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“Frederick Douglass” Isaac Julien and Deborah Willis in Conversation

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Cost: FREE


Tue, Jan 19, 12-1pm Pacific time

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts and Aperture presents an online conversation between photographic scholar Deborah Willis and filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien on the occasion of the West Coast premiere of Julien’s immersive, ten-screen film installation “Lessons of the Hour-Frederick Douglass” (2019) at McEvoy Arts. Attendance is free with registration.

Willis, a leading scholar in the investigation and recovery of the legacy of African American photography and Julien will take Frederick Douglass’ interest in photography’s capacity for representation beyond caricature and its potential as a tool for racial justice as the point of departure for this wide-ranging conversation. Their shared interest in the concept of the photographic archive, extending back to Julien’s landmark work “Looking for Langston” (1989), will further illuminate the utopian values and ideas that Douglass and his contemporaries shared.

Resulting from Julien’s preparatory research into photographic history at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, the ten-screen film installation Lessons of the Hour prominently features Douglass’ influential relationship to J.P. Ball, the pioneering nineteenth-century African American photographer. Ball, who is celebrated as a key, overlooked figure in the history of the medium, is the subject of Willis’ monograph J.P. Ball: Daguerrean and Studio Photographer (Routledge, 1993) and featured in Willis’ forthcoming The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Leadership (NYU Press, January 2021).

Lessons of the Hour is on view at McEvoy Arts through March 13, 2021. Admission is free. Please visit mcevoyarts.org/visit for the most up-to-date admissions information.

Presented by McEvoy Foundation for the Arts

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Event Details


Cost: FREE
Categories: *Top Pick*, Art & Museums, Online

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