Courtney J. Martin, Photo credit: Argenis Apolinario; Fred Moten, Photo credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Sam Gilliam's Latest

A Roundtable Conversation

Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020

On the occasion of Sam Gilliam’s current exhibition Existed Existing, on view in New York through December 19, we are pleased to present a conversation with Courtney J. Martin and Fred Moten, both contributors to the exhibition’s accompanying catalogue.

Martin, Director of the Yale Center for British Art and curator of Gilliam’s installation at Dia:Beacon, discusses the artist’s approach to exhibition making and the evolution of his practice over time in her essay Imagine the Show on the First Day. In The Circle With a Whole in the Middle, Moten, poet, cultural theorist, and 2020 MacArthur Fellow, illuminates Gilliam’s work in dialogue with the aesthetic considerations of abstraction and Blackness—from the writings of Amiri Baraka and the improvisation of jazz musician Ornette Coleman to the paintings of Alma Thomas. The event will take the form of a conversational roundtable, exploring each panelist’s reflections on Gilliam’s work and their distinctive dialogues with the artist. The event will be moderated by Andria Hickey, Pace’s Senior Director and Curator. 

Event Details

Sam Gilliam's Latest: A Roundtable Conversation
Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020


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Courtney J. Martin

In 2019, Courtney J. Martin became the sixth director of the Yale Center for British Art. Previously, she was the deputy director and chief curator at the Dia Art Foundation; an assistant professor in the History of Art and Architecture department at Brown University; an assistant professor in the History of Art department at Vander­bilt University; a chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow in the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley; a fellow at the Getty Research Institute; and a Henry Moore Institute research fellow. She also worked in the media, arts, and culture unit of the Ford Foundation in New York. In 2015, she received an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

In 2012, Martin curated the exhibition Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip . . . Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings 1973–1978 at Tate Britain. In 2014, she co-curated the group show Minimal Baroque: Post-Minimalism and Contemporary Art at Rønnebæksholm in Denmark. From 2008 to 2015, she co-led a research project on the Anglo-American art critic Lawrence Alloway at the Getty Research Institute and was co-editor of Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator (Getty Publications, 2015, winner of the 2016 Historians of British Art Book Award). In 2015, she curated an exhibition at the Dia Art Foundation focusing on the American painter Robert Ryman. At Dia, she also oversaw exhibitions of works by Dan Flavin, Sam Gilliam, Blinky Palermo, Dorothea Rockburne, Keith Sonnier, and Andy Warhol. She was editor of the book Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art (Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2016), surveying an important collection of modern and contemporary work by artists of African descent.

As a graduate student in 2007, Martin contributed to the Center’s exhibition and publication Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds. She received a doctorate from Yale University for her research on twentieth-century British art and is the author of essays on Rasheed Araeen, Kader Attia, Rina Banerjee, Frank Bowling, Lara Favaretto, Leslie Hewitt, Asger Jorn, Wangechi Mutu, Ed Ruscha, and Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA).

Fred Moten

Fred Moten is a teacher and writer whose areas of study and practice include Black Literary, Aural and Visual Culture, Critical Theory, Performance Studies, and Poetry and Poetics. He is especially concerned with the social force and social origins of black expressive cultural practices. In particular, Moten is interested in the relation between insurgent social movement and experimental art, and has been preoccupied with understanding these fields of endeavour as indissolubly linked and irreducibly popular.

Over the last 25 years, Moten has addressed these concerns, by way of poetry and criticism, in a number of books, including “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition” (University of Minnesota Press, 2003); Hughson’s Tavern” (Leon Works, 2009); “B. Jenkins” (Duke University Press, 2010); “The Feel Trio” (Letter Machine Editions, 2014); “The Little Edges” (Wesleyan University Press, 2015); “The Service Porch” (Letter Machine Editions, 2016); and “consent not to be a single being” (Duke University Press, 2017, 2018).

Moten is engaged in long-term collaborations with theorist Stefano Harney and artist Wu Tsang. With Harney, he is co-author of “The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study” (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2013) and “A Poetics of the Undercommons” (Sputnik and Fizzle, 2016), and with Tsang, “Who touched me?” (If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want to be Part of Your Revolution, 2016). Tsang and Moten are also co-workers in the project Gravitational Feel, iterations of which have been shown or performed at venues including If I Can't Dance I Don't Want To Be A Part of Your Revolution, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom; and the New Museum, New York. Moten has also collaborated with the artists and artist collectives Arika, Freethought, Andrea Geyer, Arthur Jafa, MPA, Ultra-red, and Suné Woods.

Moten lives in New York with his partner and long-term intellectual collaborator, Laura Harris, and their children, Lorenzo and Julian. He has served on the editorial boards of Callaloo, Discourse, American Quarterly, and Social Text; as a member of the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine; on the board of directors of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, City University of New York; and on the advisory board of Issues in Critical Investigation, Vanderbilt University. Moten received an A.B. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University.

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