Roundtable Discussion On Exhibiting Angela Davis - Curatorial Roundtable on Archives

On Exhibiting Angela Davis - Curatorial Roundtable on Archives © SKD

12:30pm EDT


Seize the Time, 1 Million Roses, Freed by the People, All Power to the People - these are all titles of recent exhibitions on Angela Davis’s influence on the art world. The curators of these exhibitions come together for an extensive curatorial roundtable discussion about the philosopher, feminist, and Black Power activist’s influence on exhibition makers today. They will also discuss their experiences with institutional and community-based archives in curating these exhibitions. Archives are connected to communities and people, and exhibitions contextualize the materials they draw from - in this case, these exhibitions benefit from a range of archives, from Germany, the U.S., and universities as well as personal archives.

Elizabeth Hinton will be talking about her exhibition Angela Davis: Freed by the People, which was on view last year at Harvard’s Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. The exhibition featured Davis’s writing, speeches, and advocacy to invite visitors to reckon with our difficult history. Combining the trove of archival materials kept at the Schlesinger Library with the Papers of Angela Y. Davis and the results of a 2020 conference, the exhibition presented a comprehensive view of Davis's life and work, from childhood to present. Kathleen Reinhardt, curator of 1 Million Roses for Angela Davis at Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden (SKD), will be focusing the East German perspective on Angela Davis’s influence, as well as the integration of contemporary artists into the exhibition. Donna Gustafson and Gerry Beegan from the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University are preparing their upcoming exhibition Angela Davis – Seize the Time (September 1, 2021-June 15, 2022) and will talk about the productive tension between the rich archive of historically grounded material relating to Davis collected by the Oakland-based activist/archivist Lisbet Tellefsen, and the work of contemporary artists who both reference Angela Davis’ historical impact and her continued importance in radical intersectional thought. Lisbet Tellefsen and René de Guzman will be joining forces to talk about their collective work on Seize the Time and All Power to the People

Gerry Beegan is a design historian and critic. His research focuses on the materiality of the printed image, on intermedial relations, and on print’s role in creating and sustaining imagined collectivities, whether it be fin de siècle London or 1970s Oakland. He has recently contributed to two volumes focusing on gender and print culture from the 1890s to the 1930s. Beegan’s book The Mass Image is an account of the emergence of photographic imagery in the popular press. He has published essays and reviews on design history and print practices in the New York Times, Design and Culture, The Journal of Visual Culture, Spike and The Journal of Design History. He teaches in the Department of Art & Design, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Donna Gustafson, is the Interim Director, Curator of American Art and the Mellon Director for Academic Programs at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. Her research interests include photography and social protest, American art of the twentieth century, particularly of the 1960s and 1970s, and contemporary art. Her recent publications and exhibition projects include Subjective Objective: A Century of Social PhotographyGuerrilla (and other) Girls: Art/Activism/Attitude; Jessie Krimes: Apokaluptein: 16389067; at/around/beyond: Fluxus at Rutgers. She has published reviews and articles, presented papers, and organized symposia on a variety of American and contemporary art topics. 

René de Guzman's curatorial practice has explored the relationship between visual culture and political power. The exhibition on Angela Davis highlights the dynamic space of creativity and radicality that Davis represents. She is an historic figure who is at once a political leader and cultural icon.

Elizabeth Hinton is a historian of American inequality who is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on policing and mass incarceration. Hinton’s past and current scholarship provides a deeper grasp of the persistence of poverty, urban violence, and racial inequality in the United States. She is Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Yale University and Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the author of the award-winning book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America and the forthcoming America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, which will be released in May. Hinton's articles and op-eds can be found in the pages of The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Boston Review, and Time. She served as lead curator on the Angela Davis: Freed By the People exhibition, which was held at Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from September 2020 to March 2021.

Kathleen Reinhardt is an art and cultural historian. She has been the curator of contemporary art at the Albertinum in Dresden since 2016, where she has curated the exhibitions Marlene Dumas: Skulls, For Ruth, The Sky in Los Angeles and Demonstration Rooms (co-curated with Isabelle Busch). She received her doctorate from the Arts of Africa department of the Freie Universität Berlin in 2017 with a dissertation on contemporary African American art, for which she received a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission as a visiting researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has taught at Freie Universität Berlin and Technische Universität Dresden. Her writing has appeared in art catalogs as well as the magazines African Arts, Art Margins, Contemporary And, and Kaleidoscope.
Lisbet Tellefsen is an Oakland, California-based community archivist, collector, curator, and publisher. Her archives and collections range from political graphics and Cuban posters to Angela Davis and the Black Panther Party. Her archives are frequently used for academic research and as an archival consultant, she has worked on numerous films including Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and Free Angela and All Political Prisoners. Her collections have been exhibited most recently in Angela Davis: OUTspoken, currently online at the GLBT Historical Society; The Art of Collaboration at Yale's Beinecke Library; Get With the Action: Political Posters from the 1960s to Present at SFMOMA; and Black Power and All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 at the Oakland Museum of CA. Over 100 objects from her collection now reside in the permanent collections of SFMOMA, the Oakland Museum of CA, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture with a dozen pieces from the Tellefsen collection featured in the Smithsonian's 2016 inaugural exhibit.

Recording of the Roundtable