Dead Lecturer/distant relative at Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University




Al Loving, Space, time, Light #1, 1977, Acrylic and paper collage on canvas; 81 x 81 in. © Estate of Al Loving; courtesy Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, NY

Dead Lecturer / distant relative: Notes from the Woodshed, 1950-1980 focuses on works by Asian American and African American artists whose approaches to abstraction provided alternatives to prevailing vocabularies for representation and resistance during the social movements of the 1960s and 70s, and for whom the parameters of visibility continue to remain a problem for thought today.

Installation view of the exhibition “Dead Lecturer / distant relative: Notes from the Woodshed 1950-1980” curated by Genji Amino. On view at the Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, July 9 – October 1, 2022.

Dead Lecturer / distant relative gathers an archive of visual art and poetics to pose questions about the relationship between loss and kinship, between history and memory, and between race and abstraction. How do we recall the voices of those for whom art history has never represented either a reliable record or the proper horizon of address? How do we share the news of an archive of experiment whose relationship to the contemporary continues to be compromised by an ongoing history of racial violence and colonial enterprise? What forms of intimacy, address and refusal have yet to be imagined in and through this archive that exceed the prevailing art historical vocabularies for modernism, innovation, and abstraction?

“Drawing on a multifarious archive of refusal to prevailing modes of political and perceptual recognition and visibility, the exhibition seeks to locate experiment in practices of speculation and memory, asking what reconstructions of the prevailing languages of modernity, abstraction, voice, and the public have been and continue to be imagined by ‘those who refuse to represent.‘ ” –Genji Amino

Arakawa, “No!” says THE SIGNIFIED NO. 2,, 1973. Acrylic and oil on canvas, styrofoam, 76 5/8 x 108 1/4 in. Collection Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Miles Q. Fireman, 1991; © 2022 Estate of Madeline Gins.

The exhibition draws its title from three works that testify to the constitutive loss and irreducible experiment which conventional art histories neither reliably receive nor record: poet LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka’s 1964 collection The Dead Lecturer, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s 1977 artists’ book audience/distant relative, and painter Jack Whitten’s posthumous collection of writings, Notes from the Woodshed (2018).

Artists in the exhibition are Pacita Abad, Charles Alston, Leo Amino, Shūsaku Arakawa, Russell Atkins, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Bernice Bing, Vivian Browne, Beverly Buchanan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Ching Ho Cheng, Beauford Delaney, Fred Eversley, Sarah Webster Fabio, Julia Fields, Charles Gaines, Sam Gilliam, Byron Goto, Joseph Goto, Jessica Hagedorn, Marvin Harden, Felrath Hines, Lawson Fusao Inada, Stephen Jonas, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, June Jordan, Bob Kaufman, Roy Kiyooka, Ted Kurahara, Elouise Loftin, Al Loving, Wong May, George Miyasaki, Emiko Nakano, Senga Nengudi, Win Ng, Jerry Tsukio Okimoto, Joe Overstreet, John Pai, Howardena Pindell, Adrian Piper, Thomas Postell, N.H. Pritchard, Martin Puryear, Ed Roberson, Kay Sekimachi, Thomas Sills, Lorenzo Thomas, Walasse Ting, Leo Valledor, Carlos Villa, José García Villa, Fred Wah, and Jack Whitten.

Al Loving, Shield and Small Diagonals, 1972-73. Mixed media on canvas; 43 x 60 in. Collection of John Kline and Ashton Alexander, NY; Estate of Al Loving; courtesy Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, NY.

Dead Lecturer/distant relative: Notes from the Woodshed, 1950-1980 will be on view to October 2, 2022. Reception will be held on September 14 from 6-8pm with RSVP. The Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University Lenfest Center of the Arts is located at 615 West 129th Street, NYC.