Virtual convening on African art in American museums

Virtual convening on African art in American museums

Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, SUNY

Unrecorded Zulu artist, Msinga Region, South Africa, Pair of Earplugs [Izighaza], 1950’s. Wood, vinyl asbestos, glue, panel pins, 2 7/16 x 2 7/16 x 9/16 inches. Courtesy of Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY. Photo: Jim Frank.

March 13, 2024
Virtual convening on African art in American museums
April 8–9, 2024, 10am

Over the past decade, there has been momentous change regarding the care and display of African art in American museums as well as its interpretation and audience engagement. The geographic, typological, and conceptual boundaries that historically defined the representation of Africa’s arts in the United States continue to expand. More varied lenses have been brought to its study, shaping the production of knowledge and expanding public understanding. And curators working with African art in museums increasingly grapple with the complex, often troubling, histories embedded in the objects they steward, many of which were created and collected in the colonial era, and with evolving perspectives on cultural patrimony and heritage.

Register to attendThis is a free event. The URL will be sent directly to registered attendees.

This event hopes to provide insights and perspectives on what the future might hold for African art collections in American museums. Speakers will offer models for how museums can address issues of provenance and restitution, engage and collaborate with communities both locally and in Africa, reframe the institutional representation of African art, and bridge the historic past and the creative present. 

Day one—Monday, April 8, 2024, 10am–2pm EDT (GMT-5)
Tracy Fitzpatrick, Neuberger Museum of Art.

Introduction: Christa Clarke, Event Moderator, Independent Curator and Senior Advisor at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

Panel I: Provenance Research and Restitution. Moderator Sarah Clunis, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Panelists Carlee Forbes, Fowler Museum at UCLA; Laura De Becker, University of Michigan Museum of Art; Erica Jones, Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Panel II: Engaging Communities. Moderator Silvia Forni, UCLA Fowler Museum. Panelists Ndubuisi Ezeluomba, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Annissa Malvoisin, Brooklyn Museum; Kristen Windmuller-Luna, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Day two—Tuesday, April 9, 2024, 10am–2:30pm EDT (GMT-5)
Tracy Fitzpatrick, Neuberger Museum of Art.

Panel III: Reframing African Art. Moderator Julie Crooks, Art Gallery of Ontario. Panelists Andrea Achi, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Perrin Lathrop, Princeton University Art Museum; Ernestine White-Mifetu, Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Panel IV: Contemporary Artists in Dialogue with Collections. Moderator Smooth Nzewi, Museum of Modern Art. Panelists Paul Davis, The Menil Collection; Natasha Becker, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Henone Girma, Newark Museum of Art.

Panel V: Conclusion: What’s Next for Museums? Moderator Christa Clarke. Panelists Sarah Clunis, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Silvia Forni, UCLA Fowler Museum; Julie Crooks, Art Gallery of Ontario; Smooth Nzewi, Museum of Modern Art.

Final remarks: Tracy Fitzpatrick, Neuberger Museum of Art.

This virtual convening is organized by Christa Clarke, an independent curator and consultant, for the Neuberger Museum of Art as part of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration

Generous financial support is provided by the Mellon Foundation and Dr. Susan R. Harris in honor of her late husband, Thomas Molnar, a collector of African art and a long-time docent at the Neuberger Museum of Art.

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Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, SUNY
March 13, 2024

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