Wilkes University

November

Sordoni Art Gallery Hosts Lecture on the Art of Elizabeth Catlett

Please join us at the Sordoni Art Gallery at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, for a free lecture titled Out of Silence: Activism and Empathy in the Art of Elizabeth Catlett presented by Melanie Herzog, professor of art history and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.

The art of Elizabeth Catlett is grounded in what she regarded as the historically based necessity to give voice to the lives and experiences of those who have historically been forced into silence. This lecture presented by Melanie Herzog, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and professor of art history at Edgewood College, will examine what Catlett believed art could do: raise consciousness of injustice, expose abuses of power, and illuminate possibilities for social transformation.

More about the LectureThe art of Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) is grounded in what she regarded as the historically based necessity to give voice to the lives and experiences of those who have historically been forced into silence. In the United States and in Mexico, where she resided for more than sixty years, she produced an unparalleled body of politically charged and aesthetically compelling graphic and sculptural images that resonate as visual declarations of the dignity, strength, and achievements of black women and other oppressed peoples. Her activist artistic practice encompassed her choice of printmaking as a democratizing medium accessible to a wide public, her contributions to collaborative printmaking projects, her engagement with organizations for which she produced her work, and the distribution of her prints and sculpture to audiences for whom these expressions of solidarity and empathy were particularly meaningful. While she would not have hesitated to remind us that art alone cannot change the world, Elizabeth Catlett firmly believed that art can raise consciousness of injustice, expose abuses of power, and illuminate possibilities for social transformation. One of the most important American artists of the past century, and a black feminist activist, educator, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she is honored as a foremother and an inspiration by subsequent generations.

More about Professor Melanie Herzog:  Melanie Herzog is professor of art history and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. She holds a B.A. in art and art history from Johnston College (now Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands), and an MFA in ceramics and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches, publishes, and lectures widely on North American art and visual culture. With an emphasis on socially engaged artistic practices and issues of race, gender, identity and representation, her publications include Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico (2000), Milton Rogovin: The Making of a Social Documentary Photographer (2006), “Imaging History, Memory, and the Raced and Gendered Body: The Legacy of Elizabeth Catlett,” in The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World (2012), “Elizabeth Catlett in Mexico at Mid-Century: Navigating Gender and Visual Politics across Cultural Borders,” in American Women Artists, 1935-1970: Gender, Culture, and Politics (2016), and “Chinese in America: Flo Oy Wong, Suturing Gaps in the Weave,” inContemporary Citizenship, Art, and Visual Culture: Making and Being Made (2018), as well as essays on various contemporary U.S. artists.

More About the Current Exhibition:  Loud Silence: Expressions of Activism explores artists who use the human figure or body as a means for activism. The works featured demonstrate the unique perils of living while a woman, while a person of color, while indigenous, while LGBTQ+ and while an immigrant. The exhibit features 40 artists including Judy Chicago, Faith Ringgold, Ana Mendieta, Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer.

catlett print


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