VIDEO: Africa in the American Imagination

PART 3: Africa in the American Imagination

The Collection in Dialogue series, hosted by Dr. Tanya Sheehan, professor of art at Colby College and executive editor of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Journal, 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.

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) discuss these aspects of the collection and reflect critically on the role that ideas about Africa can play in museums devoted to American art. (2022). (Recorded on April 18, 2023)


Romare Howard Bearden, Carolina Memory (Tidings), 1973, screenprint on wove paper, 15 13/16 x 23 3/4 inches, gift of Argosy Partners and Bond Street Partners, 1980.33

Max Belcher, Solomon Eli Martin, Royesville, Liberia, 1977, gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches, museum purchase, 1994.53

Generous support for New Perspectives: The Collection in Dialogue has been provided by the Lana Lobell Fund and the Alumni/Alumnae Lectureship Fund.

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Bartlett H. Hayes Prize Recipients


Reggie Burrows Hodges

Exhibition | Residency | Publication | Acquisition


Tommy Kha

Exhibition | Residency | Publication | Acquisition