Throughout the 2022–23 academic year, the Addison Gallery will host a new public program series focused on selected areas of the museum’s collection. Consisting of three Zoom webinars, held live on weekday evenings and archived on the museum’s website, each program will be free and open to all who pre-register. While museum staff have hosted webinars in recent years that have highlighted special exhibitions, The Collection in Dialogue series invites leading scholars of American art to analyze objects in the Addison’s permanent collection and makes their research accessible to interested students, educators, museum visitors, and a broad audience of art enthusiasts.
The Addison has asked Dr. Tanya Sheehan—professor of art at Colby College, executive editor of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Journal, and a Phillips Academy Andover alum (1994)—to organize the program and host the webinars. Working closely with the Addison’s curatorial team, Dr. Sheehan has identified three aspects of the collection (described below) to spotlight. Together they represent collecting strengths at the Addison that deserve greater public attention as well as areas in which the museum can make significant contributions to research and teaching in American art history. Dr. Sheehan has also identified collection areas and speakers with the aim of demonstrating the museum’s commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. In some cases this means showcasing the work of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other historically marginalized artists at the Addison, while in others it involves constructively critiquing the collecting practices of museums, including our own.
Generous support for New Perspectives: The Collection in Dialogue has been provided by the Lana Lobell Fund and the Alumni/Alumnae Lectureship Fund.
The Art of HIV/AIDS
December 1, 2022, 6:00 pm
The first lecture in the series took place on World AIDS Day. The Addison has amassed a strong collection of artworks produced by Americans during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and by artists who continue to be impacted by HIV/AIDS. This includes the work of Mark Morrisroe, Hunter Reynolds, Eric Rhein, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., David Wojnarowicz, and others. In conversation were Fiona Johnstone (Durham University), author of the forthcoming book AIDS and Representation: Portraits and Self-Portraits During the AIDS Crisis in America, and Jonathan Katz, curator of numerous exhibitions on the art of HIV/AIDS including Art AIDS America (2015).
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Spirituality and Religion in American Art
February 21, 2023, 6:00 pm
For the second lecture in the series, Robert Cozzolino (Minneapolis Institute of Art) and Erika Doss (University of Notre Dame) used works from the Addison’s collection as a springboard for discussion about spirituality and religion in American art. Doss’s book Spiritual Moderns: Twentieth-Century American Artists and Religion (2023) considers as case studies Andy Warhol, Mark Tobey, and others whose work has been collected by the Addison. Cozzolino has studied the role that religion played for artists such as Gregory Gillespie, Honoré Sharrer, and George Tooker, in addition to exploring art and spirit contact in his major exhibition Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art (2022).
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Africa in the American Imagination
April 18, 2023, 6:00 pm
In recent decades, the Addison has greatly expanded its holdings of artworks by African Americans, including twentieth century and contemporary artists who see themselves as part of a global African diaspora. The museum has also historically collected objects by non-Black artists that offer visions of “Africa” as the object of difference and desire. For the third lecture in the series, Tobias Wofford (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Lauren Kroiz (UC Berkeley) discussed these aspects of the collection and reflected critically on the role that ideas about Africa can play in museums devoted to American art.
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Mark Morrisroe, Self Portrait, December 1981, chromogenic print, 8 x 5 inches, museum purchase and partial purchase as the gift of Louis Wiley, Jr. (PA 1963) and John Clarke Kane, Jr. (PA 1963) in memory of Paul L. Monette (PA 1963) on the occasion of their 50th Reunion, 2011.26
Hans Hofmann, Exaltment, 1947, oil on canvas, 59 3/4 x 47 3/4 inches, museum purchase, 1960.6
Elizabeth Catlett, Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, In Phillis Wheatley I Proved Intellectual Equality in the Midst of Slavery, 1946, linoleum cut on wove paper, 9 1/8 x 6 inches, gift of Katherine D. and Stephen C. Sherrill (PA 1971, and P 2005, 2007, 2010), 2016.10.8