So What Have We Learned: Black Visual Cultures @ UD

Mechanical Hall Gallery
February 8-May 12, 2017

Wendel A. White
Longwood School, Charlestown, Pennsylvania, 2007/2014
From the Schools for the Colored series
Pigment inkjet print on paper, 13-3/8 x 20-1/16 in.
University Museums Purchase, 2014
© Wendel A. White

So What Have We Learned highlights synergies between the collections of University of Delaware’s University Museums and Library Special Collections, Manuscripts, and Archives. Focused on African American art and Black visual culture, the selection process for the exhibition began in Special Collections with the formative question: what materials express Black visual culture?

Visual and historical cues for the exhibition radiate from Phillis Wheatley’s 1773 Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral with: an engraved portrait of Wheatley; photographic imagery in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s 1906 When Malindy Sings; a 1920 blueprint for the Colored School in Newark, Delaware; broadsides by African American poets and typographers; and Black Panther ephemera.

Baraka, Amiri. It’s Nation Time. Chicago: Third World Press, 1970. Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware Cover design by Brother Omar Lama
Baraka, Amiri. It’s Nation Time. Chicago: Third World Press, 1970.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware
Cover design by Brother Omar Lama

Combined with selections from the African American art collection, such as Wendel A. White’s Schools for the Colored series (2007-16), and Faith Ringgold’s Henry Ossawa Tanner: His Boyhood Dreams Come True (2010) many of the chosen works emphasize early childhood and education. Noteworthy contributions by UD faculty and alums reinforce core exhibition themes of cultural agency and visual politics.

So What Have We Learned: Black Visual Cultures @ UD was curated by Julie L. McGee, Associate Professor of Black American Studies, and Harrison Graves, graduate student in the Department of English.

Blueprint of Colored School Site, Newark Delaware, 1920.
Wilbur T. Wilson Map collection. Gift of the Estate of Wilbur T. Wilson
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware

Gallery Talk

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 12:30 pm

“So What Have We Learned”: A Curator’s Perspective

Julie McGee, Associate Professor, Black American Studies and Art History

The Paul R. Jones Lecture

Tuesday, March 14th, 4 pm, Bayard Sharp Hall

Fo Wilson

The Liminality of Race and Representations of Blackness

 Fo Wilson, Chicago-based artist, curator and educator, is the 2017 Paul R. Jones Annual Lecturer and the second distinguished visiting scholar in University of Delaware’s African American Public History and Material Culture series.  Her current long-term installations include Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Sounding Bronzeville, a public work commissioned by the Field Museum and Chicago Park District in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor in Chicago. http://fowilson.com/home.html

Wilson will be on campus March 13-15th to meet with students, faculty and staff, lead a workshop on the intersection of material culture and art, and deliver a public lecture.

The Paul R. Jones Lecture is an annual event. Wilson’s campus visit is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Paul R. Jones Initiative, the IHRC, and the University Museums.

Gallery Talks

Friday, April 7, 2017, 12:30

“Making Meaning with Type: Typography and Black American Print Culture”

Jesse Erickson, Postdoctoral Researcher in Special Collections and Digital Humanities

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