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Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott Closing Virtual Programs

As Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott comes to a close, this talk with Erin Christovale takes a deep dive into two works: Emergency Room by Colescott and Framed by Modernism by Carrie Mae Weems. Thinking about the landscapes of American and modernist social relationships, this close-read considers the representations of race and gender that echo throughout the life and work of Colescott. 

Emergency Room (in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York) is not a work on view, but taking consideration of our current moment with the COVID-19 pandemic, Christovale acknowledges this timely painting as a concentrated panoramic view of life in America and the chaos in the emergency room as an allegory to considering our troubled race relations and hierarchies, and ways in which these play into life and death.

Framed by Modernism by Weems is the only work in the exhibition that is not by Colescott. Weems, as both the author and subject in this work, explores what modernism does to both of the artists’ subjectivity. In considering Colescott’s often problematic depictions of women, this collaboration in which Weems controlled this portrait considers the cyclical role of artist, subject, and viewer. 

Erin Christovale is the associate curator at the Hammer Museum and the co-founder of experimental film program, Black Radical Imagination.


Art and Race Matters: Keynote Talk with Erin Christovale

December 6, 2020
2 – 3:30 p.m.

Zoom & Facebook Live

This talk is supported by Cheryl and Rena Tonkin, and Marv Tonkin Leasing Company, In Memory of Alan Baron Tonkin and the Northwest Art Council at Portland Art Museum.


Save the Date

Mark your calendars for our final Colescott exhibition program—Perspectives on Colescott: Identity, Satire, and Politics—a round table discussion between the members of Portland-based comedy trio Broke Gravy and special guests Chevonne Ball and Nishat Akhtar, in a wide-ranging conversation that links the issues of identity, satire, and politics within Colescott’s work.  Join us on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 6:30–8 p.m. Learn More.