Fall 2017

Past Events

September 26, 2017


The Lantern
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.
New York, NY 10027


September 26, 2017 6:30-8:00 pm


Complex Issues: South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s

Kellie Jones, Art History and Archaeology, and Farah Jasmine Griffin, English and Comparative Literature

Introduction by Deborah Cullen, The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery


Cover of book, South of Pico, by Kellie JonesIn South of Pico, Kellie Jones explores how the artists in Los Angeles's black communities during the 1960s and 1970s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. Emphasizing the importance of African American migration, as well as L.A.'s housing and employment politics, Jones shows how the work of black Angeleno artists such as Betye Saar, Charles White, Noah Purifoy, and Senga Nengudi spoke to the dislocation of migration, L.A.'s urban renewal, and restrictions on black mobility. Jones characterizes their works as modern migration narratives that look to the past to consider real and imagined futures. She also attends to these artists' relationships with gallery and museum culture and the establishment of black-owned arts spaces. With South of Pico, Jones expands the understanding of the histories of black arts and creativity in Los Angeles and beyond. 

Complex Issues explored difference, visibility, and representation through recent work by faculty of Columbia University and Columbia University School of the Arts in particular. Conversations invited challenging questions of racial, ethnic, gender, economic, sexual, religious, and cultural complexity, and how they are articulated across discipline and genre today.

This event was preceded by a special opportunity to view Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem & Modern Housing, Wallach Art Gallery, 5:30–6:30 pm.

Co-presented by the Department of Art History and Archaeology; the Center for Jazz Studies; Columbia University School of the Arts; the Institute for Research in African-American Studies; and The Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.

Books available for purchase by Book Culture.