Athens, Ga. – Adrienne L. Childs, a scholar, art historian and curator, will deliver the 29th Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture, “Ornamental Blackness: The Black Body in Western Decorative Arts,” April 4 at 6 p.m. at the Georgia Museum of Art on the University of Georgia campus.
Childs has received fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, the Sterling and Clark Institute, the David C. Driskell Center and the University of Maryland Graduate School. Her lecture is in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition “Face Jugs: Art and Ritual in 19th-Century South Carolina,” which opens at the museum on May 4. The lecture will center on the presence of Africans in the Western decorative arts. Childs will emphasize the origins of the preference for the exotic black as a decorative motif among Europeans. The lecture will connect two areas of the museum’s collection: the decorative arts and works by artists from the African diaspora. A reception will follow the lecture.
“Some of the finest decorative arts are propaganda driven and, arguably, all objects incorporate some cultural meaning,” said Dale Couch, GMOA’s curator of decorative arts. “[Childs] uses Western decorative arts for its value as evidence in understanding the depiction of African people and to fathom the meaning of western perceptions of this exotic other through the lens of colonialism, racism and slavery.”
The Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture is an annual event in honor of Holbrook, the founder and first director of the Georgia Museum of Art. Holbrook founded the museum with a collection of 100 American paintings in honor of his wife Eva Underhill Holbrook and served as director emeritus until he was almost 100 years old. Previous lectures have been delivered by scholars including Francis Naumann and Alexander Nemerov.
The lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. This project is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton St., University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-6719. For more information, including hours, see http://www.georgiamuseum.org or call 706/542-GMOA (4662).