IRAAS/Art History Talk
March 22, 2023 6:30pm est
“To Restore and Reframe: James Van Der Zee’s Engagement with Photography after the Harlem Renaissance Era”
Emilie Boone-Assistant Professor of African American/African Diaspora Arts- Art History; New York University
Location: Rm 612 Schermerhorn Hall
ColumbiaUniversity , New York
Registration is required
Often mentioned as an afterthought to exceptional Harlem Renaissance studio portraits, the body of work considered within this lecture illustrates the expansive scope of photographic production that characterizes James Van Der Zee’s long career. During the 1940s and 1950s, Van Der Zee invited his clients to bring or send him photographs, made by others, for the purpose of reprinting, resizing, or adding enhancements to the surface. In turn, he collaborated – not with a sitter, but with a client and a photograph by another photographer already in existence. These photographs reveal aspects of Van Der Zee’s photographic practice that remain unfamiliar to canonical histories of photography, namely, because they trouble the veracity of each photograph’s pedigree. They also offer an ideal opportunity to consider the limitations of Van Der Zee’s iconicity and the hierarchies of value fundamental to art history.
Emilie Boone is an Assistant Professor of African American/African Diaspora Arts in the Department of Art History at New York University. Her research and teaching focus on the art and visual culture of the African Diaspora. The book A Nimble Arc: James Van Der Zee and Photography is forthcoming in 2023 from Duke University Press.
Presented in c-osponsorship by
Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) - Columbia University
and The Department of Art History & Archaeology - Columbia University