VIRTUAL EVENT: CHERISE SMITH - Michael Ray Charles: A Retrospective
Wednesday, September 2 at 7PM CDT
Author CHERISE SMITH
discussing Michael Ray Charles: A Retrospective
In conversation with Michael Ray Charles and Jennifer M. Wilks
This event will be broadcast live via Zoom
Digital Doors Open at 6:45PM CDT
Event Begins at 7:00PM CDT
NOTE: Because this is a virtual event that will be hosted on Zoom, you will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing and sufficient Internet access. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
ABOUT MICHAEL RAY CHARLES: A RETROSPECTIVE
Featuring nearly one hundred color images, this is the first in-depth examination of the work of Michael Ray Charles, whose provocative paintings recast images of racism in consumer culture.
Michael Ray Charles is the most comprehensive presentation yet of the work of an artist who rose to prominence in the 1990s for works that engaged American stereotypes of African Americans. With a background in advertising and an archivist’s inquisitiveness, Charles developed an artistic practice that made startling use of found images and offered critiques of the narratives they fostered. Immersing readers in the imagination of this daring painter, Michael Ray Charles celebrates and contextualizes a singular, major figure in the art world.
Art historian Cherise Smith collaborated with the artist to curate nearly one hundred color plates documenting nearly thirty years of visual art. These plates are framed by an interview with the artist and by Smith’s own deep interpretive essay on Charles’s work. Smith explores topics ranging from the controversy resulting from Charles’s provocative appropriations of stereotypical racial material to his techniques of sampling from popular culture, and from his commentaries on African American men and sports to his work with director Spike Lee on Bamboozled. Both clear-eyed and complex, this retrospective demonstrates the significant role that Michael Ray Charles’s work has played in defining what art is today.
ABOUT CHERISE SMITH
A curator and art historian, Cherise Smith is the Founding Executive Director of the Art Galleries at Black Studies, Chair of the African and African Diaspora Studies Department (AADS), and a professor in the Departments of AADS and Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith.
ABOUT MICHAEL RAY CHARLES
Michael Ray Charles is a contemporary American painter. His work explores historic African American stereotypes from the Antebellum South, appropriating images from advertising and pop culture to expose the underlying racism prevalent in contemporary culture. Charles creates a mimetic vocabulary of cultural, racial, and historicized images to subvert those themes and explore surviving caricatures that continue to appear in popular media, such as Aunt Jemima or Sambo. “Stereotypes have evolved. I’m trying to deal with present and past stereotypes in the context of today’s society,” the artist has said. Born in Lafayette, LA in 1967, he went on to earn his BFA from McNeese State University and his MFA from the University of Houston. His work has been both critically celebrated and the source of controversy, and in 2001 Charles was the subject of an Art:21 short documentary. He was appointed as the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Painting in 2014 at the University of Houston's School of Art, and he has exhibited internationally, notably in the Austin Museum of Art, the Knox Art Gallery, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
ABOUT JENNIFER M. WILKS
Jennifer M. Wilks is an associate professor of English & African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also directs the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Author of Race, Gender, and Comparative Black Modernism, Wilks is currently writing a cultural history of the Carmen figure with a focus on adaptations set in African diasporic contexts.
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