2017 Spring Visual Arts Lecture Series

Image: Theaster Gates’ Sanctum, photo: Max McClure , 2015.

Each term, Bennington offers a program of lectures by visiting arts professionals: artists, curators, historians and critics, selected to showcase the diversity of contemporary art practices. Designed to enhance classroom activities of various disciplines in the Visual Arts and to stimulate campus dialogue around topical issues of contemporary art, these thematically connected presentations will build on each other, offering students the opportunity to explore ideas from multiple perspectives over the course of the term. Events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held in Tishman Lecture Hall on Tuesday evenings, from 7-8:30pm. Please see the schedule below for specific dates

March 7: “Gems Minerals, and Human Nature” Exhibition Opening (Usdan Gallery)

March 14: Eric Gottesman

April 4: Deborah Gans

April 18: Brooke Davis Anderson ‘84

April 25: Theaster Gates (The 2017 Adams-Tillim Lecture)

May 9: Marisa Morán Jahn

May 23: Senior Show Opening (Usdan Gallery)

March 7

“Gems Minerals, and Human Nature” Exhibition Opening (Usdan Gallery)

Opening night: March 7, 2017, 6:30 pm. Talk by Michael Dyber, 7:00 pm. Michael Dyber is a world renowned Gem Cutter. His work is featured in many top international museums and collections. Mineralogist Robert Whitmore will exhibit a special collection of gem crystals and cut stones, many from New England including Vermont. This exhibit was featured in February at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. A collection of mineral specimens from Belvidere Mountain in Eden/Lowell, Vermont will be on display from the Ken Carlsen collection, including some that were featured in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Rocks & Mineral Magazine. This exhibit will also include a special watercolor painting by world famous mineral painter Fred Wilda, two code generated video projections by design technologist Seiya Kobayash and a selection of student work from Michael Stradley’s Digital Morphology class here at Bennington College. This exhibit is organized by John Umphlett, interdisciplinary technician of Bennington College.


March 14 - Eric Gottesman

Eric Gottesman photographs, writes, makes videos, teaches and uses art as a vehicle to engage people in critical conversations about the social structures that surround them and him. He was named a 2015 Creative Capital Artist and has previously won a Fulbright Fellowship, an Artadia Award, a Light Work Residency, the Aaron Siskind Foundation Artist Fellowship, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Fellowship and other grants and awards. His work is in various collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His first book, Sudden Flowers, was published in 2014. He is the co-founder with Hank Willis Thomas of For Freedoms, the first artist-run Super PAC, which uses art to inspire deeper political engagement for citizens who want to have a greater impact on the American political landscape.Gottesman is currently a Visiting Associate Professor in Film, Photography and Video at Hampshire College, a Visiting Professor at Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and a Mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Project.

April 4 - Deborah Gans

Deborah Gans is the founder and principal architect of Gans studio, a small firm in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Her firm’s projects include architecture, industrial design, and community-based urban planning, where they often tackle extreme sites and programs. Through writing, design research and inventive public advocacy, Deborah has sought to  revitalize  a socially responsible architecture. Gans has spent her career seeking new forms for architecture’s social  engagement from  her research on the landscape of displacement  shown at the US Pavilion Venice Biennial 2008 to her  involvement in coastal resiliency post-Katrina and post-Sandy. Much of Gans’ design work focuses on the challenges of housing, especially in relation to the under served. Her public presentations range from local community visioning sessions to speeches on the international stage including Rome, Ulm, and Oxford and exhibits from The Museum of the City of New York to  RIBA. To impress these  concerns on the largest possible audience, she writes for both scholarly and popular publications and serves as Board Member for PLACES/Design Observer, Contributing Editor for BOMB magazine and Advisory Board Member for the Italian journal Boundaries. Deborah has taught for over 25 years, and is a Full Professor and former Chair of the Undergraduate School of Architecture at Pratt Institute.

Brooke Anderson #1-1 copy

April 18 - Brooke Davis Anderson ‘84

Brooke Davis Anderson is Executive Director of Prospect New Orleans/U.S. Biennial. From 2010 to 2012 Anderson was Deputy Director of Curatorial Planning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In this role, Anderson oversaw the Watts Towers Conservation and Community Collaboration, and the “Curatorial Diversity Initiative,” a Mellon-funded pilot program aiming to change the demographics of professionals in museums across the nation. From 1999 to 2010, Anderson was Founding Director and Curator of The Contemporary Center at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, where she curated countless exhibitions (most notably projects on Martin Ramirez, Henry Darger, and other contemporary self-taught artists), authored several books and numerous articles, and led the $1 million acquisition of the Henry Darger Study Center. She has been an Assistant Professor at the following institutions – Columbia University, City College of New York, and Winston-Salem State University. From 1992-1999 Anderson was director of the Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University, where she tripled the budget, audience, programming, and publicity. During her tenure in North Carolina she was recognized by the Chronicle Newspaper as “Curator of African American Art,” and was honored by an endowment established in her name to ensure the museum\\\\\\\’s future.

April 25 -Theaster Gates

The 2017 Adams-Tillim Lecture

Born in 1973 in Chicago, Theaster Gates received a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and ceramics from Iowa State University (1996), a master’s degree in fine arts and religious studies at the University of Cape Town (1998), and a master’s degree in urban planning, ceramics, and religious studies from Iowa State University (2006). His practice includes sculpture, installation, performance, and urban interventions that aim to bridge the gap between art and life. Gates works as an artist, curator, urbanist, and facilitator, and his projects attempt to instigate the creation of cultural communities by acting as catalysts for social engagement that leads to political and spatial change.

Recent solo exhibitions include Black Archive, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria; True Value, Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy; and How to Build a House Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (all 2016); The Black Monastic, Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2014); 13th Ballad, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, U.S. (2013); The Listening Room, Seattle Art Museum, U.S. (2011); andTo Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave the Potter, Milwaukee Art Museum, U.S. (2010). Current and upcoming projects include But To Be A Poor Race, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, U.S. through February 25, 2017 and an exhibition at White Cube Hong Kong from March 21-May 20, 2017.

His work has been included in group shows including the Whitney Biennial, New York, U.S. (2010); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012); The Spirit of Utopia, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England (2013); When Stars Collide, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, U.S. (2014); Gone Are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, as part of All The World’s Futures, the 56th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale, Italy; and Three or Four Shades of Blue, as part of SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms, 14th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (both 2015).

Gates has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kurt Schwitters Prize (2017); Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for Social Progress (2015); the Artes Mundi 6 Prize (2015); the inauguralVera List Center Prize for Art and Politics (2013); United States Artists Fellowship (2012); Graham Foundation Architecture Award (2012, 2009); and Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue Award (2008). He is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Rebuild Foundation and professor in the department of visual arts at the University of Chicago. Gates lives and works in Chicago.

The Adams–Tillim Lecture was established in 1992 by Bennington alumnus David Beitzel ’83 in honor of two retired Bennington College visual arts faculty members, Pat Adams and the late Sidney Tillim.  


May 9 - Marisa Morán Jahn

An artist of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn founded Studio REV-, a non-profit organization whose key projects include El Bibliobandido (a masked, story-eating bandit who terrorizes little kids until they offer him stories they’ve written), Video Slink Uganda (experimental films bootlegged into Uganda’s black market), Contratados (a Yelp! for migrant workers), the NannyVan (a bright orange mobile design lab on wheels), an app for domestic workers that CNN named as “one of 5 apps to change the world”, and the CareForce (a transmedia public art project, webseries with Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yael Melamede, and mobile studio — the CareForce One — amplifying the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce — caregivers). Jahn’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art Forum, BBC, Univision, CNN; awarded grants from Creative Capital, Sundance Institute New Frontier Labs, Rockefeller Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, MAP Fund (Doris Duke Charitable Foundation), NEA; and showcased at The White House in D.C., Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Studio Museum of Harlem, and more. A graduate of MIT and MIT Open Doc affiliate, she currently teaches at MIT and The New School.