A Conversation on Amplifying the Legacies of Black Women Abstract Painters

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Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, First Floor

350 Spelman Lane, SW

Atlanta, GA 30314

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Join us for a landmark conversation with women curators who are increasing the visibility of Black women abstract artists.

About this Event

Panelists include Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Melissa Messina, Curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate, and Hallie Ringle, Curator of Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum of Art. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., Director, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art will moderate the conversation.

This program is presented in partnership with ART PAPERS and Burnaway.

About the Panelists

Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee is an art historian, curator, writer, and the director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and has curated and co-curated several exhibitions that have garnered international acclaim. Africa Forecast: Fashioning Contemporary Life (2016), Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi (2018), and Mildred Thompson: The Atlanta Years, 1986 – 2003 (2019), co-curated with Melissa Messina, are among her recent projects.

In 2012, Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 (2008), the exhibition that she organized with Valerie Cassel Oliver, was reassembled and presented in the Havana Biennal. She is the author of Charles White: The David C. Driskell Series of African American Art, Volume I, as well as several exhibition catalogues. Dr. Brownlee curates exhibitions that excavate the contributions of Black women artists, advocates for artists through public art initiatives, and prepares the next generation of curators and museum professionals. She is a member of the leadership team that launched the Atlanta University Center Collaborative for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies.

Dr. Brownlee is the recipient of academic, professional, and scholarly awards including the 2013 David C. Driskell Prize in African American Art and Art History from the High Museum of Art and the 2015 James A. Porter Award from Howard University. An alumna of Spelman College, she earned her Ph.D. in Art History from Duke University in 2001.

Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). Prior to her position at the VMFA, she was Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) where worked from 2000 - 2017. She has served as director of the Visiting Artist Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1995-2000) and a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (1988-1995). In 2000, she was one of six curators selected to organize the Biennial for the Whitney Museum of American Art.

During her tenure at the CAMH, Cassel Oliver organized numerous exhibitions including the acclaimed Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (2005); Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970 with Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2009); a major retrospective on Benjamin Patterson, Born in the State of Flux/us (2010); Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (2012) and Black in the Abstract, Parts 1 & 2 (2013 and 2014). She has also mounted significant survey exhibitions for Benjamin Patterson, Donald Moffett, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Jennie C. Jones, Angel Otero and Annabeth Rosen.

Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and with Naomi Beckwith, marked her debut exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition traveled from the MCA Chicago to Richmond and later to the Rose Art Museum at Brandies University. Cassel Oliver’s most recent exhibition, Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art From the African American South opened at the VMFA in June, 2019. The exhibition features 31 newly acquired works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta.

Cassel Oliver is the recipient of a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship (2007); the High Museum of Art’s David C. Driskell Award (2011); the Arthur and Carol Kaufman Goldberg Foundation-to-Life Fellowship at Hunter College (2016) and the James A. Porter Book Award from Howard University (2018). From 2016-17, she was a Senior Fellow in Curatorial Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She serves on the editorial board of Callaloo Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters; the advisory for the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia as well as the Smithsonian’s National Archives. Cassel Oliver holds an M.A. in art history from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and, B.S. in communications from the University of Texas at Austin.

Lauren Haynes is Curator, Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Curator of Visual Arts at the Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas. Haynes was co-curator of the 2018 Crystal Bridges’ exhibition The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art and is co-curator of the 2019 exhibition Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today. Haynes is currently leading the curatorial team working on the forthcoming iteration of State of the Art, scheduled to open at both Crystal Bridges and the Momentary in February 2020. Prior to joining Crystal Bridges in October 2016, Haynes spent nearly a decade at The Studio Museum in Harlem. As a specialist in African-American contemporary art, Haynes curated dozens of exhibitions at the Studio Museum and contemporary art institutions in New York. Haynes was a 2018 Center for Curatorial Leadership fellow. Haynes is co-curator of the inaugural Tennessee Triennial for Contemporary Art taking place across Tennessee in 2021.

Melissa Messina is an Independent Curator and Curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate. Her exhibitions, site-responsive projects and public programs have been presented throughout the U.S. and abroad. In 2018, she was the consulting curator on the exhibition Mildred Thompson: Radiation Explorations and Magnetic Fields at Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, and co-curated, Mildred Thompson: Against the Grain, at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2017, Messina co-curated Magnetic Fields, Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, an intergenerational exhibition celebrating abstraction by Black women artists that toured from Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., and the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, FL. In 2016-17 Messina was the guest curator for the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and served as the first Artistic Director of Flux Projects in Atlanta. She was formerly the Interim Executive Director and Senior Curator of the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; the National Program Director for ArtTable; and a founding staff member and then guest curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. She is the recipient of a Creative Time | Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant; the Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Fellowship at the Stuart A. Rose Library at Emory University; and is currently a Fall 2019 Tyson Family Fellow at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR. Messina is also the co-curator of the 2018 and 2020 Bermuda Biennials. She joins Andrea Barnwell Brownlee in co-curating Mildred Thompson: The Atlanta Years, 1986 – 2003 (2019)

Hallie Ringle is the Hugh Kahul Curator of Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art where she's curated Celestia Morgan: REDLINE. She was formerly Assistant Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem where she curated Maren Hassinger: Monuments, Firelei Baez: Joy Out of Fire, Fictions, Rico Gatson: Icons 2007–2017, Video Studio: Meeting Points, Palatable: Food and Contemporary Art, and Salon Style. She is a fall 2018 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow. She has a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Date and Time

Location

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, First Floor

350 Spelman Lane, SW

Atlanta, GA 30314

View Map

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