Introduction Contributing Artists About the Curator Steering Committee National Advisory Panel Acknowledgements

About the Exhibition

Promise, Witness, Remembrance at the Speed Art Museum will reflect on the life of Breonna Taylor, her killing in 2020, and the year of protests that followed, in Louisville and around the world. The exhibition explores the dualities between a personal, local story and the nation’s reflection on the promise, witness, and remembrance of too many Black lives lost to gun violence.

In "Promise," artists explore ideologies of the United States of America through the symbols that uphold them, reflecting on the nation’s founding, history, and the promises and realities, both implicit and explicit, contained within them. In "Witness," they address the contemporary moment, building upon the gap between what a nation promises and what it provides through artworks that explore ideas of resistance across time, form, and context. In "Remembrance," they address gun violence and police brutality, their victims, and their legacies.

Promise, Witness, Remembrance features artists from Louisville and across the United States, and was developed with the guidance of Breonna Taylor’s family, a Steering Committee of Louisville artists, activists, mental health professionals, researchers, and community members, convened by the Speed’s Community Engagement Strategist Toya Northington, and a National Advisory Panel, convened by Glenn.

Contributing Artists

Terry AdkinsRead More

Terry Adkins (b. 1953, Washington, DC; d. 2014, Brooklyn, NY) established an interdisciplinary and frequently collaborative practice that encompassed sculpture, music, printmaking, and video. Engaging with the improvisatory spirit of free jazz, he sought to “find a way to make music as physical as sculpture might be and sculpture as ethereal as music is.”

Adkins grew up in a musical household. He played guitar, saxophone, and other instruments and counted John Coltrane, Nina Simone, and Jimi Hendrix among his influences. His early affinity for drawing was nourished at Fisk University in Nashville, where he studied with such luminaries as David Driskell and Martin Puryear. In 1975 Adkins completed his BS in printmaking and then pursued an MS in the field from Illinois State University. In 1979, he received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Kentucky. Adkins returned to DC, where he joined a free jazz band led by Yahya Abdul-Majid of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

It was Adkins’s residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem and, subsequently, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center which prompted the artist’s experimentation with sculpture, installation and performative practice. In 1986, Adkins was awarded a residency in Zürich, where he founded the Lone Wolf Recital Corps, a performance collaborative featuring a rotating ensemble of artists, musicians, and friends, such as Charles Gaines, Kamau Patton, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He termed the group’s multimedia happenings “recitals.”

Adkins’s recitals were often dedicated to recovering the narratives of historical figures important to the cultures of the African diaspora, including botanist and inventor George Washington Carver, musician Jimi Hendrix, intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois, composer Ludwig van Beethoven, and blues singer Bessie Smith. Adkins reached beyond conventional interpretations of the past in his “abstract portraiture,” coming to understand his subjects through site-specific research, engaging relevant contemporary communities, and employing historically potent materials for his installations and recitals.

In 1995, Thelma Golden curated an exhibition of Adkins’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris, including his Akrhaphones: giant horns which are both sculptures and invented instruments. In 1999, Adkins mounted a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and in 2000 he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design in the departments of Fine Arts and Africana Studies. In 2009, he received the Jesse Howard, Jr. / Jacob H. Lazarus—Metropolitan Museum of Art Rome Prize. A retrospective of his work, Terry Adkins Recital, was organized in 2012 by the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.

On February 8, 2014, Adkins passed away at the age of 59. His work has posthumously been included in significant international exhibitions including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, and the 2015–16 traveling exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now. In 2017, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted the first exhibition and performance series to reunite the Lone Wolf Recital Corps since Adkins's death. Important solo exhibitions of his work include Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2018); Our Sons and Daughter Ever on The Altar co-presented by Frist Museum and Fisk University, Nashville (2020); and Resounding at the Pulitzer Art Foundation, St. Louis (2020).

Work by Adkins can be found in the collections of major public institutions, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; Art Bridges Foundation, Bentonville, Arkansas; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and Pérez Art Museum Miami. (via Lévy Gorvy)

Noel W AndersonRead More

Noel W Anderson (b. 1981, Louisville, KY) received an MFA from Indiana University in Printmaking, and an MFA from Yale University in Sculpture. He is also Area Head of Printmaking in NYU’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions.

Anderson utilizes print-media and arts-based-research to explore philosophical inquiry methodologies. He primarily focuses on the mediation of socially constructed images on identity formation as it relates to black masculinity and celebrity. In 2018, Noel was awarded the NYFA artist fellowship grant and the prestigious Jerome Prize. His solo exhibition Blak Origin Moment debuted at the Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati) in February 2017 and travelled to the Hunter Museum of American Art in October 2019. His first monograph, Blak Origin Moment, was also recently published. (via artist website)

Erik BranchRead More

Erik Branch is a photographer living in Louisville, KY.

Xavier BurrellRead More

Xavier Burrell is a native of Huntsville, Alabama and is currently pursuing an MBA Degree at the University of Louisville College of Business. He is a former student-athlete at UofL, where he was a player on the UofL football team. He earned a BS Degree in Communications in 2008 from UofL, as well as a BS Degree in Sports Administration in 2018 when he returned back to school after he was medically retired from the U.S. Army as a Captain after serving 8 years on active duty. He was deployed twice to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and during his military career he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Unit Commendation (2), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), NATO Service Medal, and a Combat Action Badge. After his military career was cut short, Xavier picked up a camera as a hobby and since then he has worked on creative projects with the UofL Athletics Department, Revolt, as well as a freelancer for the New York Times. Xavier works with various mediums to produce videos and photographs that always capture the essence of his subjects through an emphatic lens. (via the artist)

María Magdalena Campos-PonsRead More

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959, La Vega, Cuba) combines and crosses diverse artistic practices, including photography, painting, sculpture, film, video, and performance. Her work addresses issues of history, memory, gender, and religion; it investigates how each one of these themes informs identity formation.

Born in 1959 in La Vega, a town in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, Campos-Pons is a descendant of Nigerians who had been brought to the island as slaves in the 19th century. She grew up learning firsthand about the legacy of slavery along with the beliefs of Santeria, a Yoruba-derived religion. Directly informed by the traditions, rituals, and practices of her ancestors, her work is deeply autobiographical. Often using herself and her Afro-Cuban relatives as subjects, she creates historical narratives that illuminate the spirit of people and places, past and present, and renders universal relevance from personal history and persona. Her imagery and performances recall dark narratives of the Middle Passage and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. They honor the labor of black bodies on indigo and sugar plantations, renew Catholic and Santeria religious practices, and celebrate revolutionary uprisings in the Americas. As she writes, “I…collect and tell stories of forgotten people in order to foster a dialogue to better understand and propose a poetic, compassionate reading of our time.”

Campos-Pons has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other distinguished institutions. She has participated in the Venice Biennale (twice), the Dakar Biennale, the Johannesburg Biennial, Documenta 14, the Guangzhou Triennial, three editions of the Havana Biennial, and the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and Prospect.4 Triennial. She has presented over 30 solo performances commissioned by institutions including the Guggenheim Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Every element that appears in María Magdalena Campos-Pons’ performance work is something that the artist herself has created. She designs her own costumes. She writes the texts that she or her collaborators will speak or chant. She fabricates the physical items that she will deploy and constructs the sonic features by which she will be accompanied. The power of her performances—unprecedented actions that immerse contemporary viewers in ancient practices and unremembered narratives—is derived precisely from her commitment to and investment in every aspect of her work.

Campos-Pons’ performances tend to unfold as processions. They are ritualistic spectacles that physically and spiritually embody the spaces in which they take place while asserting themselves outward and beyond the boundaries of those spaces. They are simultaneously immanent and transcendent. Operating within the museum institution, they kick open its doors and reinscribe within its halls identities that have been institutionally excluded, thereby transforming both the institution and the visitor. Incorporating incantations, religious rituals, and celebrations, Campos-Pons’ performances challenge viewers to participate by virtue of their presence while providing opportunities for all present to reflect, to call forth energies, and to heal.

In the late 1980s, Campos-Pons taught at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and gained an international reputation as an exponent of the New Cuban Art movement that arose in opposition to Communist repression on the island. In 1991, she immigrated to Boston and taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, where she received numerous prizes and honors for both her teaching and her artistic practice. In 2017, she was awarded the Vanderbilt Chair at Vanderbilt University and moved to Nashville, TN., where she currently resides.

Campos-Pons’ works are in over 30 museum collections, including the Smithsonian Institution; the Whitney; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery of Canada; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Perez Art Museum, Miami; and the Fogg Art Museum. (via Gallery Wendi Norris)

Nick CaveRead More

Nick Cave (b. 1959, Fulton, MO) is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body, initially created in direct response to the police beating of Rodney King in 1991. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment. They serve as a visual embodiment of social justice that represent both brutality and empowerment.

Throughout his practice, Cave has created spaces of memorial through combining found historical objects with contemporary dialogues on gun violence and death, underscoring the anxiety of severe trauma brought on by catastrophic loss. The figure remains central as Cave casts his own body in bronze, an extension of the performative work so critical to his oeuvre. Cave reminds us, however, that while there may be despair, there remains space for hope and renewal. From dismembered body parts stem delicate metal flowers, affirming the potential of new growth. Cave encourages a profound and compassionate analysis of violence and its effects as the path towards an ultimate metamorphosis. While Cave’s works are rooted in our current societal moment, when progress on issues of global warming, racism and gun violence (both at the hands of citizens and law enforcement) seem maddeningly stalled, he asks how we may reposition ourselves to recognize the issues, come together on a global scale, instigate change, and ultimately, heal. (via Jack Shainman Gallery)

Jon P. CherryRead More

Jon Cherry (he/him) is a widely published multi-specialty photographer whose work spans a wide range of photographic disciplines. His work has been described as deeply romantic, yet joyful.

Currently, Jon is committed to documenting the community uprising, the COVID-19 pandemic, and cultural occurrences in Louisville, Kentucky. He is dedicated to capturing moments that spark action without words and convey emotions that may be otherwise foreign to the viewer.

Jon has worked as a stringer for Getty Images, and has been published when shooting independently by TIME Magazine, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others.

Bethany CollinsRead More

Bethany Collins (b. 1984, Montgomery, Alabama; lives and works in Chicago, IL) is a multidisciplinary artist whose conceptually driven work is fueled by a critical exploration of how race and language interact. As Holland Cotter noted in The New York Times, “language itself, viewed as intrinsically racialized, is Bethany Collins’ primary material.” Her works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationwide, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Drawing Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. Collins has been recognized as an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the MacDowell Colony, the Bemis Center, and the Hyde Park Art Center among others. In 2015, she was awarded the Hudgens Prize. She received her MFA from Georgia State University, and her BA from the University of Alabama. (via gallery)

Theaster GatesRead More

Theaster Gates (b. 1973) lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates works that engage with space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” His work contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.

In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities on Chicago’s South Side. In 2016, at the request of Samaria Rice, Tamir Rice’s mother, Rebuild Foundation received the gazebo where Tamir was playing when he was killed. Ms. Rice sought to preserve the structure as a community space for care, dialogue, and public engagement. The gazebo, which had once been on display in a deconstructed state inside the Stony Island Arts Bank, now stands tall in a reflection garden on the Arts Bank lawn where it serves as a site and object of care.

Gates has exhibited and performed at Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur in 2017. In 2018, he was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture, and the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates received the 2020 Crystal Award for his leadership in creating sustainable communities.

Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, and is Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College. (via the artist)

Tyler GerthRead More

Tyler Gerth (b. 1992; d. 2020, Louisville, KY) was incredibly kind, warm-hearted and generous, holding deep convictions and faith. It was this sense of justice that drove Tyler to be part of the peaceful demonstrations advocating for the destruction of the systemic racism within our society. This, combined with his passion for photography led to a strong need within him to be there, documenting the movement, capturing and communicating the messages of peace, justice and change.

Tyler Gerth was a beloved son, cherished little brother, adored uncle and a trusted friend. A graduate of Trinity High School (2011) and the University of Kentucky (2016), Tyler was a lifelong learner and held many passions in addition to his corporate career in quality assurance with Papa John's. Tyler loved watching movies; listening to his vast and diverse record collection, traveling and exploring new places; learning about history through both genealogy research as well as biographies & documentaries; playing and watching a variety of sports; and spending time with family and friends. Tyler was creative, inquisitive, gentle, tenacious, and so very brave. He played the ukulele, had a thriving garden, loved to play with his nieces and nephews, constantly wore some sort of silly socks (tie-dye was his favorite) and is still missed terribly by his precious rescue dog Jordan.

Tyler desired a world in which the future generation could have equal and equitable access to rights and opportunities and he truly believed as he often quoted Sam Cooke, “change is gonna come”. We at Building Equal Bridges, The Tyler Gerth Memorial Foundation are determined to continue Tyler’s legacy of fighting social and racial injustice and are committed to seeing that change he gave his life advocating for. (via the artist's family)

Sam GilliamRead More

Sam Gilliam (b. 1933, Tupelo, MS) is one of the great innovators in postwar American painting. He emerged from the Washington, D.C. scene in the mid 1960s with works that elaborated upon and disrupted the ethos of Color School painting.

A series of formal breakthroughs would soon result in his canonical Drape paintings, which expanded upon the tenets of Abstract Expressionism in entirely new ways. Suspending stretcherless lengths of painted canvas from the walls or ceilings of exhibition spaces, Gilliam transformed his medium and the contexts in which it was viewed. As an African-American artist in the nation’s capital at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, this was not merely an aesthetic proposition; it was a way of defining art’s role in a society undergoing dramatic change. Gilliam has subsequently pursued a pioneering course in which experimentation has been the only constant. Inspired by the improvisatory ethos of jazz, his lyrical abstractions continue to take on an increasing variety of forms, moods, and materials.

In addition to a traveling retrospective organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in 2005, Sam Gilliam has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1982); Whitney Museum of American Art, Philip Morris Branch, New York (1993); J.B. Speed Memorial Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (1996); Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2011); and Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018), among many other institutions. A semi-permanent installation of Gilliam’s paintings will opened at Dia:Beacon in August 2019. His work is included in over fifty public collections, including those of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Washington, D.C. (via Pace)

Jon-Sesrie GoffRead More

Jon-Sesrie Goff (b. 1983, Hartford, CT) is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and arts administrator. With extensive experience in media and film production, Jon has offered his lens to a variety of projects spanning many genres including the recently released and award-winning documentaries, including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015), Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015) and Spit on the Broom (2019), among several other projects. He is in production for his feature-length documentary, After Sherman, which has received support from JustFilms, Firelight Media, International Documentary Association, Black Public Media, Jerome Foundation, Gucci/Tribeca Film Institute, and the Sundance Institute.

Previously, he has served as Executive Director of the Flaherty Film Seminar and the Museum Specialist for Film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture where he was responsible for developing the museum’s public film program. His personal practice has involved extensive institutional, community, and personal archival research, photo, and film documentation, and oral history interviews in the coastal South on the legacy of Black land ownership and Gullah Geechee heritage preservation. Jon engages with his work from the paradigm of a social change instigator. This is evidenced in his participation in the dimensionality of discourse in multicultural communities both within the United States and overseas. He has taught courses in photography, social justice documentary, and film production – at Duke University (Durham, NC), Villanova University (Villanova, PA), and Westchester University (Westchester, PA).

Jon has served on grant-making panels and juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, Open Society Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Black Star Film Festival, International Documentary Association, Oberhausen Seminar, and CinemAfrica Film Festival (Stockholm, Sweden) among others. He has an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. (via the artist)

Ed HamiltonRead More

Ed Hamilton (b. 1947, Cincinnati, Ohio) has created a body of work depicting some of the most well-known Americans throughout history, with a career spanning over 30 years. From Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King, historical figures to athletes, Hamilton's commissioned monuments, plaques and personal works tell the story of America and shows the rich diversity represented in our culture.

Classically trained, naturally talented and internationally recognized, Hamilton's passion for sculpture has given him the opportunity to share his love of art with the World.

Active in the Louisville community, Ed hastaught workshops, held lectures at public schools, colleges and conferences. He opens his studio for tours and is often called upon to judge art exhibits and has created opportunities for other artists to work and hone their crafts and skills in his studio space. Ed taught sculpture at Jefferson Community College, is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and a long time member of St. George’s Episcopal Church, he has served on various boards and panels for community arts organizations, the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky and the Louisville Fund for the Arts. Ed is a former member of the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Public Art and was previously appointed by the Governor to the Kentucky Military Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky and serves on the Executive board of the Thomas Clark Historical Center in Frankfort, Kentucky. (via artist's website)

Kerry James MarshallRead More

Through its formal acuity, Kerry James Marshall’s (b. 1955, Birmingham, AL) work reveals and questions the social constructs of beauty, taste, and power. As the artist has written, ‘I gave up on the idea of making Art a long time ago, because I wanted to know how to make paintings; but once I came to know that, reconsidering the question of what Art is returned as a critical issue.’1 Engaged in an ongoing dialogue with six centuries of representational painting, Marshall has deftly reinterpreted and updated its tropes, compositions, and styles, even pulling talismans from the canvases of his forbearers and recontextualizing them within a modern setting. At the center of his prodigious oeuvre, which also includes drawings and sculpture, is the critical recognition of the conditions of invisibility so long ascribed to black bodies in the Western pictorial tradition, and the creation of what he calls a ‘counter-archive’ that reinscribes these figures within its narrative arc.

Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his BFA from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1978, where he was later awarded an honorary doctorate in 1999. In 2014, Marshall joined David Zwirner. Kerry James Marshall: Look See, an exhibition of new paintings by the artist, marked his first gallery solo show at David Zwirner in London that same year. Kerry James Marshall: History of Painting, the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery, was on view in London in 2018.

Marshall has exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States since the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 2018, Kerry James Marshall: Collected Works was presented at the Rennie Museum in Vancouver and Kerry James Marshall: Works on Paper at The Cleveland Museum of Art. His site-specific outdoor sculpture A Monumental Journey was also permanently installed in Hansen Triangle Park in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. From 2016 to 2017, Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, the first major museum survey of the artist’s work, was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, followed by The Met Breuer, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2015, he created a large-scale mural specifically for the High Line, marking the artist’s first public commission in New York. In 2013, his work was the subject of a major survey entitled Kerry James Marshall: Painting and Other Stuff. The exhibition was first on view at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen in Antwerp. In 2014, it traveled to the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen and was co-hosted by two venues in Spain, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.

Other prominent institutions which have presented solo shows include the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2013); Secession, Vienna (2012); Vancouver Art Gallery (2010); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2009); and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2008). Previous traveling solo exhibitions include those organized by the Camden Arts Centre, London (2005), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2003), and The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1998).

Marshall received the 2019 W. E. B. Du Bois Medal, which is considered Harvard University's highest honor in the field of African and African American studies. In 2016, the artist was the recipient of the Rosenberger Medal given by The University of Chicago for outstanding achievement in the creative and performing arts. In 2014, he received the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, an award given annually by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. In 2013, he was one of seven new appointees named to President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Other prestigious awards include a 1997 grant from the MacArthur Foundation and a 1991 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Marshall lives and works in Chicago. (via David Zwirner)

Rashid JohnsonRead More

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977, Chicago, IL) is among an influential cadre of contemporary American artists whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history. After studying in the photography department of the Art Institute of Chicago, Johnson’s practice quickly expanded to embrace a wide range of media – including sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation ­– yielding a complex multidisciplinary practice that incorporates diverse materials rich with symbolism and personal history.

Johnson’s work is known for its narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects, often associated with his childhood and frequently referencing collective aspects of African American intellectual history and cultural identity. To date, Johnson has incorporated elements / materials / items as diverse as CB radios, shea butter, literature, record covers, gilded rocks, black soap and tropical plants. Many of Johnson’s works convey rhythms of the occult and mystic: evoking his desire to transform and expand each included object’s field of association in the process of reception. (via Hauser & Wirth)

Kahlil JosephRead More

Kahlil Joseph (b. 1981, Seattle, WA) earned his spurs early on working for the photographer Melodie McDaniel and the movie director Terrence Malick. Joseph creates films and video installations that disrupt linear narratives with a particular treatment of music, used both as a material and as a model of lyricism and complexity. Joseph’s practice scrambles the conventional approach to and understanding of video: his films quote the likes of Andrei Tarkovsky and Chris Marker and feature pop culture icons and underground heroes alike. Joseph’s current focus is the ongoing projectBLKNWS®, an artwork and functioning business established as a way to redefine how Black culture is experienced, viewed, and communicated.BLKNWS®starts from the postulate that anything can be “news” that is new to someone. Originally conceived as a television program, it presents an uninterrupted—though highly edited—stream of images focusing on African American life, including YouTube videos, amateur film footage, internet memes, Instagram stories, and actual news clips. The work operates through a network of highly skilled editors and fugitive journalists—constantly updating the stream—whom Joseph hires and supports, forming a sort ofBLKNWS®academy that reflects his interest in community-driven process. Joseph’s work withBLKNWS®was included inMay You Live in Interesting Timesat the 58th Venice Biennale (2019) and in the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, Geneva (2018). His short filmFly Paperdebuted as part of his 2017 solo exhibition at the New Museum, New York. Other exhibitions include those at Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands (2017); Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2016); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2015). Joseph currently serves as the creative director of the Underground Museum alongside his family, carrying out the vision of his brother, the late Noah Davis. (via the Hammer Museum)

Glenn LigonRead More

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960, Bronx, NY) received a BA from Wesleyan University in 1982. His early practice was grounded in painting, and his canvases of this period built upon the legacies of such Abstract Expressionist artists as Philip Guston, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns. In1984 – 1985, Ligon spent an academic year in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, developing a series of representational drawings of iconic sculptures by European artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Constantin Brâncuși, juxtaposed against images of African American hair products rendered in acrylic and ink.

This early deployment of objects as signifiers did not fully meet Ligon’s desire for expression: ‘I had a crisis of sorts when I realized there was too much of a gap between what I wanted to say and the means I had to say it with.’ Nevertheless, these works crystallized Ligon’s commitment to using signifiers within formalist procedures as a means to explore the complexities of deep cultural tensions.

Soon Ligon began incorporating text into his paintings, using the stenciled words that would become a hallmark of his oeuvre, in order to say more. Just as Guston returned to figuration after a long exploration in Abstract Expressionist painting as a response to the Vietnam War, Ligon pursued language as a means of commentary on the cultural milieu of the 1980s and ‘90s, and more specifically on African American identity within a turbulent landscape. Among key works from this period is ‘Untitled (I Am a Man)’ (1988), an oil and enamel painting derived from a black-and-white photograph by Ernest C. Withers, depicting black sanitation workers striking in Memphis and carrying identical signs printed with the text ‘I AM A MAN.’ These words still carry the force of a heavy assertion: a demand for visibility and humanity in response not only to the injustices thrust upon African Americans in the present time, but also to the history of slavery, the effects of which continue to permeate the entire American experience.

Ligon’s 1991 work ‘Untitled (I Am an Invisible Man)’ borrows lines from the 1955 Ralph Ellison novel ‘Invisible Man.’ Ligon strategically blends, muddles, and merges written words in oil stick and graphite, thereby juxtaposing presence and absence, comprehension and illegibility; by claiming these words in a new context, he points to the possibility of how meaning can slip or evolve. Works such as ‘Untitled (I Feel Most Colored When I Am thrown Against a Sharp White Background)’ (1990), which draws text from Zora Neale Hurston’s 1928 essay ‘How It Feels to Be Colored Me,’ or ‘Untitled (There is a consciousness we all have…)’ (1988), in which Ligon uses a comment made in the New York Times about African American artist Martin Puryear, engage not only the language itself but the visual expression of that language to comment on the subject matter. Painted language becomes the construct of the self, and the stencil is a mechanism of reconstruction, with both pop and expressionist qualities, allowing for a complication of Ligon’s address. In the moments of blurred illegibility, Ligon alludes to the systemic exclusion and erasure of African Americans – including the ways in which black artists have been situated in the margins of canonical art history.

Over the past two and a half decades, Ligon has expanded his practice radically to incorporate new media and structures in large-scale installations, prints, photographs, and sculptures. While sweepingly broad in style and composition, these works engage not only with text-based resources but found images, reworked by the artist in order to amplify the conversation: from the re-appropriation of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs of black male nudes, to silkscreen paintings from the Nation of Islam’s Million Man March in Washington D.C., to his seminal ‘Untitled’ (2008), a neon work that spells out the word ‘AMERICA.’ Expressed through this broader range of mediums, Ligon’s engagement with words takes on greater physicality. In ‘Self- Portrait Exaggerating My Black Features and Self-Portrait Exaggerating My White Features’ (1998), Ligon riffs upon Adrian Piper’s seminal work ‘Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features’ (1981) to address the complexities in our perceptions of race using two towering images made from the exact same silkscreen, with the title of the work printed clearly at the bottom of each image. The artist appears here in a rare instance of self-portraiture, provoking questions about the gaze and racist stereotyping.

In 2004, Ligon wrote a major essay for Artforum titled ‘Black Light: David Hammons and the Poetics of Emptiness.’ Shortly after, inspired by the notion of working with light, he presented his first neon relief: ‘Warm Broad Glow’ (2005) outlining the words ‘negro sunshine’ in neon letters. Ligon has continued to question the relationship between light and dark in his work, most recently using neon in the handwriting of his friends and colleagues in a work titled ‘Some Black Parisians’ (2019), included in the exhibition ‘Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse’ at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. This sculptural work displays the names of black models whose identities are the focus of the exhibition. While centering and celebrating the individuals whose likenesses are rendered in these works, Ligon also uses the phrase ‘nom inconnu’ (name unknown) to remind viewers that many of these subjects still remain lost to history.

Ligon engages the state of the world – and urges us to do the same – by posing questions rather than proposing answers. His art demonstrates the ways in which a given subject has permeated culture over time, magnetizing our attention to the mutability of images and our perceptions of them. His questions concern not only the identity of his subject; he interrogates the viewer, the history, the institution, and the cultural context by rendering a portrait of America as a concept, a place, and a nation.

The artist’s important recent exhibitions include ‘Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions,’ a curatorial project organized with Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Liverpool (2015), and ‘Blue Black,’ an exhibition curated by the artist at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis (2017). A retrospective of Ligon’s work, ‘Glenn Ligon: America,’ organized by Scott Rothkopf, opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in March 2011 and traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2011) and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2012).

Ligon’s work has been included in major international exhibitions such as the Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (1997, 2015); Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2014); Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey (2011); Documenta XI, Kassel, Germany (2002); Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2000); and the Whitney Biennial, New York NY (1991, 1993). He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1997), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2003), the Skowhegan Medal for Painting (2006), and the Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize (2009). (via Hauser & Wirth)

Amy SheraldRead More

Amy Sherald (b. 1973, Columbus, GA; lives and works in Baltimore MD) documents contemporary African-American experience in the United States through arresting, otherworldly portraits. Sherald subverts the medium of portraiture to tease out unexpected narratives, inviting viewers to engage in a more complex debate about accepted notions of race and representation, and to situate black heritage centrally in the story of American art.

Among her influences, Sherald has cited photographs that W.E.B. Du Bois compiled to be displayed at the Paris Exposition in 1900, depicting African-American men, women, and children in ways that countered discriminatory representations of the day. In particular, Sherald is drawn to the way in which African-American family photographs served as intimate, personal portraits, during a time when only white individuals or groups were being iconized in paintings.

While her subjects are always African-American, Sherald renders their skin-tone exclusively in grisaille – an absence of color that directly challenges perceptions of black identity.’ Sherald offsets this against a vibrant palette: eye-popping clothes and ephemera float in tension against abstracted backgrounds. The depth created by the pastel backgrounds are not confined to any specific time or space, but seem to exist beyond the facts of recorded history and national borders.

She defines the subjects of her portraits simply as ephemera float in tension against abstracted background to American identity. The individuals in her paintings are deliberately posed, dramatically staged, and assertive in gaze. Their expressiveness, and the variations in their gestures, clothing, and emotional auras reinforce the complex multiplicities of African-American existence. But the persistent sense of privacy and mystery maintained in Sherald’s work requires viewers to ponder the thoughts and dreams of the black men and women she has depicted.

Sherald was the first woman and first African-American ever to receive first prize in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; in February 2018, the museum unveiled her portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Sherald has also received the 2018 David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta GA. Alongside her painterly practice, Sherald has worked for almost two decades along-side socially committed creative initiatives, including teaching art in prisons and art projects with teenagers. (via Hauser & Wirth)

Lorna SimpsonRead More

Lorna Simpson (b. 1960, Brooklyn, NY) came to prominence in the 1980s with her pioneering approach to conceptual photography. Simpson’s early work – particularly her striking juxtapositions of text and staged images – raised questions about the nature of representation, identity, gender, race and history that continue to drive the artist’s expanding and multi-disciplinary practice today. She deftly explores the medium’s umbilical relation to memory and history, both central themes within her work.

Studying on the West Coast in the mid-1980s, Simpson was part of a generation of artists who utilized conceptual approaches to undermine the credibility and apparent neutrality of language and images. Her most iconic works from this period depict African-American figures as seen only from behind or in fragments. Photographed in a neutral studio space, the figures are tied neither to a specific place nor time. Drawing upon a long-standing interest in poetry and literature, the artist accompanies these images with her own fragmented text, which is at times infused with the suggestion of violence or trauma. The incredibly powerful works entangle viewers into an equivocal web of meaning, with what is unseen and left unsaid as important as that which the artist does disclose. Seemingly straightforward, these works are in fact near-enigmas, as complex as the subject matter they take on.

Over the past 30 years, Simpson has continued to probe these questions while expanding her practice to encompass various media including film and video, painting, drawing and sculpture. Her recent works incorporate appropriated imagery from vintage Jet and Ebony magazines, found photo booth images, and discarded Associated Press photos of natural elements – particularly ice, a motif that appears in her sculptural work in the form of glistening ‘ice’ blocks made of glass. The new work continues to immerse viewers in layers of bewitching paradoxes, threading dichotomies of figuration and abstraction, past and present, destruction and creation, and male and female. Layered and multivalent, Simpson’s practice deploys metaphor, metonymy, and formal prowess to offer a potent response to American life today. (via Hauser & Wirth)

Nari WardRead More

Nari Ward (b. 1963, St. Andrew, Jamaica; lives and works in New York) is known for his sculptural installations composed of discarded material found and collected in his neighborhood. He has repurposed objects such as baby strollers, shopping carts, bottles, doors, television sets, cash registers and shoelaces, among other materials. Ward re-contextualizes these found objects in thought- provoking juxtapositions that create complex, metaphorical meanings to confront social and political issues surrounding race, poverty, and consumer culture. He intentionally leaves the meaning of his work open, allowing the viewer to provide his or her own interpretation.

One of his most iconic works, Amazing Grace, was produced as part of his 1993 residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem in response to the AIDS crisis and drug epidemic of the early 1990s. For this large-scale installation, Ward gathered more than 365 discarded baby strollers—commonly used by the homeless population in Harlem to transport their belongings—which he bound with twisted fire hoses in an abandoned fire station in Harlem. Echoing through the space was an audio recording of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson’s Amazing Grace on repeat. The lyrics speak about redemption and change, generating optimism and a sense of hope. As with most of his work, this installation explored themes informed by the materials, community, and location in which Ward was working. The work has since been recreated at the New Museum Studio in 2019, the New Museum’s Studio 231 series in 2013, and in several locations across Europe. With each change of context, the significance of the work changes as each community associates differently with these found objects.

Nari Ward received a BA from City University of New York, Hunter College in 1989, and an MFA from City University of New York, Brooklyn College in 1992. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX (2019); New Museum, New York (2019); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2017); Socrates Sculpture Park, New York (2017); The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia (2016); Pérez Art Museum Miami (2015); Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2015); Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Baton Rouge, LA (2014); The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2011); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA (2011); Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2002); and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2001, 2000). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Objects Like Us, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (forthcoming, 2018-2019); UPTOWN: nastywomen/badhombres, El Museo del Barrio, New York (2017); Black: Color, Material, Concept, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2015); The Great Mother, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Palazzo Reale, Milan (2015); The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015); NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum, New York (2013); Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Rotunda, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); the Whitney Biennial, New York (2006); Landings, Documenta XI, Kassel, Germany (2002); Passages: Contemporary Art in Transition, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Projects: How to Build and Maintain the Virgin Fertility of Our Soul, MoMA PS1, Long Island City; The Listening Sky, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Whitney Biennial, New York (1995); and Cardinal Points of the Arts, 45th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.

Ward’s work is in numerous international public and private collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; the Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; GAM, Galleria Civica di arte, Torino, Italy; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; National Gallery of Victoria, Southbank, Australia; the New York Public Library, New York, NY; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Ward has received numerous honors and distinctions including the Fellowship Award, The United States Artists, Chicago (2020); Vilcek Prize in Fine Arts, Vilcek Foundation, New York (2017); the Joyce Award, The Joyce Foundation, Chicago (2015), the Rome Prize, American Academy of Rome (2012), and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1998), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1996); and the National Endowment for the Arts (1994). Ward has also received commissions from the United Nations and the World Health Organization. (via Lehmann Maupin)

Hank Willis ThomasRead More

Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, Plainfield, NJ; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.

His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Solo exhibitions of his work have been featured at Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, AR; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and the African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA, among others.

Major group exhibitions of his work include the 2017 inaugural show at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Zacheta National Museum of Art, Poland; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, and the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Orange County, CA.

Thomas’ work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), The Writing on the Wall, and For Freedoms. In 2017, For Freedoms was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), The Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), Aperture West Book Prize (2008), Renew Media Arts Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (2007), and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Award (2006).

Thomas holds a B.F.A. from New York University, New York, NY (1998) and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). He received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, ME in 2017.

In 2019, Thomas unveiled his permanent work "Unity" in Brooklyn, NY. In 2017, “Love Over Rules” permanent neon was unveiled in San Francisco, CA and “All Power to All People” in Opa Locka, FL. (via the artist)

Alisha WormsleyRead More

Alisha B. Wormsley (b. 1978, Pittsburgh, PA) is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer. Her work is about collective memory and the synchronicity of time, specifically through the stories of women of color, more specifically Black Women in America. Wormsley is an artist who has worked in communities around the world, helping to develop artistic ideas, celebrate identities, and organize public art initiatives for national and international audiences. Wormsley’s work has received a number of awards and grants to support programs namely the Children of NAN film series and archive, and There Are Black People In The Future. Her work has exhibited globally. Over the last few years, Wormsley has designed several public art initiatives including Streaming Space, a 24-foot pyramid with video and sound installed in Pittsburgh's downtown Market Square, and AWxAW, a multimedia interactive installation and film commission at the Andy Warhol Museum. Wormsley created a public program out of her work, "There Are Black People In the Future", which gives mini-grants to open up discourse around displacement and gentrification and was also awarded a fellowship with Monument Lab and the Goethe Institute. In 2020, Wormsley launched an art residency for Black creative mothers called Sibyls Shrine, which has received two years of support from the Heinz Endowments. Wormsley has an MFA in Film and Video from Bard College and currently is a Presidential Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University to research and create work rooted in matriarchal leadership and mysticism in the African-American community. (via artist website)

T.A. YeroRead More

T.A. Yero is a professional photographer based in Louisville, Kentucky. Yero and her husband Aron own and operate Two Hearts Media—offering portraits, headshots, family photos, weddings and food & product photography.

About the Curator

About the Curator

Allison M. Glenn is an Associate Curator, Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Glenn works across the contemporary program at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, a new contemporary art space and satellite of Crystal Bridges. Since joining Crystal Bridges in 2018, she has worked with artists at all stages of their careers around themes of history, temporality, language, site, and identity.

About the Curator

In her role, Glenn also shapes how outdoor sculpture activates and engages the museum’s 120-acre campus. She is currently working with Rashid Johnson to create a new, site-specific outdoor sculpture for Crystal Bridges North Forest (2021) that will be activated with an ongoing series of performances. Connecting the impact that color has on perception and the body Glenn organized Color Field (2019), an outdoor sculpture exhibition that activated a contemporary gallery and the lush North Forest. Featuring fourteen sculptures by eleven contemporary artists, including Sarah Braman, Sam Falls, Odili Donald Odita, and Jessica Stockholder, Color Field debuted at Crystal Bridges and traveled to Artis-Naples, the Baker Museum (2020) and University of Houston (2020-2021). She is also curator on the Convergence, a Design Excellence collaboration between Crystal Bridges and The Scott Family Amazeum that will develop an interactive and multi-generational outdoor gathering space.

Glenn was a member of the curatorial team for State of the Art 2020, which opened simultaneously at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary. She spearheaded the adaptation of Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… (2020) at Crystal Bridges, and has produced collection focus exhibitions within the galleries.

Glenn has over a decade of experience in the field. Prior to working at Crystal Bridges, she was the Manager of Publications and Curatorial Associate for Prospect New Orleans’ international art triennial Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Her writing has been featured in numerous exhibition publications, including those produced by Crystal Bridges Museum, Princeton Architectural Press, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Kemper Museum of Art, Prospect New Orleans, DePaul Art Museum, Rebuild Foundation, the California African American Museum, University at Buffalo Art Galleries, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. She has contributed to Hyperallergic, ART21 Magazine, ART PAPERS, Pelican Bomb’s Art Review, and Newcity.

Glenn is a member of Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Public Art Consortium Collaboration Committee, and sits on the Board of Directors for ARCAthens, a curatorial and artist residency program based in Athens, Greece. She received dual master’s degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy, and a Bachelor of Fine Art Photography with a co-major in Urban Studies from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Steering Committee

Toya Northington

Toya Northington

Founder and Leader, Local Steering Committee

Toya Northington graduated with a Fine Art degree from Georgia State University and also holds a MSc in Social Work from the University of Louisville. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Georgia and Kentucky, and has recently been involved in a number of public art projects in Louisville. Working in mixed media and across disciplines, Toya speaks of her work as pushing back at societal expectations, as an act of resistance. As a feminist and social activist she states, “my work is an acknowledgment of traumas too often experienced by women and a means to foster healing and resilience from them.” Toya is the recipient of Art Meets Activism, Artist Enrichment, and The Special grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. In 2012 she founded artThrust a youth, art-based, mental health and social justice organization that empowers youth through art. She is currently the Community Engagement Strategist at the Speed Art Museum.

Research Committee

Dr. Maruice N. GattisRead More

Dr. Maurice N. Gattis is an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work and co-founder of Sweet Evening Breeze, Inc. located in Louisville, KY. Dr. Gattis has conducted research regarding LGBTQ+ youth of color experiencing homelessness in the United States and Canada. One of his research collaborations in Louisville resulted in the creation of www.embracethejourneylou.org.

*Research liaison on the Steering Committee

Dr. Lesley HarrisRead More

Dr. Lesley Harris has expertise is qualitative methodology, including Photovoice, Grounded Theory and Ethnography. She is an investigator on five socially engaged research projects using artistically inspired methods in Louisville and abroad. The titles of these projects are Our World Our Say (Photovoice), HIV Monologue Project (Performing Art), See Me (Photovoice), Project STAAR (Photovoice), and It Could Have Been Me (Photovoice). The visual art derived from her research has been featured in art-advocacy exhibitions in South Korea, Vietnam, Arizona, and Louisville.

Dr. Jelani KerrRead More

Dr. Jelani Kerr is an Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville. His work involves investigating factors that lead to higher HIV rates in African American communities. He also researches the impact of inequities in the criminal justice system and how this impacts health. His work extends beyond measuring health challenges to reducing them through multidisciplinary collaborations with various community-based organizations.

Dr. Emma Sterett HongRead More

Dr. Emma Sterrett-Hong is the Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion in the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. Her research focuses on the impact of interpersonal relationships on the well-being of underserved youth, as well as the dissemination of evidence-based psychosocial practices. In addition, she is a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Research Team

Stephanie Henry, BSW

Research Assistant

Gaberiel Jones, Jr., PhD, MPH

Photovoice facilitator

Sirene Martin

Photovoice facilitator

Celes Smith, MSSW, LCSW

Photovoice facilitator

Speed Community Engagement Steering Committee

Bianca AustinRead More

My Name is Bianca Austin. I am the aunt of Breonna Taylor. I am passionate about fighting against police brutality and pushing for social equality in efforts to seek justice for my niece Breonna. I joined the steering committee to enlighten people on what a beautiful person Breonna Taylor was. I also joined to provide ongoing strategic direction for the initiative.

Tawana BainRead More

As CEO at TBAIN & Co, Tawana Bain is a leading marketing strategist and visionary with a niche in streamlining their diverse portfolio of services. In addition, Bain is the Founder of the Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative, a Black founded and predominantly Black-led, a non-profit focused on building economic wealth for the black community. Aside from Bain's philanthropic and social justice work, she is also the proud owner of Today’s Woman Magazine, Black Jockeys Lounge, and AFM Threads.

Ashley CatheyRead More

Ashley Cathey multidisciplinary social change artist, curator, muralist and CEO. Her large, oil and acrylic portraits hope centralize the experiences of black bodies during and after the African Diaspora. Cathey’s self-taught artistry started to emerge ideas of feminism through the lens of women of color; who have influenced her through the art of music, literature, and spoken word. These influences allowed her to display her emotions on canvas and in public spaces. Her vibrant artistic style defies convention and seeks to comment on the misrepresentation or under-representation of her subject matter.

Cathey’s work has gained local and global recognition from the supporters of her movement. Recently, she curated the exhibit “Black Before I was Born: a meditation on identity”to speak on the lack of representation in the world of fine arts. She believes art is activism and often uses her pieces to bring a voice to social issues. Cathey’s progression has also lead her to create opportunities for other emerging artist through her arts organization. Cathey is the Founder and CEO of The Healing Walls Project an arts organization revolutionizing the way we create public art, focusing on the amplification and healing of BIPOC artist through the creation of public art in their communities around the USA. Healing Walls Project was created and is run by a radical collective of fem artist and BIPOC art advocates. The Healing Walls Project is currently creating and healing in St. Louis, MO and is starting their Louisville, KY Mural Cycle in May 2021.

Tiffany Farmer, LMFTRead More

Tiffany Farmer works with multiple populations, but specializes in working with adults who experience patterns of relationship difficulties. Of particular interest is adult attachment and childhood trauma and their effects on relationship stability. Tiffany owns a group private practice, Best Life Mental Health Services, which focuses on inclusive and accessible services for all, especially historically marginalized populations. Tiffany is also the Interim Clinical Director for the Couples and Family Therapy Program with the University of Louisville. She has been involved with Therapists for Protestor Wellness, activism in the community, and sits on the Kent School Alumni Council.

Nicole HaydenRead More

Speed Community Engagement Steering Committee, activist, and Founder & President of Friends of Nicole Mentoring Collaborative Inc.

Nicole Hayden is the Founder & President of Friends of Nicole 50/50 Mentoring Collaborative Inc. An accomplished teacher, motivational speaker, activist, and entrepreneur. Nicole has always kept Louisville at the center of her heart and was heartbroken by the murder of Breonna Taylor and subsequent mishandling of her case by local and state authorities. Nicole committed herself to protests & organizing throughout the Spring and Summer of 2020, collaborating with National Social Justice Organization Until Freedom and countless other organizations as a community liaison. This work saw Nicole labor tirelessly with many others and connecting protestors and organizers with community resources by leveraging her relationships both locally and nationally.

Keturah J. HerronRead More

Keturah J. Herron (she/they) is a policy strategist at the ACLU of Kentucky, an activist and social justice advocate with over 15 years of experience working with youth and families involved in social service and the criminal justice systems. Herron was instrumental in leading the charge in Louisville, Kentucky working alongside Metro Council members to institute Breonna’s Law—effectively banning no-knock warrants within the city after the tragic death of Breonna Taylor. As an emerging and courageous thought leader, Herron is dedicated to the liberation of Black people and reimaging what our communities look like for all Black Kentuckians. Herron graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Masters in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies.

Lance G. Newman IIRead More

Founding Director of SpreadLovEnterprise(c)2013. SpreadLove.life

Lopa MehrotraRead More

Social Entrepreneur

Lopa is a social entrepreneur who has worked on three continents to unlock the potential of individuals and communities through education, technology, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. She currently serves as a Trustee to the Speed Museum, James Graham Brown Foundation, and Community Foundation of Louisville. Lopa fell in love with her first painting at the age of 10, and she is honored to support greater access to and equity in the visual arts.

Sharlis N. MontgomeryRead More

A native of Lexington, KY, and a graduate of EKU, Sharlis has called Louisville home for eight years. While living in Louisville, Sharlis has become acquainted with social and service organizations to continue fighting for social justice. Sharlis has a strong background in organizational and leadership efforts. In her current role at Hogan Lovells LLP, as a Senior Learning and Development Coordinator, she is responsible for program management and operational support for Business Services and lawyer learning. She is also the Community Engagement Manager at ANWA Louisville and serves as VP of Operations LULYP. "I am everything you didn't realize you needed. I adapt and adjust, handling things in ways that will make you wonder how you managed without me and commit to never doing without again. I specialize in solutions. I offer no complaint without correction, and my goal is to improve outcomes".

Milly MartinRead More

Milly Martin is a political activist and humanitarian from Louisville, KY. Although she has organized around issues related to the neighborhood safety and police contracts, she is best known as a protestor in the Breonna Taylor Movement.

Ramona Dallum LindseyRead More

Ramona Dallum Lindsey is a Senior Program Officer for the Community Foundation of Louisville’s projects strengthening leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs as well as responding to community needs. As a visual artist, Ramona’s artistic practice and background equip her to think outside traditional processes to develop, implement and manage Foundation programs.

Ju'Niyah PalmerRead More

I joined the committee to bring awareness for my sister! Also because I love to see a community come together to help each other.

Mark PenceRead More

Mark Pence is a licensed barber and community advocate born in Louisville, KY. Lives/works Louisville/New York.

Mark Pence’s work addresses the need for effective black male leadership and positive examples of black youth excellence in the black community, while also creating opportunities and building economic foundation.

Mark Pence founded Gloves Not Guns Kentucky in 2018. Its mission is to create positive outlets and teach healthy non-violent coping methods to at risk children of color in high crime neighborhoods.

Dr. Brandy Kelly PryorRead More

A strategist and hope scholar, Dr. Brandy Kelly Pryor works at the intersection of health, hope, and equity. Currently she works in philanthropy strategizing participatory design approaches and often draws from her experience as the former director of the Center for Health Equity. You can find her posting on IG daily @equityABCs

Michael Wade Smith, EdD, MBARead More

Chief of Staff & External Affairs, University of Louisville
Trustee, Speed Art Museum

As Chief of Staff and External Affairs at the University of Louisville, Michael Wade provides executive leadership across units to drive UofL closer to its vision to be an even greater place to learn, work and invest. He provides strategic direction, leadership and oversight of the people, projects, and operations of the Office of the President and serves as the senior external affairs administrator for the University of Louisville overseeing the Offices of Communications & Marketing and Government Relations. He is an experienced higher education administrator with a demonstrated history of success in organizational development and behavior, marketing and communications, strategy, and administration at large comprehensive research universities.

Linda SarsourRead More

Linda Sarsour is the co-founder of Until Freedom alongside Tamika D. Mallory, Mysonne Linen and Angelo Pinto. Until Freedom is an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. At the request of the family, Until Freedom has played an integral part in the fight for justice for Breonna Taylor. They have organized major community service events across the West End and strategic direct actions garnering national media attention for Breonna’s case.

Antonio TaylorRead More

Antonio M. Taylor is a JCPS employee and Co-Owner of Wave FM Online a Black Owned Multi-Media Platform. He is also the co-founder of the Non-Profit Organization HHN2L, Inc. which mentors inner city youth.

Stacey WadeRead More

CEO/Executive Creative Director

Stacey Wade is the founder of NIMBUS, a fiercely independent strategic marketing and communications agency focused on the ideology of creating great work that is inclusive of today’s multicultural marketplace.

By unifying and balancing creative energy with strategic thinking, Stacey and his team consistently deliver meaningful outcomes through fully-integrated communications strategies, experiential marketing platforms, and innovative brand design.

While you can see Stacey’s style and personality reflected in each project, NIMBUS’s approach is far from “cookie-cutter” and never “one size fits all.” The NIMBUS team has dramatically helped brands pinpoint strategic brand opportunities by tapping into data and macro level cultural insights to create authentic connections in today’s complex and multicultural marketplace.

Clients Stacey has worked with over the past 20+ years include leading brands such as Toyota, Vivendi (Universal Music Group), MTV Networks, Papa John’s, Brown-Forman, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and Swisher International, Inc.

Stacey serves on several boards including The Speed Art Museum, Leadership Louisville, and The Louisville Zoo.

Specialized Committees

Mental Health

Steven D. Kniffley Jr., PsyD MPA ABPRead More

Steven D. Kniffley Jr., PsyD MPA ABPP is Spalding University’s Chief Diversity Officer and an Assistant Professor in Spalding University’s School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Kniffley's area of expertise is research and clinical work with Black males and the treatment of race based stress and trauma. Dr. Kniffley also serves as an organizational diversity consultant and works with law enforcement departments on addressing conflicts between communities of color and police officers. Dr. Kniffley has written numerous books, book chapters, and articles on Black male mental health, Black males and the criminal justice system, and academic achievement. Additionally, Dr. Kniffley was recently selected as one of Louisville’s top 40 under 40 for 2020 as well as a recipient of the 2020 MediStar Healthcare Advocacy Award.

SteVon EdwardsRead More

SteVon Edwards, Owner and Principal, Schenault Solutions, LLC. SteVon has 15+ years of proven experience in the public health and NGO sectors, ranging from volunteer to administrator. Through her consulting firm, Schenault Solutions, she guides teams along pathways that fulfill their mission and vision, improve internal infrastructure, identify work across sectors, and implement equitable practices to achieve true impact. Born and raised in Louisville, KY, she works to improve her hometown through each project and with each connection that she makes.

Strategic Planning

William CordovaRead More

William Cordova is an interdisciplinary cultural practitioner born in Lima, Peru. Lives/works Lima/Miami/New York City.

Cordova’s work addresses the metaphysics of space and time and how objects change and perception changes when we move around in space.

BFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA, Yale University.

William Cordova founded the AIM BIENNIAL in Miami, Co-curates the Prism African Diaspora Art Fair and is co-organizer of the Greenwood Art Project as part of the 2021 Greenwood Centennial.

National Advisory Panel

Mecca Brooks
Mecca Brooks
Arts Strategist

Mecca Brooks is a cultural producer and arts strategist committed to driving connectedness in collaborative spaces. She specializes in community partnerships, urban ecology and project management to provide a platform for awakened and transformative being. She is currently a team member at Hank Willis Thomas Studios. Previous roles and affiliations include Associate Consultant at TCC Group; Creative Consultants with Revival Arts Collective, Associate Director of ArtUP/School Partnerships at the Center for Community Partnerships/Columbia College Chicago, Lea Farmer at Bronzeville Rooftop Farm.

Theaster Gates
Theaster Gates
Artist and Founder and Executive Director of Rebuild Foundation

Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. Gates creates works that engage with space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art world capital, Gates creates work that focuses on the possibility of the “life within things.” His work contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise – one defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist.

In 2010, Gates created the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation that supports artists and strengthens communities through free arts programming and innovative cultural amenities on Chicago’s South Side. In 2016, at the request of Samaria Rice, Tamir Rice’s mother, Rebuild Foundation received the gazebo where Tamir was playing when he was killed. Ms. Rice sought to preserve the structure as a community space for care, dialogue, and public engagement. The gazebo, which had once been on display in a deconstructed state inside the Stony Island Arts Bank, now stands tall in a reflection garden on the Arts Bank lawn where it serves as a site and object of care.

Gates has exhibited and performed at Tate Liverpool, UK (2020); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020); Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2019); Palais de Tokyo Paris, France (2019); Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur in 2017. In 2018, he was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture, and the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates received the 2020 Crystal Award for his leadership in creating sustainable communities.

Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the Harris School of Public Policy, and is Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College.

Jon-Sesrie Goff
Jon-Sesrie Goff
Multidisciplinary Filmmaker, Curator, and Arts Administrator

Jon-Sesrie Goff is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and arts administrator. With extensive experience in media and film production, Jon has offered his lens to a variety of projects spanning many genres including the recently released and award-winning documentaries, including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015), Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015) and Spit on the Broom (2019), among several other projects. He is in production for his feature-length documentary, After Sherman, which has received support from JustFilms, Firelight Media, International Documentary Association, Black Public Media, Jerome Foundation, Gucci/Tribeca Film Institute, and the Sundance Institute.

Previously, he has served as Executive Director of the Flaherty Film Seminar and the Museum Specialist for Film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture where he was responsible for developing the museum’s public film program. His personal practice has involved extensive institutional, community, and personal archival research, photo, and film documentation, and oral history interviews in the coastal South on the legacy of Black land ownership and Gullah Geechee heritage preservation. Jon engages with his work from the paradigm of a social change instigator. This is evidenced in his participation in the dimensionality of discourse in multicultural communities both within the United States and overseas. He has taught courses in photography, social justice documentary, and film production – at Duke University (Durham, NC), Villanova University (Villanova, PA), and Westchester University (Westchester, PA).

Jon has served on grant-making panels and juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, Open Society Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Black Star Film Festival, International Documentary Association, Oberhausen Seminar, and CinemAfrica Film Festival (Stockholm, Sweden) among others. He has an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University.

Raymond Green
Raymond Green
Retired Military Officer and Cousin of Alton Sterling

Raymond Green was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and currently works and resides in Rogers, AR. He is a results driven leader who specializes in organizational leadership during peacetime and combat as a retired Army Officer.

Ray graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management (2007) then pursued his Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology (2012). In 2019, he was a Guest Lecturer in the Department of Marketing at Clemson University. Green has over eleven years of military service and leadership in combat and non-combat arenas. As an Army officer Green led a platoon in Mosul, Iraq with a core mission of route clearance. He then deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan where he served as a Company Executive Officer. After completion of his tour he served on the battalion staff as the Operations Officer.

Ray is currently retired from the Army and is Senior Account Executive for Procter and Gamble. He has two beautiful children, Ryan and Mia. He spends most of his time chasing them around. When not enjoying family time, Ray can be found on the lake, playing golf, or riding Harleys.

Le Keisha Leek
Le Keisha Leek
Artist Advocate and Cousin of Trayvon Martin

La Keisha Leek is an artist advocate based in Chicago. In 2019 Leek created L'Louise Arts to support the growth of early career Chicago- based artists and arts workers of color by providing thought partnership and economic resources.

She has worked with artists and nonprofit organizations in Chicago and New York including Project&, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Theaster Gates Studio.

Her publication How to Make A Hood (Candor Arts, 2015) is a meditation on the misconceptions of Black bodies and their environment, and lives as an extension of her 2014 exhibition of the same title. The publication has been acquired by special collections including The Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University; Houghton Library, Harvard University, The New York Public Library and others.

Currently La Keisha serves as Grants Management Administrator at the MacArthur Foundation and is a founding member of the Candor Collective. She received her undergraduate degree in Art History from Columbia College Chicago.

Amy Sherald
Amy Sherald
Painter

Born in 1973 in Columbus, GA, and now based in Baltimore MD, Amy Sherald documents contemporary African-American experience in the United States through arresting, otherworldly portraits. Sherald subverts the medium of portraiture to tease out unexpected narratives, inviting viewers to engage in a more complex debate about accepted notions of race and representation, and to situate black heritage centrally in the story of American art.

Among her influences, Sherald has cited photographs that W.E.B. Du Bois compiled to be displayed at the Paris Exposition in 1900, depicting African-American men, women, and children in ways that countered discriminatory representations of the day. In particular, Sherald is drawn to the way in which African-American family photographs served as intimate, personal portraits, during a time when only white individuals or groups were being iconized in paintings.

While her subjects are always African-American, Sherald renders their skin-tone exclusively in grisaille – an absence of color that directly challenges perceptions of black identity.’ Sherald offsets this against a vibrant palette: eye-popping clothes and ephemera float in tension against abstracted backgrounds. The depth created by the pastel backgrounds are not confined to any specific time or space, but seem to exist beyond the facts of recorded history and national borders.

She defines the subjects of her portraits simply as ephemera float in tension against abstracted background to American identity. The individuals in her paintings are deliberately posed, dramatically staged, and assertive in gaze. Their expressiveness, and the variations in their gestures, clothing, and emotional auras reinforce the complex multiplicities of African-American existence. But the persistent sense of privacy and mystery maintained in Sherald’s work requires viewers to ponder the thoughts and dreams of the black men and women she has depicted.

Sherald was the first woman and first African-American ever to receive first prize in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; in February 2018, the museum unveiled her portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Sherald has also received the 2018 David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta GA. Alongside her painterly practice, Sherald has worked for almost two decades along-side socially committed creative initiatives, including teaching art in prisons and art projects with teenagers.

Hank Willis Thomas
Hank Willis Thomas
Multidisciplinary Artist, Co-founder of The Wide Awakes and For Freedoms

Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976, Plainfield, NJ; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.

His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the International Center of Photography, New York; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands.

Solo exhibitions of his work have been featured at Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, AR; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, and the African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA, among others.

Major group exhibitions of his work include the 2017 inaugural show at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Zacheta National Museum of Art, Poland; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, and the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Orange County, CA.

Thomas’ work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), The Writing on the Wall, and For Freedoms. In 2017, For Freedoms was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), The Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), Aperture West Book Prize (2008), Renew Media Arts Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (2007), and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Award (2006).

Thomas holds a B.F.A. from New York University, New York, NY (1998) and an M.A./M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). He received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Portland, ME in 2017.

In 2019, Thomas unveiled his permanent work "Unity" in Brooklyn, NY. In 2017, “Love Over Rules” permanent neon was unveiled in San Francisco, CA and “All Power to All People” in Opa Locka, FL.

Allison K. Young
Allison K. Young
Art Historian

Dr. Allison K. Young is Assistant Professor of Art History at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. A specialist in postcolonial and contemporary art of the Global South, she received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 2017. Young’s research primarily centers African and African-Diasporic artists and art histories, with focus on twentieth century South African art, British art and visual culture, and questions surrounding migration, transnationalism and social justice in contemporary art.

Before joining LSU, Young was Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow for Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, where she curated and published an exhibition catalogue for Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred (2018), in addition to working on projects such as Torkwase Dyson: Black Compositional Thought | 15 Paintings for the Plantationocene (2020), Bodies of Knowledge (2019) and Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (2018). She was the recipient of the 2014 Emerging Curator Award from New York Art Residency & Studios, and has previously taught courses in art and design history and theory at Parsons, The New School for Design, and Loyola University, New Orleans.

Young’s scholarship and arts criticism have been published in Art Journal, Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, the International Review of African American Art, Artforum, Apollo International, ART AFRICA Magazine, and the Photoworks Annual among other platforms. She has also contributed writing to numerous exhibition catalogues, including several essays for the forthcoming catalogue of Prospect.5: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow (2021); an extended essay on the work of Remy Jungerman for The Measurement of Presence, the Dutch Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); on Robert Pruitt for Queen: From the Collection of CCH Pounder (2018); on Juliana Huxtable for Out of Easy Reach (2018); and on several international artists for the Short Guide of All the World’s Futures, the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). She has served as Contributing Editor of Global Modern and Contemporary Art for Smarthistory since 2015, and is currently a member of the Grants Committee for Historians of British Art as well as the Annual Conference Committee for the College Art Association.

Acknowledgements

Promise, Witness, Remembrance is made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation.