Kenan Lecture Series
Talks present by our Kenan Distinguished Professors. All talks are free and open to the public.
Tuesday, March 30th
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Crisp-Ellert Art Museum (Map)
Hurricanes are not solely catastrophic meteorological events. They also effectively made the complex visual cultures of the greater Caribbean. This essay examines, in particular, how hurricanes have framed modern art histories of the region, alongside narratives of imperialism, racism, and disaster capitalism. The discussion opens with Winslow Homer’s series of watercolor paintings made in the Bahamas circa 1899. Of particular importance is his work After the Hurricane. Identified only as a “luckless man,” the image depicts a half-nude, Black male subject, whose unconscious (or perhaps deceased) body has washed ashore along with his wrecked craft after a recent storm. Scholars have commented on the painting’s formal characteristics -- its “frothy” waves and “surprising” green strokes. Yet, the main figure has received relatively little attention. Analysis of Homer’s watercolor exposes the often overlooked and ongoing cultural life of hurricanes in Caribbean art and society. The image is a synecdoche, revealing how “natural disasters” have disproportionately affected communities of color within both colonialist and capitalist social structures. Taken alongside earlier images of Atlantic storms, such as J.M.W’s Turner’s Slave Ship of 1840, a counter-formalist history of art, environment, race and racism emerges, rooting back to the plantation economies of the colonial period; and projecting forward to the inequities of our present-day climate crisis. Angelika Wallace-Whitfield’s post-Dorian humanitarian project Hope is A Weapon: Bahamas Strong (2019) thus concludes our discussion, showing us how art may serve to combat, as it once recorded, the historic effects of human-made catastrophe, climate change, and capitalism today.
Joseph R Hartmanis an assistant professor of art history and Latinx and Latin American studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Hartman specializes in the visual culture and built environments of the greater Caribbean. He is author of Dictator’s Dreamscape: How Architecture and Vision Built Machado’s Cuba and Invented Modern Havana (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), and editor of the volume Imperial Islands: Art, Architecture, and Visual Experience in the US Insular Empire after 1898 (University of Hawaii Press, 2021). His research has been supported among others by the University of Missouri Research Board, the Graham Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society.
Michael Ray Charles
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Michael Ray Charles is a contemporary American painter. His work explores historic African American stereotypes from the Antebellum South, appropriating images from advertising and pop culture to expose the underlying racism prevalent in contemporary culture. Charles creates a mimetic vocabulary of cultural, racial, and historicized images to subvert those themes and explore surviving caricatures that continue to appear in popular media, such as Aunt Jemima or Sambo. Born in Lafayette, LA in 1967, he went on to earn his BFA from McNeese State University and his MFA from the University of Houston. He was appointed as the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Painting in 2014 at the University of Houston's School of Art, and he has exhibited internationally, notably in the Austin Museum of Art, the Knox Art Gallery, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Conditions for an Unfinished Work of Mourning: Descent
Conditions for an Unfinished Work of Mourning is a long-term, site-responsive series drawing on the dormant pathos embedded within lands occupied by human and nonhuman dwellers while searching for evidence of resilience. The project’s third volume, Descent, moves from terrain to water as a means of thinking through how we, along with fish and other organisms, find ways of being and living together within the midst of a global climate crisis impacting our shared resources and, subsequently, our relations.
Dawn Roe works with still photographs and digital video in both singular and combined forms. Her projects explore photo-based practice as a mode of representation allowing for poetic and critical engagement through perceptual studies of sites, locations, and situations that are sought out, constructed, or simply happened upon. Dawn serves as Professor of Art at Rollins College.
Dawn’s talk is a part of “Ways of Seeing Climate Change,” a series of talks and exhibitions to take place at Flagler College between 2021-2024. The series intends to foster critical and timely discussions on how visual representation informs our understanding of climate change, environmental justice, and our hopes and fears about the planet’s future. The series is funded in part by the Kenan Family Foundation.Back To Top