Maria Gaspar followed by an audience Q&A.
Nicole R. Fleetwood is the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication in the Steinhardt School at New York University. A MacArthur Fellow, she is a writer, curator, and art critic whose interests are contemporary Black diasporic art and visual culture, photography studies, art and public practice, performance studies, gender and feminist studies, Black cultural history, creative nonfiction, prison abolition and carceral studies, and poverty studies. Fleetwood is the author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard University Press, 2020), and the winner of the National Book Critics Award in Criticism, the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize of the American Studies Association, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and both the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award in art history and the Frank Jewett Mather Award in art criticism. She is also the curator of the traveling exhibition, Marking Time: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration, which debuted at MoMA PS1 (September 17, 2020–April 5, 2021). The exhibition was listed as “one of the most important art moments in 2020” by The New York Times and among the best shows of the year by The New Yorker and Hyperallergic.
Fleetwood’s other books are On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (Rutgers University Press, 2015), and Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (University of Chicago Press, 2011), which was the recipient of the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association. Fleetwood is also co-editor of Aperture magazine’s Prison Nation issue, which focuses on photography’s role in documenting mass incarceration. She is a series associate editor of the 10-volume series, Gender: Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. With Sarah Tobias, she co-edited “The New Status Quo: Essays on Poverty in the United States and Beyond,” a special issue of Feminist Formations (Spring 2021). Fleetwood has co-curated exhibitions and public programs on art and mass incarceration at MoMA PS1, Zimmerli Museum of Art, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Andrew Freedman Home, Aperture, Cleveland Public Library, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, and Worth Rises. She is the inaugural Genevieve Young Writing Fellow of the Gordon Parks Foundation.
Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist negotiating the politics of location through installation, sculpture, sound, and performance. Gaspar’s work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her work spans formats and durations, including sound performances at a military site in New Haven (Sounds for Liberation); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project, Chicago); appropriations of museum archives (Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter); and audio-video works documenting a jail located in her childhood neighborhood (On the Border of What is Formless and Monstrous). Gaspar has received the Guggenheim Award for Creative Arts, Latinx Artist Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, the Frieze Impact Prize, the Sor Juana Women of Achievement Award in Art and Activism from the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Chamberlain Award for Social Practice from the Headlands Center for the Arts. She is an associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival and the Terra Foundation series on American Art.
View the Nicole R. Fleetwood and Maria Gaspar SAIC Flaxman Library Resource Guide for additional information about the speakers.