Huey Copeland, director of graduate studies and associate professor of art history at Northwestern University, will present the spring 2013 Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture in Art History on Thursday, March 14, at 4:10 p.m. in 203 Cohen Hall. In his lecture, Relative Fictions, or, Incidents in the Life of Modernism, drawn from his next book project, Copeland will examine the negress—a key figure of Western artistic production—in order to newly interpret the practices that have both shaped the visual predication of black femininity and constituted modernist aesthetic form.
Copeland also has affiliations at Northwestern in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. His work focuses on modern and contemporary art with emphases on the articulation of blackness in the American visual field and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in Western aesthetic practice broadly construed. A regular contributor to Artforum, Copeland has also published in Art Journal, Callaloo, Parkett, Qui Parle, Representations, and Small Axe, as well as in numerous edited volumes and international exhibition catalogues, including the award-winning Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art.
Most notable among his forthcoming publications is Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America, a book funded by a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant that will be published by the University of Chicago Press. Focused on the work of Renée Green, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, and Fred Wilson, this project considers how slavery shaped American art in the last decades of the twentieth century in order to argue for a reorientation of modern and contemporary art history where the subject of race is concerned. The book, like much of Copeland’s work, derives from research into theories of subject formation, twentieth-century sculpture, histories of slavery, gender and sexual difference, site-specific practices, and African American cultural discourse.
Alongside his work as a teacher, critic, and scholar, Copeland has co-curated such exhibitions as Interstellar Low Ways at the Hyde Park Art Center and co-edited journal volumes such as New World Slavery and the Matter of the Visual. An alumnus of the 2002-2003 Whitney Independent Study Program, he has also received support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center for American Modernism, the Northwestern University Research Grants Committee, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. In 2011 he was a residential fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, where he continued work on In the Arms of the Negress, a book that explores the constitutive role of black femininity in Western art from the nineteenth century to the present.
Sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Department of History of Art, the lecture is free and open to the public, and limited parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East.