

Nan Collymore often works by re-making or re-forming materiality into visual projects or palimpsests to re-frame a conversation on the intricacies of subjectivity. She is deeply committed to the theory of dress and through her art-making and writing seeks to unfurl the role that the body plays in dress’ performativity and its construction of cultural and gendered constructs.

She makes work that is tactile and continuous, as though the end of one piece seamlessly belongs to the beginning of the next one. Her recent projects are Soft Material with artist Celia Lesh, There Are Black People In The Future book with Alisha B. Wormsley, Dress II, Editor of The Black Aesthetic Series III, She is Contributing Editor of The September Issues, and Contemporary and, a mother and an inter-disciplinary artist.

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At the end of this short introduction to Black Visual Culture, she will offer a list of suggested texts for further reading. Conversations continue on four Wednesdays in September: September 8, September, 15, September 22, and September 29.

Wednesday September 8: Black Visual Art – A Global Background

Part 1 of Black Visual Culture: Its Origins, Its Evolution and Its Impact. Register HERE.

This conversation will act as an introduction to this short course in Black Visual Culture. Taking an international approach, we will delve into the many styles and movements that Black cultural producers have created. We will use a mapping model to show the different historical pathways Blackness travels through from process to production.

Wednesday September 15: Reading Art History, Research Methodology

Galaxia Caribena, Yermine Richardson

Part 2 of Black Visual Culture: Its Origins, Its Evolution and Its Impact. Register HERE.

Following on from last week’s conversation around mapping, here we will take a look at the need to create new methodologies in order to understand Black Visual Culture. “It doesn’t matter if a Black person is behind the camera or not, because the camera itself functions as an instrument of the White gaze.” -Arthur Jafa. If we begin from this premise, how then do we create archives, write about Black Visual Culture and create work that demonstrates a Black gaze?

Wednesday September 22: Black and Queer Intersectionality in Black Visual Culture

Restless Index, Nikita Gale, 2020

Part 3 of Black Visual Culture: Its Origins, Its Evolution and Its Impact.

We cannot speak about art without looking at the many intersections between groups traditionally excluded from the Contemporary Art World. This week we will look at Zanele Muholi, Marlon Riggs, Diedrick Brackens and Nikita Gale.

Wednesday September 29: Who are the Real Outsiders? A Look at the History of Folk Art

Part 4 of Black Visual Culture: Its Origins, Its Evolution and Its Impact.

The Contemporary Art World has a long history of categorizing Black Visual Culture in ways that ghetto-ize it. In this session we will take a look at the narrative that centers whiteness and seeks to define art movements rooted in Black study as inferior and take steps to reverse that story.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

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Event Details


September 29
5:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Event Location

375 Church St.
North Adams, MA

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