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Unknown Asante artist. Disk Pendant (Akrafokonmu), 20th century, Ghana. Gold, red ochre, 4 1/4 × 4 1/4 × 3/4 in. (10.8 × 10.8 × 1.9 cm). Lent courtesy of the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Caroline Julier and James G. Richardson Art Acquisition Fund, 2004.20.2. (Photo: Randy Batista)

Exhibiting Africa: State of the Field in African Art and the Diaspora 

Friday, October 20, 2023

11 am–3:30 pm

October 19: Bard Graduate Center; October 20: Brooklyn Museum, Auditorium, 3rd Floor

Over the last century, Western museums and collecting institutions have made considerable investments in the arts and material culture of Africa and the diaspora. The historiography of collecting African and diasporic arts in Western cultural institutions, however, is incomplete, and exhibition histories are understudied. These gaps belie the diversity of Black and African populations across the globe and the complexity of art and exhibition practices. 

This two-day symposium—a collaboration between Bard Graduate Center (BGC) and the Brooklyn Museum—explores changing (or unchanging) display practices in the field. Speakers represent a broad range of expertise and research interests, from the ancient to the contemporary. Held at both institutions, the symposium coincides with SIGHTLINES on Peace, Power and Prestige: Metal Arts in Africa at Bard Graduate Center and Sakimatwemtwe: A Century of Reflection on the Arts of Africa at the Brooklyn Museum.

Co-organized by Annissa Malvoisin (Bard Graduate Center / Brooklyn Museum Postdoctoral Fellow in the Arts of Africa) and Drew Thompson (Associate Professor of Visual Culture and Black Studies, Bard Graduate Center).

Thursday, October 19: Bard Graduate Center

  • 1:30 pm: Welcome and introduction
  • 1:45 pm: Panel 1: Design and Display
    Mpho Matsipa (Associate Curator, Lubumbashi Biennale 2024 [DRC]; Visiting Assistant Professor, Columbia GSAPP), Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Director of Graduate Studies in Graphic Design, Yale University), and discussant N'Goné Fall (Independent Curator and Cultural Policies Specialist)
  • 3:15 pm: Coffee break
  • 3:45 pm: Panel 2: Classical/Contemporary
    Kevin Dumouchelle (Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art), Sandrine Colard (Associate Curator, KANAL–Centre Pompidou; Assistant Professor of Art History, Rutgers University), and discussant Alisa LaGamma (Ceil and Michael E. Pulitzer Curator of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday, October 20: Brooklyn Museum

  • 11:15 am: Welcome and introduction
  • 11:30 am: Panel 1: Ancient and Medieval Africa
    Andrea Myers Achi (Mary and Michael Jaharis Associate Curator of Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art), Solange Ashby (Assistant Professor of Egyptology and Nubian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles), and discussant Geoff Emberling (Associate Research Scientist, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan) 
  • 1 pm: Break
  • 2 pm: Panel 2: Representation and Consumption
    Antawan Byrd (Assistant Professor of Art History, Northwestern University; Associate Curator of Photography and Media, Art Institute of Chicago), Tobias Wofford (Associate Professor of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University), and discussant Silvia Forni (Director, Fowler Museum at UCLA)

Review speakers’ full bios, and revisit this page for updates. 

Tickets are $15 and include Museum general admission.