PUBLIC ART FUND TALKS: Art in a Time of Crisis: Excavating the Past, Confronting the Present, Imagining the Future


Art in a Time of Crisis: Excavating the Past, Confronting the Present, Imagining the Future

On September 21, please join Firelei Báez and D’Angelo Lovell Williams for a conversation with Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. Reflecting on their themes and methods, the artists will discuss ways they mine different histories and genres of iconography and representation to generate dialogues that both acknowledge and look beyond the limits of our dysfunctional present. During the spring, Public Art Fund commissioned 50 New York-based artists to create new works in response to the current moment for the citywide exhibition, Art on the Grid. Our lives have been transformed by the devastation of a global pandemic and the rise of one of the largest social justice movements in modern history triggered by the brutal killing of George Floyd and countless other members of the Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.

This talk accompanies Public Art Fund’s exhibition Art on the Grid, 50 artists’ reflections on the pandemic on 500 JCDecaux bus shelters and 1700 LinkNYC kiosks across the city (on view through September 20, 2020).

The third artist who was scheduled to participate in this conversation, Adam Khalil, is unable to join the conversation due to a personal matter.

Public Art Fund Talks are presented in partnership with The Cooper Union

About the Artists

Rendering her subjects in complex layers of pattern and imagery, Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Dominican Republic) casts cultural and regional histories into an imaginative realm, where visual references drawn from the past are reconfigured to explore new possibilities for the future. Báez received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union’s School of Art, and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Báez is shortlisted for Artes Mundi 9, and will be the subject of a solo presentation at the ICA Watershed, Boston, MA in 2021. In 2019, the artist’s work was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Mennello Museum of Art, Orlando, FL, the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the Modern Window at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

D’Angelo Lovell Williams (b. 1992, Jackson, Mississippi) is a Black, HIV-positive artist expanding narratives of Black and queer intimacy through photography. They earned their BFA in photography from Memphis College of Art in 2015, an MFA in photography from Syracuse University in 2018, and are a 2018 Skowhegan School of Art alum. Their work has been featured in Dazed, W Magazine, The New York Times, Out Magazine, Hiskind, Musee Magazine, Newspaper Magazine, and Strange Fire Collective. Lovell Williams has exhibited at Higher Pictures, The Mint Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, The Pingyao International Photography Festival in Pingyao, China, Black Box Gallery, and The Center for Fine Art Photography.



About the Talks

Public Art Fund Talks, organized in collaboration with The Cooper Union, connect compelling contemporary artists to a broad public by establishing a dialogue about artistic practices and public art. The Talks series feature internationally renowned artists who offer insights into artmaking and its personal, social, and cultural contexts. The core values of creative expression and democratic access to culture and learning shared by both Public Art Fund and The Cooper Union are embodied in this ongoing collaboration. In the spirit of accessibility to the broadest and most diverse public, the Talks are offered free of charge.

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