Friday, November 22, 2013

SYMPOSIUM + BOOK LAUNCH: Black Is, Black Ain’t

Featuring Huey Copeland, Thelma Golden, Kellie Jones, Bennett Simpson, and Hamza Walker

Sunday, December 8, 2013, 2PM

Kent Hall, Room 107
1020 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL


On the occasion of publishing the Black Is, Black Ain’t exhibition catalog, the Renaissance Society has organized a symposium revisiting issues raised in the exhibition of the same name, curated by Hamza Walker and shown at the Society in 2008. Given the extent to which race is bound to visual representation, exhibitions have played no small role in instigating discussion. They are where identity has been asserted, critiqued, and dismantled, all in a healthy circular fashion. This symposium’s cast of curators, critics, and scholars will reflect on a series of seminal exhibitions from Black Male (1994) through Blues for Smoke (2012) and the context in which they were mounted, from the riots ensuing in the wake of the Rodney King beating to Obama’s presidential election.


Huey Copeland, moderator, Associate Professor of Art History at Northwestern University

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Kellie Jones, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University

Bennett Simpson, Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles

Hamza Walker, Associate Curator and Director of Education at the Renaissance Society


Black Is, Black Ain’t is a generously illustrated, 196 page exhibition catalog documenting work by 26 artists and featuring essays by Huey Copeland, Darby English, Greg Foster-Rice, Amy Mooney, Kym Pinder, Krista Thompson, Hamza Walker, and Kenneth Warren. This group exhibition, curated by Hamza Walker, explored an evolution in the discourse of race from an earlier emphasis on inclusion to a recent shift to racial identity being simultaneously rejected and retained.

Black Is, Black Ain’t was first exhibited at the Renaissance Society, then traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2009) and the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute (2009).

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