WILLIAM H. JOHNSON FALL LECTURE SERIES
The Albany Museum of Art will host art historians and artists in a series of lectures that will provide historical context and the artist’s perspectives Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice, now on view through Dec 10, 2022 in the AMA's Haley Gallery.
In-person lectures are Thursday, Nov 17, and Thursday, Dec 1 at the Albany Museum of Art, 311 Meadowlark Road. A Facebook Live lecture will be broadcast on the AMA's Facebook page.
All lectures will begin at 6 pm, and all are free and open to the public.
The lecturers will add context to this moving exhibition of works by one of the most important American artists of his time. Johnson (1901–1970) painted his Fighters for Freedom series in the mid-1940s as a tribute to African-American activists, scientists, teachers, and performers, as well as international heads of state working to bring peace to the world. He celebrated their accomplishments while acknowledging the realities of racism, violence, and oppression they faced and overcame.
The William H. Johnson Lecture Series complements the exhibition Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice. Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Art Bridges.
NOV 17: WHO WERE THE FIGHTERS FOR FREEDOM?
In-person Lecture, 6 pm
Columbus Museum Curator of History and Exhibitions Manager Rebecca Bush will joined by visual artist Tracy Murrell and Grammy-nominated musical artist Wayna.
Bush will discuss the historical figures in Johnson’s fascinating series, point out surprises on the canvases, and explain how Johnson's work offers a new perspective on 1940s America. She is vice president of the Georgia Association of Museums, and serves on the editorial board of the journal The Public Historian.
Murrell and Wayna will share their experiences as Black female artists in today's society. Murrell's exhibition Wayna: Her Dreams of Ethiopia, which is currently on view in the AMA's East Gallery, was inspired by her cousin Wayna, an R&B/soul vocalist who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Washington, D.C.
NOV 29: HARRIET TUBMAN'S (AFRO)FUTURE
Facebook Live Event, 6 pm
Elizabeth Hamilton, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Fort Valley State University and an art historian, will discuss the Afrofuturistic visual legacy of Harriet Tubman. Those viewing the event will be able to ask questions and comment through Facebook Chat.
Dr. Hamilton's research focuses on the visual culture of the African diaspora, feminism, and Afrofuturism. Her first book, Charting the Afrofuturist Imaginary in African American Art (Routledge), is the winner of the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant.
DEC 1: WILLIAM H. JOHNSON AND THE DOUBLE VICTORY OF WORLD WAR II POLITICS
In-Person Lecture, 6 pm
Susan Bragg, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, will be joined at the in-person lecture at the museum by Atlanta-based artist Eric Mack, whose work was on view at the AMA last year.
Dr. Bragg will discuss contextualizing Johnson’s civil rights struggle during the World War II era and how his work represents an effort to visualize a new kind of civil rights legacy in a postwar world. She teaches courses in African-American history, women’s history, and cultural studies at GSW.
Mack will lend his perspective as a Black male artist, and speak on the South Carolina connection he and Johnson share. Like Johnson, Mack has spent time studying in Europe, and he will compare his experiences with those of Johnson, and discuss the global contributions of Black people in the arts that he witnessed abroad.