“Black Artists/New Histories: A Conversation with Christopher Bedford, Courtney J. Martin & Katy Siegel” was held on Saturday, September 30, 3-4 p.m. in the Patrick F. Taylor Library in conjunction with Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, Presented by The Helis Foundation.
The conversation, excerpted below, encompassed a spectrum of questions and possibilities around black artists and history. How have black artists been written into history, and even more, how have they changed history?
Panelists include the curators of the exhibition Christopher Bedford, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art; Katy Siegel, Senior Curator for Research and Programming at The Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as Courtney J. Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation.
Courtney J. Martin
Courtney J. Martin is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation. As an art historian of the modern and contemporary fields, her curating and scholarship are invested in the ways in which the post-1968 period altered art and artists internationally. She received a doctorate from Yale University in 2009.
Prior to Dia, she was an assistant professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University; an assistant professor in the History of Art department at Vanderbilt University; 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. In 2015, she received an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She also worked in the media, arts, and culture unit of the Ford Foundation in New York on an international arts portfolio that funded major arts projects.
In 2012, she curated a focus display at Tate Britain, Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip…Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings 1973-1978. In 2014, she co-curated the group show, Minimal Baroque: Post-Minimalism and Contemporary Art, at Rønnebæksholm in Denmark. Since 2008, she has co-led a research project on the Anglo-American art critic and curator Lawrence Alloway at the Getty Research Institute and is 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 of the American painter, Robert Ryman at the Dia Art Foundation, entitled Robert Ryman. She is the editor of Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art (Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2016).
Christopher Bedford is the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the 10th director to lead the museum, which is renowned for its outstanding collections of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Recognized as an innovative and dynamic leader for building greater community engagement and creating programs of national and international impact, Bedford served as director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University for four years prior to joining the BMA and was appointed as Commissioner for the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibition, which debuted an exhibition of new work by American artist Mark Bradford. Previously, Bedford held the positions of chief curator and curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University (2008-2012), where he organized a nationally traveling exhibition of the work of Mark Bradford. He also served as assistant curator and curatorial assistant in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2006-2008) and consulting curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts for the J. Paul Getty Museum (2006-2008). Born in Scotland and raised in the United States and the UK, Bedford has a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College, received a master’s degree in art history through the joint program at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art, and has studied in the doctoral programs in art history at the University of Southern California and the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Bedford is also a noted author and contributor to publications includingArt in America, ArtForum, and Frieze, among others.
Katy Siegel is the inaugural Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University, and Senior Curator for Research and Programming at The Baltimore Museum of Art. She is the co-curator with Christopher Bedford of Mark Bradford’s exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale, and co-curator with Okwui Enwezor and Ulrich Wilmes ofPostwar: Art Between the Atlantic and the Pacific, 1945-1965, at the Haus der Kunst, Munich. Past exhibitions have included Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?. Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, Light Years: Jack Whitten, 1971-1974, andHigh Times Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967-75, which toured internationally and received an award from AICA. Her edited volumes include “The heroine Paint”: After Frankenthaler (2015) and Abstract Expressionism (2011); she is the author of Since ’45: America and the Making of Contemporary Art, which details the collision of American social history and European modernism (2011). She has written criticism and historical essays on contemporary and modern art for numerous institutions internationally, and is a Contributing Editor at Artforum, and Consulting Editor at The Brooklyn Rail. From 2010-2013 she was the Editor in Chief of Art Journal.