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The Shape of Abstraction: Dr. Lisa Farrington on African-American Abstract Artists


The Collectors Circle is proud to welcome Associate Dean of the Division of Fine Arts at Howard University Lisa Farrington, Ph.D., to present, The Shape of Abstraction: African-American Abstract Artists, a concise overview of African-American art from the era of enslavement to the age of Abstract Expressionism. She will spotlight trailblazers like neoclassicist Edmonia Lewis, romantic landscape painter Robert S. Duncanson, Pre-Raphaelite and inheritor of the American Realist tradition Henry O. Tanner, as well as several Harlem Renaissance painters and sculptors such as Richmond Barthe, Aaron Douglas and William H. Johnson. The talk, honoring African-American artists’ contribution to American art, will culminate in a look at the rise of abstraction at mid-century, and its legacy throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

As an award-winning academic author, Farrington has lectured on three continents and authored or co-authored 10 books and dozens of scholarly essays, including two award-winning historical texts for Oxford University Press: African-American Art: A Visual and Cultural History and Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists. Among her many awards, she received the coveted Creative Capital Writers Award from the Andy Warhol Foundation for her manuscript on African American artist Emma Amos. Farrington earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Howard University in 1978. She then completed a master’s of arts degree at American University, a master’s degree in philosophy and a doctorate in art history from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

This program is generously sponsored by Jim Sweeny.


Free with museum admission; advance registration is required.

Limited capacity; all COVID-19 safety guidelines will be enforced.

Event Details

May 14, 2021

7–8 pm

Event Categories

Marly Room: Museum of Fine Arts

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