Research Symposium: Art by African Americans

On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Lunder Institute for American Art hosted a research symposium on art by African Americans. This live-streamed, daylong event featured work-in-progress presentations by the six 2019-2020 Lunder Institute Research Fellows, discussions moderated by Distinguished Scholar Tanya Sheehan, and a roundtable with leading scholars focused on questions about the state of the field.

The archived symposium proceedings are dedicated to the memory of David C. Driskell (1931–2020) in recognition of his groundbreaking scholarship in the field of American art and his extraordinary contributions as a teacher, curator, and artist.

You can download the digital event program, including abstracts and presenter bios here.

Morning Program:

Welcome, Lee Glazer, Director, Lunder Institute

Introduction, Tanya Sheehan, Distinguished Scholar and Director of Research, Lunder Institute

Research presentations

  • Norman Lewis, 1946: Heliotrope – John Ott, James Madison University
  • Turbulent States: Strategies of Crisis Mediation in David Driskell’s 1968 Of Thee I Weep and Soul X – Rebecca VanDiver, Vanderbilt University

Roundtable: State of the Field
Moderated by Adrienne L. Childs, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University

  • Tuliza Fleming, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
  • Jacqueline Francis, California College of the Arts
  • Melanee C. Harvey, Howard University
  • James Smalls, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Afternoon program: 

Research presentations

  • Local and Littoral: Reflecting on the Landscapes of Edward Mitchell Bannister – Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Princeton University
  • Bob Thompson, Goya, and the Caprice of Art History – Adrienne L. Childs, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University
  • Sculpture’s Touch: Haptic Intimacies in Marion Perkins’s Mother and Child – Tess Korobkin, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Perceptual Drift: Hank Willis Thomas’s Blow the Man Down and Romare Bearden’s Cotton – Key Jo Lee, Cleveland Museum of Art

Homepage art: David Clyde Driskell, Of Thee I Weep, 1968. Acrylic and collage on fiberboard, 12 x 11 3/4 in. (30 x 30 cm). Colby College Museum of Art purchase from the Jere Abbott Acquisitions Fund. Accession Number: 2018.012.