at home: Symposium | Art History: Hierarchies of Representation

A conversation with Zirwat Chowdhury, Assistant Professor of 18th- and 19th-century European Art, University of California, Los Angeles; Bridget R. Cooks, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine; and Edward Town, Head of Collections Information and Access at the Center; moderated by Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center

at home: Symposium

Featuring artists, collectors, curators, and scholars, The Politics of the Portrait is a three-part online symposium that considers potential solutions and alternatives regarding the history, display, and making of portraits and the role of representation in today’s sociopolitical climate.

About this program

Zirwat Chowdhury, Bridget R. Cooks, and Edward Town discuss potential approaches to and revisions of frameworks that are commonly used for telling the history of portraiture with a particular focus on the Black figure.

How might we restructure art history to make it a more decentralized, inclusive discipline? What scholarly initiatives have been effective at countering systemic marginalization in the representation of Black and Brown bodies in Western art? How can we overcome the problem that there are few records—material, textual, or visual—of many of the Black figures represented in Western art? Notwithstanding these absences, what work is being done to center the lives of Black figures in historical portraits? What can we learn about these figures from close looking and study in museums?


Top image
Tilly Kettle, Dancing Girl, 1772, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection