presenting A Black Gaze: Artists Changing How We See in conversation with SARAH LEWIS
Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series welcomes TINA M. CAMPT—the Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University—for a discussion of her latest book, A Black Gaze: Artists Changing How We See. She will be joined in conversation by SARAH LEWIS, an associate professor at Harvard University in the Department of History of Art and Architecture.
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About A Black Gaze
In A Black Gaze, Tina Campt examines Black contemporary artists who are shifting the very nature of our interactions with the visual through their creation and curation of a distinctively Black gaze. Their work—from Deana Lawson’s disarmingly intimate portraits to Arthur Jafa’s videos of the everyday beauty and grit of the Black experience, from Khalil Joseph’s films and Dawoud Bey’s photographs to the embodied and multimedia artistic practice of Okwui Okpakwasili, Simone Leigh, and Luke Willis Thompson—requires viewers to do more than simply look; it solicits visceral responses to the visualization of Black precarity.
Campt shows that this new way of seeing shifts viewers from the passive optics of looking at to the active struggle of looking with, through, and alongside the suffering—and joy—of Black life in the present. The artists whose work Campt explores challenge the fundamental disparity that defines the dominant viewing practice: the notion that Blackness is the elsewhere (or nowhere) of whiteness. These artists create images that flow, that resuscitate and revalue the historical and contemporary archive of Black life in radical ways. Writing with rigor and passion, Campt describes the creativity, ingenuity, cunning, and courage that is the modus operandi of a Black gaze.
Praise for A Black Gaze
“At once an incomparable critical inquiry, a rapt personal itinerary, and a cadenced poem, A Black Gaze by Tina Campt opens the mind, and eyes, to some of today’s most transformative Black art and artists.” —Thelma Golden, The Studio Museum in Harlem
“Tina Campt is a champion for the contemporary Black imagination; a critical and self-reflective ally who helps us see the complexities of a Black interiority.” —Theaster Gates, Professor, Department of Visual Arts, University of Chicago
“A compelling meditation on the labor of witnessing, and writing about, the discomforting work of several artists who are transforming the contemporary visual cultural landscape.” —Krista Thompson, author of Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice