Undergraduate Seminar: African Diasporic Art from 2000 to now, with focus on New York (and beyond)
In 2001, “Freestyle”, a survey exhibition curated by Thelma Golden at the Studio Museum in Harlem, introduced a young generation of artists of African descent and the ambitious yet knowingly opaque term post-black to a pre-9-11 pre-Obama world. How to make sense of a term that has stirred so much controversy in the early 2000s sixteen years past its invention, a term that was used for a generation of black artists that seemed to distance themselves from previous generations, who utilized the term Black to define their practices as a form of political resistance. Through recent activist work (i.e., Black Lives Matter) and media attention to persistent systemic racism as well as the rise of rightwing populism, “post-black” appears more than obsolete and is seldom used in the arts or wider social discourse. However, the claims that the post-black generations made, and the influence of their work is part of an ongoing debate in African Diasporic Art. This course utilizes the term post-black as a starting point to investigate the different ways Black Artists identified themselves through the lens of their historical contexts, writings, and politics while engaging with key debates around Black Aesthetics in exhibitions and theory. Consequently, we will discuss changes in artistic styles and Black identity discourses from the beginning of the 20th century into the present.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (C) or (E) and Chronological period (III), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.
This seminar is open to undergraduate students, however a background in History of Art and/or Black Studies is highly desirable.