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Material Matters: Race and Materiality in the Decorative Arts

November 1, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm EDT

Curatorial Fellow Adrienne Childs presents “Material Matters: Race and Materiality in the Decorative Arts.”

A seventeenth-century ebony “blackamoor” cabinet, an eighteenth-century sterling silver slave candlestick, and a twenty-first-century black Murano glass chandelier are examples of decorative arts that figure into Childs’s examination of what she calls “Ornamental Blackness.” Childs discusses the implications of luxury objects that reference the ornamental black body and the significance of the precious raw materials out of which they were often fashioned. The jarring combination of enslaved body and luxury materiality reveal complexities of race and representation in the Atlantic world.

This event is free and open to the public; a reception begins at 5 pm. This program is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Adrienne L. Childs is an independent art historian and curator, and an associate of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is the guest curator of Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition, The Philips Collection, 2020. Her book project is Ornamental Blackness: The Black Body in European Decorative Arts. At the Clark she will join Christa Clarke to develop the exhibition Black Baroque: Exuberant Presence in Contemporary Art that considers black artists who reference the art of the long Baroque period as well as manifest affinities with the baroque as a style, idea, or sensibility.


November 1, 2019
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm EDT
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The Clark
225 South St
Williamstown, MA 01267 US
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