The Timeliness and Timelessness of Carrie Mae Weems: Ritual and Revolution [Audio]

The Block Museum was thrilled to serve as one of many partners for the 2017 Northwestern University Black Arts Initiative conference “Black Arts International: Temporalities and Territories (October 9-13). This week-long event focused on art and scholarship of the black diaspora around the world.  Conference presenters considered notions of time, space, and place and the ways in which black art has played a pivotal role in historical epochs such as colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade, modernity and post-modernity, industrialization and globalization.

Within the conference, a panel of national scholars focused their dialogue on Ritual and Revolution (1998), an installation by artist Carrie Mae Weems owned by the Block Museum of Art.  The installation was on view in the Museum’s Alsdorf gallery from September through December 2017. In a carefully focused conversation, the group considered the multiple meanings at play in this single work of art.


LaCharles Ward, Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric and Public Culture, Northwestern University

Michael Hanchard is Professor of Africana and Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching interests combine a specialization in comparative politics with an interest in contemporary political theory, encompassing themes of nationalism, racism and xenophobia, and citizenship.

Gina Athena Ulysse is a feminist artist-anthropologist-activist and self-described Post-Zora Interventionist. She was born in Pétion-Ville, Haïti. Her various creative projects include spoken word, performance art, and installation pieces. Her poetry has appeared in several journals and collections. She is currently Professor of Anthropology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Romi Crawford is Associate Professor in Visual and Critical Studies and Liberal Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her research revolves primarily around formations of racial and gendered identity and the relation to American film, visual arts, and popular culture. She was previously the Curator and Director of Education and Public Programs at the Studio Museum in Harlem and founder of the Crawford and Sloan Gallery (NYC, 1994-1998).


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