Skip to main content

Events

Celebrating Recent Work by Julia Bryan-Wilson

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

dateMarch 26, 2024 timeTuesday, 6:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University locationVirtual Event
Cosponsors
  • Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Department of Art History & Archaeology
  • Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender
Organizer
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
Contact
email address [email protected]
Notes
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.

Louise Nevelson's Sculpture: Drag, Color, Join, Face
by Julia Bryan-Wilson

In this radical rethinking of the art of Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), Julia Bryan-Wilson provides a long-overdue critical account of a signature figure in postwar sculpture. Nevelson, a Ukrainian-born Jewish immigrant, persevered in the male-dominated New York art world. Nonetheless, her careful procedures of construction—in which she assembled found pieces of wood into elaborate structures, usually painted black—have been little studied.

Organized around a series of key operations in Nevelson’s own process (dragging, coloring, joining, and facing), the book comprises four slipcased, individually bound volumes that can be read in any order. Both form and content thus echo Nevelson’s own modular sculptures, the gridded boxes of which the artist herself rearranged. Exploring how Nevelson’s making relates to domesticity, racialized matter, gendered labor, and the environment, Bryan-Wilson offers a sustained examination of the social and political implications of Nevelson’s art. The author also approaches Nevelson’s sculptures from her own embodied subjectivity as a queer feminist scholar. She forges an expansive art history that places Nevelson’s assemblages in dialogue with a wide array of marginalized worldmaking and underlines the artist’s proclamation of allegiance to blackness.

About the Author

Julia Bryan-Wilson is a Professor of LGBTQ+ Art History and core faculty in Columbia's Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender. Her research interests include feminist and queer theory, theories of artistic labor, performance and dance, production/fabrication, craft histories, photography, video, visual culture of the nuclear age, and collaborative practices. She is the author of four books: Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (University of California, 2009); Art in the Making: Artists and Their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson, Thames & Hudson, 2016); Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago, 2017); and Louise Nevelson’s Sculpture: Drag, Color, Join, Face (Yale, 2023). She is the editor of OCTOBER Files: Robert Morris (MIT Press, 2013).

About the Speakers

Jack Halberstam is a Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of seven books, including Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke University Press, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke University Press, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke University Press, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press).

Kellie Jones is a Professor in Art History and Archaeology and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. Jones has received numerous awards for her work from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a term as Scholar-in-Residence at the Terra Foundation for American Art in Europe in Giverny, France. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Zoe Leonard is an American artist who works primarily with photography and sculpture. She has exhibited widely since the late 1980s and her work has been included in a number of seminal exhibitions including Documenta IX and Documenta XII, and the 1993, 1997 and 2014 Whitney biennials. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020.

Wendy S. Walters is a Creative Capital Awardee in literary nonfiction and the author of three books, including Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal. A recipient of fellowships from NYFA, the Ford Foundation, BRIClab and the Smithsonian Institute, she has a broad history of engagements with writing in and about performative contexts. In a sustained collaboration with Elyse Nelson, Walters co-curated the exhibition, Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast, at The Met, the first exhibition at The Met to examine Western sculpture in relation to the histories of transatlantic slavery, colonialism, and empire. She also co-edited a companion to the show, a collection of essays titled Fictions of Emancipation: Reconsidering Carpeaux’s Why Born Enslaved!

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs. This event will be recorded. By being present, you consent to the SOF/Heyman using such video for promotional purposes.