BENNINGTON — Bennington College’s fall 2020 Visual Arts Lecture Series is structured around the notion of “Race, Representation, and Contemporary Art in the Age of Black Lives Matter” with lectures from Key Jo Lee, Kahlil Robert Irving, Maria Gaspar, Kota Ezawa, and Dayna Danger.
All lectures are free, open to the public, and will take place virtually over Zoom from 7-8 p.m. on five Tuesday evenings.
Each term, VALS offers lectures by visiting arts professionals: artists, curators, historians and critics, selected to present the diversity of contemporary art practices. VALS features artists who have remained pioneering and original for decades, as well as younger or emerging scholars and makers who are newly gathering international attention.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, Bennington is committed to introducing our community to the rich and daring, world-expanding work of queer and BIPOC contemporary artists, art writers, and educators,” said Visual Arts faculty member Vanessa Lyon, professor of art history and director of VALS. “Art can be political whether it wants to be or not, but our speakers this year are all engaged in making and interpreting art that takes up explicitly political questions that we should always be asking: who is represented, and how, and to what ends? How does art create our world and not merely represent or mirror it?”
Tonight, Nov. 10, VALS welcomes Key Jo Lee, an art historian, curator, critic and the assistant director of academic affairs at the Cleveland Museum of Art. In her role at the museum, Lee designs and implements programs designed to inspire scholarly engagements with the CMA’s collections, creates and tracks opportunities for exposure to humanities fields and museum careers for undergraduate and graduate students, and develops and oversees the CMA’s academic partnerships.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, VALS welcomes Kahlil Robert Irving, a San Diego-born sculptor and ceramist who attended the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art, the Kansas City Art Institute and was an MFA fellow at Washington University, in St. Louis. In 2017, Callicoon Fine Arts mounted his first solo exhibition in New York titled Streets:Chains:Cocktails. His work has since been exhibited at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art; the Arizona State University Art Museum, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, VALS welcomes Maria Gaspar, an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Gaspar has exhibited at venues including the MCA, Chicago, IL; Jack Shainman Gallery; Artspace, New Haven, CT; African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA and many others.
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, Kota Ezawa’s work explores the appropriation and mediation of current events and images, referencing sources from the news, art history, and popular culture. Since the debut of his 2002 video animation The Simpson Verdict, Ezawa has been well-known for creating light-boxes, videos, and works on paper that distill found images into his signature pared-down, flattened style.
On Tuesday, Dec. 8, VALS welcomes Dayna Danger, a 2Spirit/Queer, Metis/Saulteaux/Polish visual artist whose practice uses photography, sculpture, performance, and video to question the line between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with larger-than-life-sized work. Danger’s current use of beading leather fetish masks explores the complicated dynamics of sexuality, gender, and power in a consensual and feminist manner.