MoCADA and the 2011 College Art Association Conference

The Black Atlantic Resource is delighted to announce a collaborative programme of posting over the next five weeks during which we will be making available information about some of the activities and discourses which the New York based Musuem of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) has been involved in recently.

So here is the first:

MoCADA’s Curatorial Fellows reflect on The 2011 College Art Association Conference

On Friday, February 11th, we had our first experience in the field as Curatorial Fellows at MoCADA. We attended the 99th annual College Art Association (CAA) Conference at the Hilton New York in Midtown, Manhattan. The atmosphere was lively, with artists and scholars bustling from lecture to lecture, introducing each other to colleagues, and browsing the legendary Book and Trade Fair.

The day began at 12:30pm with thirteen poster displays by scholars in the field, including MoCADA’s former Director of Exhibitions, Kimberli Gant. Kim’s poster presentation was on Staff Diversity in Museums, and drew from current research that she is conducting at the University of Texas at Austin in pursuit of her Ph.D in Contemporary African Diasporan arts. Kim’s display visually represented race and gender demographics in museum workplaces in …read more

At 2:30pm, we attended a collection of presentations, followed by a panel discussion entitled, “The Ethnographic Ruse: Early Erotic Photographs of Non-Western Women.” Five scholars presented papers on their research, and common themes of colonialism, exotification of the female body, and photographs as documentation versus fantasy, emerged throughout the afternoon.

One of the papers, Shadow Catchers: Legacies of Early Photographic Images of Samoans, written and presented by Dr. Caroline Vercoe of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, bridged historic representations of Samoan women as hypersexualized, with a discussion on the practices of contemporary Samoan women photographers, designers, and performance artists. Dr. Vercoe referenced multimedia and performance artist, Shigeyuki Kihara …read more

The session concluded with a panel discussion moderated by legendary performance artist, Coco Fusco, from Parsons The New School for Design. During the question and answer portion of the discussion, the point was made that while in the Pacific, there is a history of the nude female body being constructed as sexually inviting and welcoming, the Black female nude has historically been associated with the slave auction block … read more

A question to ponder:

To what extent are there parallels between contemporary works by women of African Descent and other women of color who construct images of the nude, racialized body?

Please comment or add questions on this discussion!

Contributed by: Zemen Kidane, Isissa Komada-John, Jabari Owens-Bailey

To read this post in full and view related video and audio clips click here.

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