The Legacy of Baldwin in Contemporary Art

The Legacy of Baldwin in Contemporary Art

Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Beauford Delaney, Untitled, 1963. Pastel on paper. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

October 28, 2014
The Legacy of Baldwin in Contemporary Art

An artist conversation with Leslie Hewitt and Bradford Young, moderated by Thomas J. Lax

Monday, November 3, 2014, 6:30–8:30pm

Vera List Center for Art and Politics
The New School, Wollman Hall
66 West 12th Street, 5th floor
New York City

Conceptual artist Leslie Hewitt joins award-winning cinematographer and artist Bradford Young in a conversation with Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art, MoMA. For a half-decade, Hewitt and Young have worked together, making site-specific moving-image installations that have been on view at The Kitchen, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Menil Collection, the MCA Chicago, and the Lofoten International Art Festival. Together, their work considers fluid notions of time, the relationship of still to moving images and the specificity of place. The evening begins with a short screening and reading, followed by a dialogue informed by James Baldwin’s relationship to collaboration, visuality, and representation.

This conversation is a part of the year-long, city-wide celebration The Year of James Baldwin for what would have been James Baldwin’s 90th birthday, presented by the Vera List Center in partnership with Harlem Stage, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York Live Arts, and The New School’s School of Media Studies and School of Writing.

James Baldwin (1924–1987) was an American author and Civil Rights activist, whose works confront controversial subjects such as race and sexuality. While articulated differently today, these issues have lost none of their urgency as recent incidents on US streets and campuses testify. The Year of James Baldwin celebrates Baldwin’s legacy and its continued relevance.


About the speakers

Leslie Hewitt studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the Yale University School of Art, and at New York University, where she was a Clark Fellow in the Africana and Visual Culture Studies programs. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and the recipient of the 2008 Art Matters research grant to the Netherlands. A selection of recent and forthcoming exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Artists Space in New York; Project Row Houses in Houston; and LA><ART in Los Angeles. Hewitt has held residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the American Academy in Berlin, Germany amongst others. She has recently joined the faculty of Barnard College in the department of Art History.

Thomas J. Lax is Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art. Previously, he was Assistant Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Thomas is a faculty member at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts; on the Advisory Committee Vera List Center for Arts and Politics; on the Arts Advisory Committee of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; a member of the Catalyst Circle at The Laundromat Project; and on the Advisory Board of Recess.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, award-winning cinematographer Bradford Marcel Young moved to Chicago at age 15 to live with his father. There, he received early artistic inspiration from the works of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Aaron Douglas. Young studied film at Howard University, where he was influenced by Haile Gerima. He was Director of Photography on the feature films White Lies, Black Sheep (2007), Pariah (2011), Restless City (2011), Middle of Nowhere (2012), Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013), and Mother of George (2013). He has won Cinematography Awards at the Sundance Film Festival twice: in 2011, for his work on Pariah, and in 2013 for his work on both Mother of George and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Young is currently Director of Photography on J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, and recently finished shooting on Ed Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice.


About the Vera List Center
Founded in 1992 and named in honor of the late philanthropist Vera List, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for the discourse on the role of the arts in society and their relationship to the sociopolitical climate in which they are created. It seeks to achieve this goal by organizing public programs that respond to the pressing social and political issues of our time as they are articulated by the academic community and by visual and performing artists. The center strives to further the university’s educational mission by bringing together scholars and students, the people of New York, and national and international audiences in an exploration of new possibilities for civic engagement.

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Vera List Center for Art and Politics
October 28, 2014

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