Talks

Adrienne Edwards: Blackness in Abstraction and the Work of Denyse Thomasos

Curator Adrienne Edward wearing black jacket and trousers standing against a light blue-gray wall with diagonal lines and shadows

Photo of Adrienne Edwards by Bryan Derballa

Talks

Adrienne Edwards: Blackness in Abstraction and the Work of Denyse Thomasos

Wednesday, February 24. 2021
Zoom
Adrienne Edwards: Blackness in Abstraction and the Work of Denyse Thomasos

This program happened in February 2021. Please enjoy this recording of the presentation. 

Internationally-renowned, New York-based curator Adrienne Edwards discusses abstract art’s capacity to address complex questions of representation and identity. Building on the concept of her 2016 exhibition at Pace Gallery, Blackness in Abstraction, Edwards emphasizes blackness as a material, method and mode, and discusses how artists like Denyse Thomasos (1964-2012) negotiate and exhaust the paradigm of black representation in visual art, and explore notions of opacity, non-visibility and the inextricable conceptual, political, and social dimensions of abstract art.

This talk is presented in conjunction with the Denyse Thomasos Study Days, a virtual research module and knowledge-sharing workshop for artists, curators and scholars that aims to contextualize and celebrate the career of Denyse Thomasos, an artist who left a persisting yet frequently overlooked mark on contemporary painting.

Adrienne Edwards was named Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2018. Previously, she served as curator of Performa since 2010 and as Curator at Large for the Walker Art Center since 2016. At the Whitney, Edwards curated Jason Moran, the artist’s first museum show and organized the event commencing the construction of David Hammons’s Day’s End. Edwards organized Moved by the Motion: Sudden Rise, a series of performances based on a text co-written by Wu Tsang, boychild, and Fred Moten. Edwards’s curatorial projects have included the critically acclaimed exhibition and catalogue Blackness in Abstraction, hosted by Pace Gallery in 2016. Edwards taught art history and visual studies at New York University and The New School, and she is a contributor to the National Gallery of Art’s Center for the Advanced Study in Visual Art’s forthcoming publication Black Modernisms. She is co-curator of the 2022 Whitney Biennial with David Breslin, and organizing Dave McKenzie's first solo museum project in New York City, opening May 2021.

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