Collecting Art History Symposium

Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 10:00am5:00pm

Art Building, Rm. 1.102

Free and Open to the Public

Still image of Catlett's work

On Saturday, February 22, 2014, the University of Texas at Austin will host a symposium titled Collecting Art History. The context of the symposium will be Art History, an exhibition in the Visual Arts Center in the Department of Art and Art History, that presents selections from the collection of Rudolph Green and Joyce Christian, a highly significant body of work located in Austin, Texas which includes a number of pieces by key African-American and African Diaspora artists of the 20th century.

Collecting Art History focuses on the invaluable work by collectors of African-American and African Diaspora art—from amateur or modest collectors through to professional collectors and institutions—in contributing to the building of ever more substantial histories of African-American and African Diaspora art. The symposium invites collectors, scholars, museum employees, and others with a range of interests in the collecting and historicizing of African-American and African Diaspora art to participate in this lively discussion.

A fascinating group of scholars from around the nation who are all making important contributions to the fields related to African-American and African Diaspora art will speak at the symposium. These include Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (Spelman College Museum of Fine Art); Professor Kirsten Buick (University of New Mexico); Professor Bridget Cooks (University of California, Irvine); Professor Leslie King-Hammond (Maryland Institute College of Art); Professor Michael Ray Charles (University of Texas at Austin); and Dr. Mora Beauchamp-Byrd (Interim Executive Director at The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History). 

Each of these speakers will offer engaging and valuable insights into different aspects of the ways in which collectors of African-American and African Diaspora art—both private and institutional—have made enormous contributions to the scholarship reflecting the histories of these works, and the ways in which one can play a part in this invaluable endeavor, either as active participants and collectors or simply as visitors to galleries and museums.


9:30   Coffee and pastries

10:00   Opening Remarks Rudolph Green
Each speaker of the day will be introduced by Dr. Cherise Smith, Director, John L. Warfield Center for African & African American Studies, and Associate Professor of Art History, University of Texas at Austin

10:15   Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum Dr. Bridget R. Cooks

10:55   African American Art and the Public Trust Dr. Andrea Barnwell

11:35   The Evidence of Things Not Seen: Isaac Otchere’s Election of 2008 Dr. Kirsten Pai Buick

12:15   Always Especially Treasured: Arthur Bedou’s Photographs of African American Catholicism in New Orleans Dr. Mora Beauchamp-Byrd

1:00   Break for Lunch
Join us at the Warfield Center to view Historical Present, an exhibition of works by Juan Capistran and Ricky Yanas, and to enjoy a casual luncheon. After the luncheon, you can explore the exhibition Art History: Selections from the Green-Christian Collection, presented in conjunction with today's symposium located upstairs in the Visual Arts Center. In addition, a small display of related archival materials are on view in the first floor foyer of the Fine Arts Library.

2:30   Priceless: Collecting Legacies/Preserving Heritage of the African American Experience Leslie King-Hammond

3:30   Michael Ray Charles, in conversation with Rudolph Green

4:00   Closing remarks

5:00   End

Download the full program of events here.

For more information about attending this conference, please contact Xochi Solis at

Generous support for the Collecting Art History Symposium comes from the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and the Ford Foundation.

Presented in collaboration with the Department of Art and Art History and in conjunction with the exhibition Art History: Selections from the Green Christian Collection on view January 31 – March 8

Find out how to get discounted parking to attend this VAC event!