Leading Historian of African American Photography to speak at the Figge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Susan Horan   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 09:17

Davenport, IOWA (September 2012) On Thursday, September 27 at 7pm Posing Beauty in African American Culture curator Dr. Deborah Willis will speak at the Figge. Dr. Willis will talk about the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a range of media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising and other forms of popular culture such as music and the Internet. The lecture will explore contemporary understandings of beauty by framing the notion of aesthetics, race, class and gender within art, popular culture and political contexts.

Deborah Willis, PhD, is chair and professor of photography and imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where she also has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies. Willis, a 2000 McArthur Fellow, is one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. Her most recent works are Posing Beauty–African American Images from the 1890s to the Present; Michelle Obama, The First Lady in Photographs; and Black Venus 2010: They Called Her ‘Hottentot’ (editor).

Prior to the 7pm lecture an exhibition reception will be held. Refreshments will be served and a cash bar will be available from 5:30pm to 7pm. Both the reception and lecture are free with membership or paid admission.

About Posing Beauty in African American Culture 

Posing Beauty in African American Culture explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through diverse media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising and other forms of popular culture such as music and the Internet. Throughout the Western history of art and image-making, the relationship between beauty and art has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture.

The images in this exhibition challenge idealized forms of beauty in art by examining their portrayal and exploring a variety of attitudes about race, class, gender, popular culture and politics as seen through the aesthetics of representation.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture is sponsored by the Riverboat Development Authority, Hunt and Diane Harris and Dr. Ralph and Jennifer Saintfort.

About the Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays 12-5 p.m.  Thursdays the museum is open until 9pm. Admission to the museum and tour is $7. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit our website, www.figgeartmuseum.org.

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