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Lectures in Art History: Rebecca VanDiver, Vanderbilt University

April 11 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


“States of Emergency: Ephemera and Ephemerality in African American Art, 1965-2000”

Zoom (Virtual)
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“Seize the Time!” urged Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Searle, compelling Black activists to capture the politically and racially charged late 1960s and capitalize on its potential for radical revolution. The slogan insinuated that the moment could be seized—grasped, appropriated, and manipulated—in service of Black activism. How African American artists “seize[d] the time” via form and content, both then and now, remains a vital question for art historians. In this lecture, Prof. VanDiver queries what role ephemerality, the transient or fugitive, plays in African American fine art during periods of intense racial unrest.

Dr. Rebecca VanDiver is an associate professor of African American art and a current Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow at Vanderbilt University. She received an A.B. in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University before obtaining an M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from Duke University. VanDiver’s research and teaching centers on modern and contemporary African American art. She is particularly committed to writing the art histories of Black women and more recently considering African American artistic engagements with ephemeral print. She is the author of Designing a New Tradition: Loïs Mailou Jones and the Aesthetics of Blackness (Penn State University Press, 2020), a winner of the 2023 James A. Porter Book Award in African American Art History. Her scholarship has appeared in Art Journal, American Art, Archives of American Art Journal, Callaloo, and numerous exhibition catalogs.

Contact: Lyneise Williams,

Image: Charles White, Wanted Poster #14a, 1970, Lithograph, printed by Harry Westlund and the Tamarind Lithography Workshop


April 11
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


UNC-CH Art and Art History
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