Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Literary Talks Celebrating Recent Work by Julia Bryan-Wilson
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Celebrating Recent Work by Julia Bryan-Wilson

Louise Nevelson’s Sculpture: Drag, Color, Join, Face
by Julia Bryan-Wilson

In this radical rethinking of the art of Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), Julia Bryan-Wilson provides a long-overdue critical account of a signature figure in postwar sculpture. Nevelson, a Ukrainian-born Jewish immigrant, persevered in the male-dominated New York art world. Nonetheless, her careful procedures of construction—in which she assembled found pieces of wood into elaborate structures, usually painted black—have been little studied.

Organized around a series of key operations in Nevelson’s own process (dragging, coloring, joining, and facing), the book comprises four slipcased, individually bound volumes that can be read in any order. Both form and content thus echo Nevelson’s own modular sculptures, the gridded boxes of which the artist herself rearranged. Exploring how Nevelson’s making relates to domesticity, racialized matter, gendered labor, and the environment, Bryan-Wilson offers a sustained examination of the social and political implications of Nevelson’s art. The author also approaches Nevelson’s sculptures from her own embodied subjectivity as a queer feminist scholar. She forges an expansive art history that places Nevelson’s assemblages in dialogue with a wide array of marginalized worldmaking and underlines the artist’s proclamation of allegiance to blackness.

About the Author

Julia Bryan-Wilson is a Professor of LGBTQ+ Art History and core faculty in Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender. Her research interests include feminist and queer theory, theories of artistic labor, performance and dance, production/fabrication, craft histories, photography, video, visual culture of the nuclear age, and collaborative practices. She is the author of four books: Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (University of California, 2009); Art in the Making: Artists and Their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson, Thames & Hudson, 2016); Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago, 2017); and Louise Nevelson’s Sculpture: Drag, Color, Join, Face (Yale, 2023). She is the editor of OCTOBER Files: Robert Morris (MIT Press, 2013).

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Event Contact Information:
Erin Fae


Mar 26 2024


6:15 pm - 8:00 pm


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Columbia University - The Heyman Center
74 Morningside Dr, New York, NY 10027

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