Collisions: A Symposium With Dread Scott and Jenny Polak


Please join us for “Collisions: Art Connects​ ​Migration From​ ​Africa with​ ​the European Slave Trade,” an evening symposium that will explore Dread Scott and Jenny Polak’s collaborative project ‘Passes,’ which draws on research begun during their residency at the Camargo Foundation in France and explores the connections between the forced migrations of the French Slave Trade and present-day migrations from Africa to Europe and the Americas. Joining them in discussion will be Dr. Julie Kleinman, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University, and ​​Dr. Shobana Shankar,​ Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University.​

The symposium will take place this Tuesday, February 26th, 6-8 pm at Stony Brook University in the Wang Center’s Chapel Room. Doors will open at 5:45, and seating is limited.

​Please RSVP at the following link: https://bit.ly/2BL2fB3

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Dread Scott and Jenny Polak are presently artists-in-residence in the Department of Art at Stony Brook University. Both artists’ practices address a range of interrelated social issues related to race, colonialism, slavery, migration, and citizenship in global contexts. Their performances, events, poetic gestures, provocations, and projects challenge audiences and publics to critically engage the complex and often vexed political inheritances of contemporary life.

​Julie Kleinman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University. Her book, Adventure Capital: Migration and the Making of an African Hub in Paris (forthcoming with University of California Press), examines how West African migrants use the largest railway station in Europe—Paris’s Gare du Nord—to construct their own pathway toward meaningful integration in a context where state institutions and E.U. migration policy have failed them. She has also written and published on migrant rights activism in Europe, the politics of deportation and humanitarian aid in France and Mali, and the effects of migration and migration restrictions on Malian transnational kinship relations. She is currently working on a new project on contemporary forms of pan-Africanism in practice as understood through Malian migration politics and the experience of African immigrants living in Bamako, Mali.​

Shobana Shankar is a historian of modern Africa, with a particular focus on West Africa. Her earlier work focused on the social and religious history of Muslim Northern Nigeria, where freed slave girls and women, political dissidents, and ethnic minorities formed a largely invisible but thriving Christian minority community over the last century. This same community has in recent years been one of the targets of Boko Haram. Her current work focuses on African-Indian cultural history and politics, which includes an examination of the legacy of African slaves in South Asia and their impact on the discourses surrounding blackness in India, where racial animosity has grown. With generous funding from Stony Brook, she recently bring the New York Public Library visual art exhibit on Africans in India to the Wang Center.​

MFA Alum Fiona Cashell Joins Faculty of The University Of Salford

MFA Alumnus Fiona Cashell is now an Academic Fellow in Digital Media, working in the School of Arts & Media at the University of Salford under the auspices of the BA in Digital Media Program. In addition to her role at UoS, she travels frequently to China and deliver modules in art & design subjects at Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts, an international partner of the University of Salford.

Artist-in-Residence Dread Scott Gives Talk About His Practice

On Wednesday, February 6th, the Art Department’s Artist-in-Residence Dread Scott gave an engaging to lecture about his practice to MFA students and several undergraduate classes. Among many topics, he talked about his work “What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? as well as his new collaboration with Jenny Polak exploring the legacies of slavery and migration in North Africa. Both artists will be working on campus throughout the semester in a series of events, talks, and workshops.

Alum Allison Conley Awarded by the IPC

As one of the New Prints Artist Development Program awardees, Stony Brook Art Department Alumnus Allison Conley will be in residence at IPCNY for the duration of Forms of Enclosure, where she will develop a new body of monumental handprinted woodcuts. As part of her residency, she will host a Pint n’ Print demonstration and talk on Thursday, February 21, from 7–9pm.

Faculty Member Ian Alan Paul Premieres New Work in Milan

Assistant Professor Ian Alan Paul premiered his new experimental documentary “La Orilla Infinita” (The Infinite Shore) this January as part of Traces’ Contentious Objects / Ashamed Subjects Exhibition at the Galleria del Progetto in Milan, Italy.



The work explores the entanglement of three contentious historic narratives on the Canary Islands brought together by the surrounding sea: The Spanish colonization and genocide of the indigenous communities in the 15th century, the fascist coup that was initiated from the islands in 1936 while Francisco Franco was stationed there, and the mass arrival and drowning of migrants coming from West Africa in the present.

Prof. Dinkins named 2019 Creative Capital Awardee

Prof. Stephanie Dinkins has received a 2019 Creative Capital Award for her project “Not the Only One,” a multigenerational memoir of a black American family told from the mind of an artificial intelligence of evolving intellect. It is designed by, trained inclusively and aligned with the interests and culture(s) of people of color.

The 2019 Creative Capital Awards represent 50 projects by 58 artists from all over the country. The projects span a range of genres, including literature, performance, the visual arts, moving image, technology, and socially engaged art.

Standout projects in this year’s final round were multidisciplinary, collaborative, and addressed the urgency of the current socio-political climate while evoking or referencing timeless conditions. The most successful applications utilized a specific lens through which to engage with a potent, yet often overlooked issue that relates to a broad and meaningful range of ideas. —Alice Gray Stites

Dread Scott and Jenny Polak To Be Spring 2019 Artists In Residence

Images courtesy of the artists.

​​In the Spring of 2019, the artists Dread Scott and Jenny Polak will be in residence in the Department of Art and will be participating in a symposium on February 26th, 2019 in their capacity as Run Run Shaw Distinguished Lecturers. Over a calendar of three months and supported by an Arts, Humanities, and Lettered Social Sciences Established Artist Grant, they will both engage in a series of events and talks on campus, will be undertaking a semester long research project that examines the relations between the history of slavery, migration, and art, and will be participating in one-on-one and small group critiques with students in the Art Department.

Dread Scott and Jenny Polak are both artists whose practices engage the intersections of politics, history, and power in the contemporary United States. Addressing a range of interrelated social issues related to race, colonialism, slavery, migration, and citizenship, their performances, events, poetic gestures, provocations, and projects challenge audiences and publics to critically engage the complex and often vexed political inheritances of American life.

Bringing Dread Scott and Jenny Polak to the Art Department as artists-in-residence will allow for their work to enrich the campus’ intellectual and artistic communities and generate necessary political debate about issues that continue to play a central role in our society. Beyond the obvious aesthetic and political merits of their work, Dread Scott and Jenny Polak’s time on campus will encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary forms of exchange between students and faculty, making significant and meaningful contributions to the form of political debate, exchange, and reflection and that are already taking place on campus.

PhD Alum Sophie Landres Accepts Position at Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design

Modern Art History & Criticism PhD Sophie Landres has accepted the position of Curator of Education and Public Programs at the Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design, where she will work directly under Director Rina Carvajal!

An independent curator, critic, and art historian, Landres’ interdisciplinary scholarship ranges across the fields of late modern art and visual culture, feminist history and theory, sound studies, and performance. Her 2017 dissertation, “Opera for Automatons: Carlotte Moorman’s Early Collaborations with Nam June Paik”, was completed under the direction of Andrew Uroskie, Zabet Patterson, and Megan Craig (Philosophy), with performance historian Kathy O’Dell (UMBC) as her outside reader.

Sophie was the 2015 Mellon Global Initiatives Fellow at Creative Time, where she assisted Okwui Enwezor with the Creative Time Summit for the Venice Biennale, and her essays have recently appeared in the College Art Association’s Art Journal as well as in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art

This last year, she has curated contemporary art exhibitions for Sargent’s Daughters and Stellar Projects in New York City, while teaching at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Congratulations, Sophie!

Campaign for Public Sculpture Conservation


Photo Credit: AMNY/Mark Chiusano

Art History faculty member Michele Bogart is at the forefront of efforts to conserve reliefs by Harlem Renaissance artist Richmond Barthé at Kingsborough houses in Brooklyn, as a recent piece has explored while highlighting the complexity of the issue:

Bogart is a champion of public art who is trying to find a champion for Barthé. NYCHA is facing an urgent capital needs deficit of billions, but maybe money to protect the frieze can be found elsewhere. Alternative funding from the City Council? The borough president’s office? A partnership with something like the Ford Foundation, which has made a cause out of public art and expression? Maybe the money is somewhere to fix what NYCHA couldn’t protect. Bogart points to the city Parks Department which she said does a solid job maintaining and monitoring public art.

Continuing reading online to get the full story.

Apple features Professor Stephanie Dinkins in “Behind the Mac” Campaign

Apple Inc has recently recognized Professor Stephanie Dinkins’ research and community-centered efforts by featuring her as a local hero in their “Behind the Mac” ad campaign.

The New York Times recently featured Dinkins in its pages as an AI influencer: “Five AI Influencers in their Own Words” and was also featured in Wired: “The Case for Giving Robots an Identity.

Additional, Dinkins was recently a guest on Tilted, A Lean in Podcast and on the All Turtles Podcast.

One of a Kind: Undergraduate Senior Seminar Art Exhibit

Xinyu Wu, What should be tied, 2018, 23 x 30 x 23 cm

A new student show “One of a Kind” will be on display at the Central Reading Room in the Melville Library between November 6 and December 10, 2018.

Nobuho Nagasawa, the Art Studio Faculty Member who curated the show, described what’s on display in this way:

“In the new technological age, the role of the library has changed with the rise of the Internet, E-books, Kindles, and other means of reading.  Nevertheless, books have never failed to transport new ideas, relay messages, provoke thoughts, and challenge viewpoints. In this exhibition, “One of a Kind,” I asked each student in the senior seminar class to expand their individual art practice and to create a site-responsive work that is related to the function of the library as a beacon of knowledge, and a place for exploration.”

MFA Student Maggie Avolio Featured in New American Paintings

In a recent issue of New American Paintings, current MFA Maggie Avolio was featured and profiled and had her artist statement published online. She describes her practice as being engaged in producing:

“…minimalistic artwork that exists simultaneously as painting, sculpture, and installation. Raw canvas is unwoven, torn, folded, or reconstructed to create three-dimensional form. I create marks using unconventional methods like stitching. Paint is absent from the canvas yet sometimes appears in the surrounding area, creating a new spatial identity.”

Interview With Faculty Member Katy Siegel in Gagosian Quarterly

Art History Faculty Katy Siegel was recently interviewed about her show at the Rose Art Museum. Among other reflections, she notes that:

“That earlier generation of women artists was
 not given the option of being feminists—and, even later in life, many were not interested in embracing that identity when it was on offer. Nonetheless, they faced the same issues as later generations, and enacted some of the same adaptations and solutions: playing both at femininity and masculinity as artificial roles, speaking to each other in private in a different manner than in public speech, and letting their work be filled with their own, unnamed sensibility. Female artists today are more likely to be able to say things out loud, but perhaps still run similar risks in the media and popular conceptions—being pinned down by categorical thinking about gender and identity.”

Click here to read the full interview!

New Work Exhibited from MFA Alum Athena LaTocha

Athena recently had the opportunity to make a new work for the Crystal Bridges Museum’s traveling exhibition “Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now, ” on display between October 05, 2018 – January 07, 2019.

For Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now, artist Athena LaTocha visited Northwest Arkansas and Pea Ridge National Military Park. The result of this visit is a work specific to the region, both the lush topography of the Ozarks as well as what the land has seen over time.

The entire cultural history of the land impacts LaTocha’s work– in this case, the Trail of Tears and the Civil War. During her visit, certain elements of the Arkansas landscape lingered: burnt trees, the smell of wet earth, sun on the rocks, and the erosion and striation of rock features. LaTocha connected the burnt wood and bluff overhangs with the experience of war and trauma in the land’s past.