Reflections on African American Studies
“African American Studies' Visual Turn: Souls Illustrated”
This event is open to the public.
The visual arts ought to be taken into consideration in how African American scholars and authors think about the "black soul," as originally articulated by W.E.B. Du Bois in the monumental work Souls of Black Folk. Historically, the interpretation of Du Bois has been literary, but as African American Studies scholars and students continue to take stock of the contributions of visual artists' understandings of Du Bois across various mediums, visual work which has been explored and catalogued notably by Black art historians and curators, it is possible to realize and recognize a "visual turn" in the field of African American Studies as a whole.
Dr. Powell will be the first art historian to give the Reflections on African American Studies lecture at Princeton University.
We will also be hosting a live "tweet-up" for this lecture. Follow the lecture on twitter at www.twitter.com/princetoncaas
Richard J. Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, where he has taught since 1989. In 2007 he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Art Bulletin for a three-year term. He studied at Morehouse College and Howard University before earning his doctorate in art history at Yale University. Along with teaching courses in the arts of the African Diaspora, American art, and contemporary visual studies, he has written extensively on topics ranging from primitivism to postmodernism, including such titles as Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson (1991), Jacob Lawrence (1992), and Black Art: A Cultural History (1997 & 2002). His latest book, Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture (2008), is about 19th, 20th, and 21st century portraits of peoples of African descent in paintings, photographs, graphic arts, and cinema.
Powell has helped organize several exhibitions, most notably: The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism (1989); Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance (1997); To Conserve A Legacy: American Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (1999); Beauford Delaney: The Color Yellow (2002); Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott (2005); Back to Black: Art, Cinema, & the Racial Imaginary (2005); and Conjuring Bearden (2006). These and other exhibitions curated by Powell have appeared in major museums and galleries both nationally and internationally, and include such institutions as the Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Powell is a past recipient of two Ford Foundation Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, numerous Smithsonian Institution Fellowships and Grants, and a Fulbright Grant for Graduate Study Abroad, among other fellowships and grants.