The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU, El Museo del Barrio, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Institute of Fine Arts at NYU are proud to present a panel conversation on the life and work of Afro-Cuban artist Belkis Ayón. This conversation organized by Professor Edward Sullivan (IFA NYU) is inspired by the recent exhibit NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón on view at El Museo del Barrio until November 5th.
About the exhibit:
This landmark retrospective is the first in the U.S. dedicated to the work of Belkis Ayón (1967–1999)—the late Cuban visual artist who mined the founding myth of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society Abakuá to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. Ayón was known for her signature technique of collography, a printing process in which materials of various textures and absorbencies are collaged onto a cardboard matrix and then run through the press with paper. Her narratives, many of which were produced at very large scale by joining multiple printed sheets, are imbued with an air of mystery, in part due to her deliberately austere palette of shades and subtle tones of black, white, and grey. For a black Cuban woman, both her ascendency in the contemporary printmaking world and her investigation of a powerful all-male brotherhood were notable and bold. Nkame, a sweeping overview of her most fertile period of artistic creativity, covers Ayón’s graphic production from 1986 until her untimely passing. This exhibition was organized by the Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, Cuba, in collaboration with the Fowler Museum at UCLA.
David H. Brown, author, The Light Inside: Abakua Society Arts and Cuban Cultural History (2003)
Yesenia Fernandez-Selier, performer, and Media, Culture and Communication PhD candidate at New York University-Steinhardt
Carole and Alex Rosenberg, Collectors, Art Appraisers
Blanca Serrano, art historian, Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts
Edward Sullivan, Deputy Director, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institutue of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences
David H. Brown
David H. Brown specializes in the arts, cultures, and religions of the African Diaspora. Over the course of his career, he has conducted nearly twenty years of field and archival work in Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad, and the U.S. He is the author of Santeria Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2003, and of The Light Inside: Abakua Society Arts and Cuban Cultural History, a groundbreaking study on the secret Afro-Cuban Abakúa society published by Smithsonian Books also in 2003. David is the founder and manager of Folkcuba.com, LLC. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1990.
Carole and Alex J. Rosenberg
Carole Rosenberg is the President of The American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, a non-governmental, non-profit institution that helps emerging Cuban contemporary artists to engage with international art communities and markets. Alex J. Rosenberg is a certified Senior Appraiser of Personal Property and Fine Art by the Appraisers Association of America and the American Society of Appraisers, specialized in modern and contemporary art. He is the author of An Approach to Advanced Problems in Appraising Art with a special focus on Cuba, published in 2011, and of La ciencia, el arte y la actividad comercial de la tasación de obras de arte, published in 2010.
Blanca Serrano specializes in discourses of intellectual and manual labor in contemporary art from Cuba. As an independent curator, her upcoming projects include the exhibition Bitter Bites: Tracing the Fruit Market in the Global South, which will open at Cuchifritos Gallery in New York on October 27. Her academic writing has been featured in the books From Craftivism to Craftwashing: The Politics of Craft in the Global Economy, published in 2017, and New Territories: Design, Craft, and Art from Latin America, published in 2014. Blanca received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts New York University, and recently joined the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art.
Edward J. Sullivan
Edward J. Sullivan is the Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art and the Deputy Director of the Institute of Fine Arts New York University. He has developed extensive research and curated several shows on the arts and visual cultures of the Americas from a transnational perspective, with a particular concentration in Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay. Edward is the author of From San Juan to Paris and Back: Francisco Oller and Caribbean Art in the Era of Impressionism, published by Yale University Press in 2014, and The Language of Objects in the Art of the Americas, published also by Yale in 2007, among many other books and catalogs.
The event is free and open to the public. Photo ID required to enter building.