Conversations on Deana Lawson: Deborah Willis and Oluremi Onabanjo
ICA/Boston will present a series of intimate and conversational talks in conjunction with Deana Lawson, the first museum survey dedicated to the work of this important artist. Drawing on a wide spectrum of photographic languages, including the family album, studio portraiture, staged tableaux, and appropriated images, Lawson’s highly staged, large-format color photographs depict individuals, couples, and groups in both domestic and public settings, constructing narratives of family, love, intimacy, and desire. Rather than creating documentary or biographical pictures, Lawson makes images that tell stories to reclaim an expansive Black experience. This series of dialogues offers audiences an invitation to delve deeper into Lawson’s practice and the artist’s unique approach to her craft. Each conversation will explore Lawson’s work within a longer history of photography, frames of representation, and Black visual cultures.
Oluremi C. Onabanjo is an Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The former Director of Exhibitions and Collections for The Walther Collection, she has organized exhibitions across Africa, Europe, and North America. In 2017, she co-curated Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art, and edited its accompanying publication (Steidl), which was shortlisted for an ICP Infinity Award in Critical Writing and Research (2018). Onabanjo is a member of the curatorial team for the 2022 Triennial of Photography Hamburg, and lectures internationally on photography and curatorial practice. Her writing appears in Aperture, The New Yorker, The PhotoBook Review, Tate Etc., as well as publications by The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art, the RISD Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, amongst others. A 2020 Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grantee, Onabanjo is the editor of the forthcoming photobook, Marilyn Nance: Last Day in Lagos (2022).
Deborah Willis, PhD, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, among others. Professor Willis’s curated exhibitions include: “Framing Moments in the KIA,” “Migrations and Meanings in Art”, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits” at the International Center of Photography; Out of Fashion Photography; Framing Beauty at the Henry Art Gallery and “Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments” at Indiana University.
December 2, 2022, 6–7 PM
Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, ICA/Boston, with Gloria Sutton, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History, Northeastern University
January 20, 2022, 6–7 PM
Deborah T. Willis, University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, with Oluremi Onabanjo, Associate Curator in the Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art
February 10, 2022, 7 PM
The Artist’s Voice: Deana Lawson with Tina Campt, Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University