Black Masculinities in Contemporary American Art

In this graduate seminar, we will explore how black masculinities have been framed, visualized, and constrained in American art from the 1950s to the present. To do so, we will first aim to understand and theorize the historical, social, and cultural conditions that have produced black male bodies as charged sites of violence and visualization in the U.S. public sphere. With this framework in place, we will proceed to home in on particular exhibitions, objects, and practices that help illuminate the ongoing logics that structure the appearance of black masculinity as well as the ways cultural practitioners have variously contested them. Artists considered will include David Hammons, Titus Kaphar, Kerry James Marshall, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Sun Ra. All readings will be available for free via Canvas.