Race, Culture, and Museum Studies

The Performative Spirit of Amalia Mesa-Bains’ New World Wunderkammer

A talk by Lucian Gomoll
Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies and Honors College
California State University, Los Angeles

Amalia Mesa-Bains’ New World Wunderkammer reactivates the Early Modern cabinet of curiosities, a display form that European collectors once used to express their knowledge and possession of the known world. Her art installation restages the Caribbean collision of Native American, African, and European peoples that began in 1492, connecting it to the colonial histories of objects from the Fowler Museum at UCLA’s permanent collections. In her creative, feminist, decolonial interventions, Mesa-Bains secures agency for the oppressed by invoking Lucumí—a spiritual practice born in the Caribbean—and by performatively implicating her audience in related processes of coming together and healing.

The 1993 Whitney Biennial: Artwork, Framework, Reception
A talk by Nizan Shaked                                                                                         Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History, Museum & Curatorial Studies California State University, Long Beach
Taking the “identity politics biennial” as its central case study for understanding the debates of the 1990s, this talk will outline debates around identity, multiculturalism, inter-disciplinarity, representation, and power, adding a materialist analysis of these developments in the context of state policy, on the one hand, and ideological analysis on the other. We will look at where and how the voice of the exhibition came to be defined and observe the relations between the institutional framework, the curatorial agenda, and what the art itself performed. Special attention will be paid to a group of works that reflect the synthesis of conceptualism and identity politics, and are paradigmatic of 1990s context art.

Thursday, April 21
4-6 p.m.
IAC Library, 831 N. Dartmouth Ave.
Refreshments will be served

Race culture and museum studies flyer

IAC Library