Fairfield University Art Museum Announces Fall Exhibition Series

Fairfield University Art Museum Announces Fall Exhibition Series

Roberto Lugo, Cup on Saucer, 2021, stoneware. Courtesy of the artist and Wexler Gallery.

Roberto Lugo, Cup on Saucer, 2021, stoneware. Courtesy of the artist and Wexler Gallery.

On view from September 18 to December 18, the museum will present three exhibitions focusing on issues of racial justice, racism, police reform, and Black history in the United States. 

The Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM) has announced three upcoming fall exhibitions, on view September 18 through December 18, focusing on issues of racial justice, racism, police reform, and Black history in the United States. Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects will be presented in the museum’s Walsh Gallery, while two concurrent exhibitions Roberto Lugo: New Ceramics and Robert Gerhardt: Mic Check will be presented in the Museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries. 

“This timely exhibition series reflects the museum’s commitment to uplifting the voices of Black artists," said Carey Mack Weber, the Frank and Clara Meditz Executive Director of the museum, "and to creating an engaging and safe space to consider the issues surrounding systemic racism in our communities. These are difficult things to talk about, but we look forward to inviting all of our different audiences to join us in moving the conversations forward into action.” 

Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects includes recent photographic and video works questioning stereotypes that associate Black bodies with criminality. The Walsh Gallery exhibition is comprised of three associated works, two of which, "All the Boys" and "The Usual Suspects," examine the racial stereotypes at the heart of deaths of Black men and women at the hands of police, and confront the viewer with the fact of judicial inaction. The third piece in the exhibition is "People of a Darker Hue," a meditative compilation of video, found footage, narration, and performance commemorating these deaths.

Considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists, Carrie Mae Weems has investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power. During this time, Weems has developed a complex body of art employing photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video. Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects was organized by LSU Museum of Art. The project, which includes a fully illustrated catalogue, is a collaboration between the LSU College of Art + Design, the LSU School of Art and LSU Museum of Art.

On view in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries, will be Roberto Lugo: New Ceramics. Self-described “ghetto potter” Roberto Lugo uses porcelain, a medium traditionally reserved for the wealthy, to explore inequality and racial and social justice. His work often takes familiar shapes drawn from European and Asian ceramic traditions, including ginger jars, amphorae, and teapots, but their hand-painted surfaces take inspiration from street art and feature contemporary iconography, including celebrations of Black and Latino figures. A number of the pieces in this exhibition, which features all-new work, also incorporate gun parts from decommissioned handguns obtained in a 2018 gun buyback program in Hartford, Connecticut, sponsored by #UNLOAD Foundation.

Lugo is an assistant professor of ceramics at Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. He was the recipient of the 2019 Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, and received a fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in 2019.

Also on view in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries will be Robert Gerhardt: Mic Check, a photography project by photojournalist and writer Robert Gerhardt, who relied on the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to track and document protests in New York City over the last seven years. This remarkable body of work includes photographs of protests from 2014 through 2021 across New York: in massive crowds, in rain and sun, during night and day, in motion during marches and stationary during speeches, and in the past year — in the midst of a global pandemic. These candid works capture the passion, righteous anger, and frustration of the protestors. The title comes from the shouts of “Mic check!” which mobilized protestors into a game of repeat-after-me, a technique that united the crowds and enabled the spread of the speakers' comments and instructions without amplification.

Museum visitors will also be able to view VOTE! Black Lives Matter (Connecticut 2020 & 1849), a short film produced by the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community, created with filmmaker Pedro Bermudez. Using Chefren Gray’s photography from a Freeman Center PopUp Exhibit, Freeman Center Arts Ambassador Shanna Melton narrates this moving call to action. The photos are from a 2014 Washington, D.C., demonstration attended by a Bridgeport resident, and a 2016 demonstration in Bridgeport.

Generous funding in support of these exhibitions has been provided by the #UNLOAD Foundation. The Eliza and Mary Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport is a Community Partner for the exhibitions.

 

Extensive virtual programming accompanying these exhibitions will include the following (additional programming forthcoming):  

Friday, September 17 | 6 p.m.

Opening Conversation: Courtney Taylor (Curator and Director of Public Programs, Louisiana State University Museum of Art) and Dalila Scruggs (Educator and Curator, Brooklyn Museum)

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects


Part of the Edwin L. Weisl Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation

Tuesday, September 21 | 5 p.m.

Artist Talk: Roberto Lugo

Wednesday, September 29 | 5 p.m.

Lecture: "Radical Vessels: History and the Pottery of Roberto Lugo"

Andrew Davenport, PhD candidate, Georgetown University

Monday, October 4 | 7 p.m.

Film Screening: Black Art: In the Absence of Light (HBO, 2021)

Thursday, October 7 | 5 p.m.

Artist Talk: Robert Gerhardt


Thursday, October 14 | 11 a.m.

Artist in Focus: Roberto Lugo, Jackie Robinson, 2021, earthenware

Michelle DiMarzo, PhD, Curator of Education and Academic Engagement

Thursday, October 28 | 7 p.m.

Panel: "The Art of Perception: Look Closely to Save a Life"

Community panel members TBD 

Co-sponsored by #UNLOAD Foundation

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Last modified: 06-17-21 9:17 AM

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