The Sea is History: Art and Black Atlantic Cultures

A Symposium around the work of Frank Bowling

Speakers` Biographies

Sonia Boyce
Sonia Boyce (born 1962), Member of the Order of the British Empire, Royal Academy, is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. She is a Professor at University of the Arts London and her practice explores art as a social, critical and contextual discourse. With an emphasis on collaboration and participation, Boyce has been working closely with other artists since the 1990s, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions on the part of her collaborators. The ensuing artworks involve a variety of media, such as drawing, print, photography, video, and sound, and refer to the interstices between sound and memory, the dynamics of space, and incorporating the spectator. Boyce is currently the Principal-Investigator leading a team on a 3-year research project “Black Artists and Modernism” at the University of the Arts London in partnership with Middlesex University.


J. Michael Dash
J. Michael Dash, born in Trinidad, has worked extensively on Haitian literature and French Caribbean writers, especially Édouard Glissant, whose works, The Ripening (1958), Caribbean Discourse (1981) and Monsieur Toussaint (1981) he has translated into English. After 21 years at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, where he was Professor of Francophone Literature and Chair of Modern Languages, he is now Professor of French at New York University after having been Director of the African Studies Program. His publications include Literature and Ideology in Haiti (1981), Haiti and the United States (1988), Édouard Glissant (1995), The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context (1998).


Ellen Gallagher
Ellen Gallagher (born 1965) is an American artist living in New York and Rotterdam. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is held in the permanent collections of many major museums. Whether through her playful photomontages, or glistening veneered black paintings, or chromatic Sea Bed paintings, Ellen Gallagher provides vectors to consider the ways in which abstraction, Orientalist genre painting, and desire converge as portraits of historical, social, and personal imaginaries. Her speculative approach sieves a broad range of seemingly incommensurable references as concrete fragments that we cannot easily trace or fully comprehend, but nevertheless must. Ellen Gallagher’s recent Sea Bed paintings have evolved from the consistent and complex interests of her work over many years. She has investigated the theme of ‘archipelago’, a cluster of islands, historically and globally, focusing on Édouard Glissant’s expansion of a geographical or tectonic network to cultural and political identities, tracing images and writings around Creolisation through Aimé Césaire back to Phillis Wheatley’s poems, published in 1773. The space and histories of the Caribbean islands and their relation to the violent forge of colonialism, a ‘dance of death’, are fundamental to Gallagher’s vision, as are the connections of maritime States and nations, formed from multiple localities.


Isaac Julien
Isaac Julien (born 1960) is a British Filmmaker and installation artist living in London. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His 1989 documentary-drama exploring author Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance titled Looking for Langston garnered Julien a cult following while his 1991 debut feature Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He has had one-person exhibitions of work at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston (2011); L’Atelier Hermès, Seoul (2011); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2011); The Bass Museum, Miami (2010); Helsinki Festival, Kunsthalle Helsinki (2010); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2008); Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, (2006); Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005). Julien first participated in the Venice Biennale in 2009 and then returned to present Das Kapital Oratorio in the 56th edition, curated by Okwui Enwezor in 2015, as well as Western Union: small boats at the inaugural Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th edition in 2017. His work has also been exhibited in the 7th Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2008); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); and Performa 07, New York. Julien’s work is held in collections that include: Tate, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC. Julien has taught extensively at many major universities. He is the recipient of the 83rd James Robert Brudner Memorial Prize and lectured at Yale University (2016). Most recently he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017) for most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours, 2017.


Courtney J. Martin
Courtney J. Martin is Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation. Previously she was an assistant professor in the History of Art and Architecture department at Brown University (2013−2017); assistant professor in the History of Art department at Vanderbilt University (2010−2013); Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley (2009−2010); a fellow at the Getty Research Institute (2008−2009); and a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellow (2007). In 2015, she received an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She also worked in the media, arts, and culture unit of the Ford Foundation in New York. In 2012, she curated a focus display at Tate Britain, “Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip…Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings 1973-1978”. In 2014, she co-curated the group show “Minimal Baroque: Post-Minimalism and Contemporary Art” at Rønnebæksholm in Denmark. From 2008 to 2015 she co-led a research project on the Anglo-American art curator Lawrence Alloway at the Getty Research Institute and is co-editor of the publication Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator (2015, winner of the 2016 Historians of British Art Book Award). In 2015 she curated an exhibition of the American painter, Robert Ryman at the Dia Art Foundation. She is the editor of Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art (2016). She received a doctorate from Yale University in 2009 for her research on twentieth century British art and is the author of critical essays on Rasheed Araeen, Kader Attia, Rina Banerjee, Frank Bowling, Lara Favaretto, Leslie Hewitt, Asger Jorn, Wangechi Mutu, Ed Ruscha and Yinka Shonibare.


Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969. His work has been collected by museums throughout the world, not least Tate Gallery, London; MoMA, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne George Pompidou, Paris. In 1999 he received the Turner Prize and in 2009 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. A recent and highly acclaimed survey of his work traveled from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Schaulager, Basel. McQueen won the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 for his feature Hunger, the only British director to be granted the prize, and the FIPRESCI prize for Shame at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. 12 Years a Slave was awarded three Oscars at the latest Academy Awards, including the award for Best Film 2014. Having been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002, McQueen was created Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to the Visual Arts. He lives in Amsterdam and London.


Mark Nash
Mark Nash is an independent curator and writer and was until recently Head of Department Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art London. Before the RCA he helped establish the International Centre for Fine Art Research at the University of the Arts, London. In 2015−16 he was a Visiting Professor at the Nanyang Technological University Singapore Centre for Contemporary Art. As a curator Nash has collaborated extensively with Okwui Enwezor on ”The Arena” project at the Venice Biennial 2015, including an epic live reading of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital; “The Short Century” exhibition and documenta 11 (both 2002) and also with Ute Meta Bauer on the 3rd Berlin Biennial (2004). He has also collaborated with artist Isaac Julien on numerous film and art projects. He has written extensively on artist’s work with the moving image − especially in his curated exhibitions “Experiments with Truth” (Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2004−5) and “One Sixth of the Earth, ecologies of image” at ZKM, Karlsruhe and MUSAC, Leon (2012−13). This latter continued to explore the artistic legacy of formerly socialist countries, first explored in “Reimagining October” at Calvert 22 (2009), curated with Isaac Julien, and continued with the publication Red Africa: Affective Communities and the Cold War and the exhibition “Things Fall Apart”. Together with Joshua Jiang he has curated a major international exhibition “Yingxiang/The Shadow Never Lies” at 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum Shanghai (M21) in 2016.


David Scott
David Scott, Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Columbia University and President of Small Axe Inc.: “My work, especially since Refashioning Futures (1999) and Conscripts of Modernity (2004), has been concerned with the reconceptualization of the way we think the story of the colonial past for the postcolonial present. This has involved a variety of kinds of inquiry (taking the Caribbean as my principal “field” of engagement), into tradition and generations, dialogue and criticism, self-determination and sovereignty, tragedy and temporality, and transitional justice and liberalism. I’ve recently completed a book called Stuart Hall’s Voice: Intimations of an Ethics of Receptive Generosity (based on lectures I gave at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, in November−December 2013), and am now working on a biography of Stuart Hall. I am also working on a study of the question of reparations for the historical injustice of New World slavery. I continue to edit Small Axe, and direct the Small Axe Project, which is involved in a number of special initiatives around visual, translation, literary, and historiographical issues.”


Allison Thompson
Allison Thompson (Ph.D.) is an art historian and curator living in Barbados. She is currently the head of the Centre for the Visual and Performing Arts at the Barbados Community College where she teaches courses in modern and contemporary art of the Caribbean, Africa and the African diaspora. She is co-director with Ewan Atkinson of PUNCH Creative Arena, an initiative for creative action in Barbados. Thompson has worked with a number of cultural organizations in the Caribbean including the Barbados National Art Gallery Committee, ICOM Barbados, and is the founding president of AICA Southern Caribbean, a regional chapter of the International Art Critics Association. She has worked with the Black Diaspora Visual Arts project since 2007, organizing a series of symposiums and exhibitions aimed at creating greater visibility for Caribbean art and developing stronger and sustainable working relationships throughout the diaspora. She is co-author of the book Art in Barbados: What kind of mirror image (1999) and co-edited Curating in the Caribbean (2012) with contributions from nine curators, writers and artists working in the region. 

Eintritt: 5 €

Das Symposium findet in englischer Sprache statt
Mit Dank an das ICF International Curators Forum für die Unterstützung des Symposiums