Huey Copeland is an Associate Professor of Art History and affiliated faculty in the Critical Theory Cluster, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Departments of African American Studies and Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL, USA). His research and teaching focus on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on articulations of blackness in the Western visual field. Copeland is the author of Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (2013). Huey Copeland is EHESS visiting professor invited by Anne Lafont (CRAL-CEHTA).
In this lecture, Huey Copeland differently considers how the radical practices of the 1960s and ‘70s have been remembered, travestied, and reframed by focusing on the legacy of the legendary jazz musician, prophet, and composer Sun Ra within contemporary artistic practice. Engaging the work of American and European artists from Rashid Johnson to Mai-Thu Perret, Copeland’s lecture at once puts pressure on theorizations of “Afrofuturism” as well as formalist appropriations of Sun Ra’s signature aesthetic forms. Ultimately, Copeland advocates for modes of artistic engagement with the recent past that embrace the operative logic, not just the look, of Sun Ra’s philosophy, resulting in what might be called a “solar ethics” that can serve as a means of making and critique.
As part of the seminar « Les arts en Afrique et dans ses diasporas: pratiques, savoirs, mobilités », coordinated by Christine Douxami, Sarah Fila-Bakabadio, Dominique Malaquais
- Thursday 15 November 2018, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm - Cité internationale des arts (Auditorium), 18, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville 75004 Paris.
Black Feminist Materialisms
In this lecture, Huey Copeland focuses on African American painting, particularly abstract work of the 1960s and 70s. While the practices of artists who emerged in that moment, such as Sam Gilliam and Howardena Pindell, have garnered à ncreasing attention in recent years, critical discourse has tended to either emplot them within formalist narratives that elide considerations of race and gender or to frame them in identarian frameworks that leave aside the material complexity of the artworks themselves. In this lecture, Copeland will move beyond this dichotomy in articulating a black feminist approach to the construction of the material world that considers how African American women’s vernacular strategies of making-do variously inform painters’ attempts to critique both the supposed autonomy of abstraction as well as the racialized and gendered construction of the gaze in Western cultures.
As part of the seminar « Genre et Histoire de l’art » , coordinated by Patricia Falguières, Charlotte Foucher-Zarmanian, Anne Lafont, Elvan Zabunyan, Giovanna Zapperi
- Friday 16 November 2018, from 10am à 12am - Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (salle Mariette), 2 rue des Petits Champs, 75002 Paris.
Touched by the Mother
In this lecture, Huey Copeland will provide an overview of his work on and approach to modern and contemporary art, with a focus on his forthcoming collection of essays, interviews, and reviews, Touched by the Mother: On Black Men and Artistic Practice, 1966-2016. This volume encompasses a range of unique practices, from the assemblages of Noah Purifoy to the films of Kader Attia, that will serve as the basis for the three subsequent lectures, all united by their engagement with American art and culture of the 1960s and ‘70s. Just as important, in “Touched by the Mother”—a title borrowed from the work of renowned cultural theorist Hortense Spillers—Copeland will articulate how his black queer feminist method draws from various discourses in thinking the intersections of race and gender, history and memory, subjectivity and sexuality, art and culture, an approach that, he argues, productively expands our understanding of both art-historical practice and the aesthetic itself.
As part of the seminar « Something you should know : artistes et producteurs d’aujourd’hui » coordinated by Patricia Falguières, Elisabeth Lebovici, Nataša Petrešin
- Wednesday 21 november 2018, from 7pm à 9pm - Maison Suger (Auditorium), 16, rue Suger 75006 Paris.
Afrotropic Art Histories
In this lecture, Huey Copeland returns to Glenn Ligon’s Untitled (I AM A MAN) painting of 1988 and to the 1968 Ernest Withers photograph of the signs helped up by striking Memphis sanitation workers that inspired the artist. In looking back to Ligon’s work, long a touchstone for his critical practice, Copeland corrects his earlier writing on the painting in light of subsequent archival research as well as his own entanglement in the artist’s discursive construction. In exploring these questions and their implications for the writing of contemporary art history, he will rely on his and Krista Thompson’s theorization of the afrotrope, a term referring to those visual forms, such as the I AM A MAN sign, which recur within and have become central to African diasporic notions of subjectivity, race, and gender in the modern era.
As part of the seminar « Art africain, art nègre, créolisation : histoire et concepts » coordinated by Anne Lafont
- Tuesday 27 November 2018, from 9am à 11am- Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (salle Peiresc), 2 rue des Petits Champs 75002 Paris.