Discovering Women Sculptors from the 17th Century to the Present Day
Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis, Neoclassicism, and the Negotiations of Place – Professor Kirsten Pai Buick
Sculpture in the 19th century was the flashpoint for some of the most urgent issues of the day: enslavement and the global fight to end it; the place and role of women and Native Americans; nationhood and nationalism in the US, but also Italy; early iterations of anthropology that took seriously phrenology, craniology, and physiognomy etc. This talk will explore how one artist, Mary Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), who was Ojibwe and African American, negotiated the land mines of some of the most important debates of her day through the medium of marble and through carefully scripted moves – from upstate New York to Oberlin Ohio and Boston, to Florence and Rome and Paris, and finally to London.
Kirsten Pai Buick is a professor of art history at the University of New Mexico. She received her PhD. in art history from the University of Michigan and was a SAAM Predoctoral Fellow and a Charles Gaius Bolin Fellow at Williams College. Buick is a recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize for African American Art and has published extensively on African American art, including her book Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject (Duke Univ. Press, 2010). Her second book, In Authenticity: ‘Kara Walker’ and the Eidetics of Racism, is in course of preparation.