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Student Board Annual Public Lecture: Pao Houa Her in Conversation with Makeda Best

February 25, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
A color photograph of a woman staring directly at the camera.


Harvard Art Museums, Menschel Hall, Lower Level32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Join the Harvard Art Museums Student Board for its annual public lecture, featuring Pao Houa Her in conversation with Makeda Best, the Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography.

Pao Houa Her is a Hmong American artist whose practice engages primarily with legacies and potentials of landscape, portraiture, and documentary photographic traditions and aesthetics. Her works examine identity, longing, and belonging in Hmong diasporic communities.

Her’s work is currently on view at the Harvard Art Museums in Gallery 1120 until April 2023.

Her’s solo exhibitions include Paj qaum ntuj/Flowers of the Sky at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2022–23), Emplotment at Or Gallery in Vancouver, Canada (2020), and My grandfather turned into a tiger at Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis (2018). Her work was recently exhibited in the Whitney Biennial (2022) and has been included in group exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Milwaukee Art Museum; MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai; and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, among many others. Her is a recipient of Aperture’s Baxter Next Step Award (2023), is a prizewinner in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (2022), and is a recipient of the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship (2022 and 2016) as well as the Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists (2019). Notable public collections housing her work include the Singapore Art Museum and the Walker Art Center.

Her is assistant professor in photography and moving images at the University of Minnesota. She holds an M.F.A. in photography from the Yale School of Art (2012) and a B.F.A. in photography from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (2009).

Born in Laos in 1982, Her was raised in Minnesota and is based in Blaine.

Makeda Best oversees the Harvard Art Museums’ photography collections. Her scholarly interests focus on 19th- and 20th-century American photography, with a special interest in photojournalism, documentary, war photography, and text and image works.

The Harvard Art Museums Student Board Annual Public Lecture highlights a contemporary BIPOC artist who is creatively addressing issues of national, global, and cultural relevance. Presented in partnership with the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights.

Pao Houa Her, artist
Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography and Interim Head of the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums

Free admission, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on 480 Broadway. Doors will open at 6:30pm.

Limited complimentary parking is available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for this program is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at am_register@harvard.edu at least 48 hours in advance.