Lecture at Christie's: "Identity Politics: Art of the 1990s"


For the third consecutive year, Laura Auricchio was invited to lecture to students in Christie’s Master’s program in Modern Art, Connoisseurship and the History of the Art Market on the controversial American art of the 1990s that incorporporated issues of race, gender and sexuality into works of all media. Opening with a clip from Spike Lee’s groundbreaking film Do The Right Thing (1989), Auricchio set the stage by discussing some of the highly charged issues that influenced the production and reception of art in the 1990s — the AIDS crisis, the accusations of obscenity that swirled around projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and violent inter-racial incidents in Howard Beach, Crown Heights, and Los Angeles. Against this background she presented several of the watershed exhibitions that put “identity politics” on the art world map, including the Whitney Biennial (1993), the Whitney’s “Black Male” show (1994), and “In a Different Light” (1995), presented at the University of California – Berkeley. The lecture examined art by such major figures as Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, and Fred Wilson, as well as the debates that encircled these figures and shows in both the general interest and the art world press.

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