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BGC Late: Jazz & Conversation in the Gallery, Black Art and Activism

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Bard Graduate Center Gallery

18 West 86th Street

Manhattan, NY 10024

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Join us for BGC Late: Jazz & Conversation in the Gallery (the series formerly known as First Wednesdays)! Enjoy cool jazz, warm vibes, and a glass of wine; see our fascinating exhibitions and learn from provocative conversations about the objects on view. Gene Perla and the fantastic musicians he brings together start playing at 6:30 pm. At 7:30 pm, Joshua I. Cohen leads a conversation about Black art and activism in Early 20th-Century Paris.

With Jennifer M. Wilks

In this panel discussion, artists and scholars consider how to critically reframe early-20th-century avant-garde “primitivism” and the Parisian vogue nègre. Whereas African formal influences on modern art were long construed in the West as unfolding in a historical vacuum, they are now better acknowledged as taking place—not coincidentally—during the colonial period. This was also a period when France and its capital underwent gradual reshaping through an influx of soldiers, workers, artists, and intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora. Far from being “primitive,” African artworks that exerted influence in Europe now stand to be understood as elements of (colonial) modernity. Beginning in the 1920s especially, African-descended activists and cultural producers redirected and contested European fascinations with “black” aesthetics.

More BGC Late: Jazz & Conversation in the Gallery

Thursday, March 5

Jazz at 6 pm

Conversation at 6:30 pm

Gender and Collective Action

Curated by Jane Hall

Thursday, April 2

Jazz at 6 pm

Thursday, June 4

Jazz at 6 pm

Conversation at 6:30 pm

Collaboration to Independence in the Work of Eileen Gray: E 1027 to Tempe à Pailla

Curated by Jan Greben

With Caroline Constant and Mary McLeod

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Joshua I. Cohen (Ph.D., Columbia University) is an assistant professor of art history at The City College of New York. His first book, The "Black Art" Renaissance: African Sculpture and Modernism across Continents, is forthcoming with the University of California Press (July 2020). His writing has additionally appeared in The Art Bulletin, African Arts, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of Southern African Studies, Burlington Magazine, and Wasafiri.

Jennifer M. Wilks is an associate professor of English, African and African Diaspora Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism (2008), and her essays and translation work have appeared in African-American Review, Callaloo, Comparative Literature Studies, Modern Fiction Studies, and Small Axe. In spring 2019 Wilks chaired Black Studies at 50: 1968/1969, UT’s second biennial Black Studies conference, and she currently serves as Associate Director of the university’s Warfield Center for African and American Studies. Wilks is at work on two book projects: a history of adaptations of Carmen set in African diasporic contexts and a study of representations of race and apocalypse in contemporary African American and Black European culture. Also an award-winning teacher, Wilks is an inaugural member of the Texas 10, the Texas Exes’ annual recognition of top UT Austin professors.

Music for BGC Late: Jazz & Conversation in the Gallery is guest curated by musician Gene Perla. Perla was raised in New Jersey where he studied classical piano and trombone. After attending Berklee School of Music, he moved to New York and began his musical career as a jazz bassist. He has performed and/or recorded with Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, Joni Mitchell, Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Stone Alliance, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and others. In the early 1970s he formed music publishing and record companies, and his group “Stone Alliance” traveled to South America and Europe, through which he developed experience in management and booking. Perla is also a Broadway sound designer (Tony Award for City of Angels), has expertise in recording studio operations, and is the webmaster for the Jazz Education Network.

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Bard Graduate Center Gallery

18 West 86th Street

Manhattan, NY 10024

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