Jessamine Batario: The New Social Environment

In response to the imminent crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Brooklyn Rail shifted its operations online. These daily Social Environment lunchtime conversations provide a place to have vibrant conversations in a time of great social distancing.

Here Phong H. Bui hosts art historian and March Guest Critic Jessamine Batario, Lunder Institute Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Artistic and Scholarly Engagement and Programs, for a conversation on the social, philosophical, and performative resonances of walking. Read more

Colby to Create New Arts Collaborative in Downtown Waterville

Major Gift Will Turn Buildings into a One-of-a-Kind Space for Central Maine

Building on Waterville’s momentum as a dynamic arts and cultural destination, Colby College today announced that it has received a $3-million gift from Peter H. Lunder ’56, D.F.A. ’98 and Life Trustee Paula Crane Lunder, D.F.A. ’98 through the Lunder Foundation to develop an arts collaborative on Main Street. The new space, which is expected to open at the end of the year, will include a renovation and consolidation of the existing 14 and 20 Main Street buildings—located at the southern end of the street—and play an important role in the overarching plan to leverage the arts to help drive the resurgence of downtown Waterville.

The arts collaborative will benefit Colby students and faculty as well as the broader community by providing vibrant arts programming and artist studios. With a ground floor area for community performances and cultural activity (art exhibitions, poetry readings, musical performances, etc.), this project will enhance Waterville’s identity as a center for the performing and visual arts. Read more

Open Call for Fellowship Applications: 2020-2021 Research Fellows Program

Lunder Institute for American Art Research Fellows Program, 2020-21

Call for Fellowship Applications

Ramona Sanchez Gonzales (aka Ramona Gonzales), San Ildefonso Plate, c.1925. Blackware, 11 3/4 in. (30 cm). Gift of Adelaide Pearson. Colby College Museum of Art Accession Number: 1960.145.

The Lunder Institute for American Art seeks to appoint in 2020-21 a group of Research Fellows to pursue original scholarship on artistic modernisms of the Southwest, a region with unstable and contested boundaries shaped by sovereign Indigenous communities, settler colonialism, and ecological flux. Motivating this focus are the Colby College Museum of Art’s collection of work by the Taos Society of Artists, the Museum’s recent collaborations with Indigenous artists, and an exhibition planned for 2022 that will put Native and non-Native art into conversation. Read more

Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies Celebrates 10th Anniversary … and Looks to the Future

James McNeill Whistler, The Shop-An Exterior, c. 1883-1885. Watercolor on paper, 7 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (19.7 x 28.6 cm).
The Lunder Collection. Accession Number: 2013.307.

Since its founding in 2010, the Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies—comprising the Art Institute of Chicago, the Colby Museum, the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the University of Glasgow—has made a major impact on the study of James McNeill Whistler and his international circles through publications, symposia, exhibitions, digital resources, and professional development opportunities for students. The sustained productivity of the Consortium has broadened the scope of Whistler scholarship beyond the monographic, ensuring the continued relevance of an transatlantic artist who plays a significant role in the collections and institutional identities of each of the Consortium partners.

The launch of the Lunder Institute for American Art has afforded us an important opportunity to expand the impact of the Consortium. By leveraging the convening power of the Lunder Institute, along with its commitment to innovative scholarship and pedagogy, the Consortium, with the generous support of a five-year gift from the Lunder Foundation, will build on past successes and secure its legacy as an international leader in the study of Whistler and American art of the late nineteenth century. Read more

Daniel Minter announced as Visiting Artist in Spring 2020

Artist Daniel Minter

The Lunder Institute for American Art is pleased to announce Daniel Minter as a Visiting Artist for Spring 2020. 

Minter is an American artist working primarily in painting and assemblage, creating an oeuvre that often deals with themes of displacement and diaspora, spirituality in the African American world, and meanings of home. For the past 15 years, Minter has raised awareness of the forced removal in 1911 of an interracial community on Maine’s Malaga Island. His formative work on the subject of Malaga evokes conversation, dialogue, and spawns community building, all around discussions about race, geography, loss, and dislocation. Minter’s multi-series of paintings and sculptural assemblage emerges from his engagement with the island, its descendants, archaeologists, anthropologists, and scholars. His dedication to amplifying the history of Malaga was pivotal in the process of designating the island as a public preserve. Such a classification put into motion an official apology from the State of Maine. Read more

Image of Inaugural Lunder Research Fellows

Lunder Institute Research Symposium: Art by African Americans

Image of Inaugural Lunder Research Fellows

Clockwise from top left: Key Jo Lee, Tess Korobkin, Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Adrienne L. Childs, Rebecca VanDiver, and John Ott.


Lunder Institute Research Symposium: Art by African Americans

Lunder Institute for American Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine

March 12-13, 2020 

The Lunder Institute is organizing a research symposium in conjunction with its inaugural Research Fellows Program focused on art by African Americans. To kick off this free public event, on the evening of Thursday, March 12, the Lunder Institute and the Colby Museum will host a conversation between renowned artist David C. Driskell and Curlee R. Holton of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. Presentations by the Lunder Institute Research Fellows, invited speakers, and members of the Colby community will take place throughout the day on Friday, March 13. Fellows will share their research on selected artworks at the Colby Museum, connecting it to important questions in the field regarding African American artists. A roundtable featuring leading academics and curators will comment on the current state and parameters of African American art history and reflect on how and why art by African Americans has been distinguished from the broader field of American art.

Read more

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool


Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool
December 13, 2019 through May 3, 2020
Opening Night Artist Talk December 12


Theaster Gates: Amalgam is an opportunity to see how Gates’s Lunder Institute appointment and his time in Maine have influenced his artistic practice. On December 12, the Lunder Institute is sponsoring an artist talk at the Museum of Liverpool in which Gates will be in conversation with scholar Michael Ralph (Associate Professor and Director of Africana Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the School of Medicine, New York University), and London-based fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner. Read more

‘The River Rail: Occupy Colby’ brings together art and scholarship on climate change

The Lunder Institute for American Art, the Colby College Museum of Art, and The Brooklyn Rail have joined together to co-publish The River Rail: Occupy Colby, a special edition of the magazine that connects the dialogues surrounding climate change to the Colby community.

Building on the themes of the exhibition Occupy Colby: Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, Year 2, on view at the Colby College Museum of Art through January 5, 2020, The River Rail: Occupy Colby focuses on humankind’s role in and response to ecological crises, including climate change. Read more

Renowned American artist Carrie Mae Weems to deliver 2019 Miles and Katharine Culbertson Prentice Lecture on October 23

The Lunder Institute for American Art and the Colby College Museum of Art are pleased to welcome Carrie Mae Weems to deliver the 2019 Miles and Katharine Culbertson Prentice Distinguished Lecture. Considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists, Weems has investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power. Weems has sustained an ongoing dialogue within contemporary discourse for over thirty years, during which time she has developed a complex body of art employing photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video.

Weems was a 2013 recipient of the MacArthur “genius” grant, was one of the first people to receive a Medal of Arts from the U.S. Department of State, and was conferred with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors. Read more

Lunder Institute, Archives of American Art, and Cleveland Museum of Art lead the field in teaching the history of American art with primary sources

The Lunder Institute for American Art, the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art have joined forces to present a series of three unique workshops to create innovative, adaptable models for teaching the history of American art with primary sources.

Earlier in the year, through a competitive application process, ten teachers were selected to participate in all three of the upcoming workshops.  We are delighted to announce our cohort:

Clockwise from top left: KATIE ANANIA, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; MELODY DEUSNER, Assistant Professor, Indiana University; TESS KOROBKIN, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park; ANNIE RONAN, Assistant Professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; ALLISON STAGG, Curator, Mark Twain Center for Transatlantic Relations, Kurpfälzisches Museum, Heidelberg, Germany; SARAH ARCHINO, Assistant Professor, Furman University; MELANEE HARVEY, Assistant Professor, Howard University; AUSTIN PORTER, Assistant Professor, Kenyon College; EMMA SILVERMAN, Visiting Assistant Professor, Smith College; BERNIDA WEBB-BINDER, Assistant Professor, Spelman College.

The workshops will be held at the Archives of American Art in Washington, DC, September 26-28, 2019; the Lunder Institute for American Art in Waterville, Maine, April 2-4, 2020; and the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, March 25-27, 2021. The workshop in Washington has been generously supported by Max N. Berry. Read more

Lunder Fellow: Phong Bui

Phong Bui is a 2019 Lunder Institute Fellow. An artist, writer, curator, and publisher and artistic director of the Brooklyn Rail, Bui is the co-curator with Colby’s Diana Tuite of Occupy Colby: Artists Need to Create On the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, Year 2. 

On view at the Colby Museum of Art through January 5, 2020, Occupy Colby is part of an ongoing initiative launched by the Brooklyn Rail in 2017 at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. The Colby iteration focuses on environmental issues and climate change—perhaps the most urgent concern of our time. Bui and Francesca Pietropaolo have mounted a companion show at the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Penitenti as part of the Venice Biennale. Read more

Meet Jessamine Batario, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessamine Batario joined the Lunder Institute team in August after earning her PhD in art history at The University of Texas at Austin. She just bought her first real pair of snow boots, but already had a canoe.

Jessamine works on a variety of programming for Lunder Institute fellows, visiting artists, and scholars, linking them to Colby College faculty and students, as well as to other artists and writers in Maine. This semester, the Occupy Colby exhibition became a classroom for her: she engaged with students in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and English to consider the artworks on view through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Read more

Theaster Gates and Black Artists Retreat [B.A.R.]

On June 16 and 17, 2019, Lunder Institute Distinguished Visiting Artist Theaster Gates convened a group of scholars and musicians in Washington, DC, for an open workshop, Discussions of the Sonic Imagination. 

“Sonic Imagination: the capacity to dream, feel, motivate and activate through sound; to think through and love through sound; to incant, incite or invoke using the invisible energy of wind and body to materialize form that moves us. This capacity to deeply consider a sonic measure that heals, disrupts, enables and unifies is a powerful wielding,” Gates said. “Our hope is to offer conversations and performances infused with sonic complexity and musical ambition that provoke and shine a light on the tremendous dexterity of contemporary art and musical practices.” Read more