Faith Ringgold, “The Bitter Nest, Part IV: The Letter,” 1988. Installation view: “Faith Ringgold: American People,” New Museum, New York, 2022. Courtesy the artist and ACA Galleries, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni.
“On Faith: The Written Word” addresses Faith Ringgold’s enduring impact as an author, as well as the need to ground conversations about Black aesthetics and language in particular values. This interdisciplinary panel features speakers whose creative work extends across art, dance, writing, and curatorial practice. Panelists Joy Bivins, Director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library; curator Stephanie Sparling Williams; and artist and writer Kandis Williams discuss their practices in relation to Ringgold’s work and legacy with moderator Andrew Westover, Keith Haring Director of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum.
Joy Bivins was named the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in June 2021. Bivins joined the Schomburg—a division of the New York Public Library and leading repository for archival materials related to African, African diaspora, and African American life, history and culture—in 2020 as Associate Director of Collections and Research Services. Ms. Bivins has nearly two decades of experience working in the cultural sector and previously served as the Chief Curator of the International African American Museum, in Charleston, SC, and the Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Chicago History Museum.
Stephanie Sparling Williams is Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum. She previously served as Associate Curator at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and as a visiting lecturer in art history and African American studies at Mount Holyoke College. With academic and curatorial specializations in American art and Black feminist theory, Sparling Williams published Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language with University of California Press in 2021. Sparling Williams received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in American Studies and Ethnicity, as well as a certificate in Visual Studies, from the University of California, and earned a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Fine Art from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Andrew Westover is the Keith Haring Director of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. In this role, Westover leads a team that connects diverse stakeholders with contemporary art and ideas through conversations, gallery experiences, publications, residencies, partnerships, and community-specific programs. Westover’s previous positions include posts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of Wildlife Art, and Phoenix Art Museum. They began their career as a classroom educator and, prior to museums, worked for schools, districts, and universities across the United States and abroad. A regular guest speaker on education and inclusion, Westover teaches at the City University of New York (CUNY) and holds an M.A. in Religion from Claremont School of Theology, an M.Ed. from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in education and ethics from Harvard University.
Kandis Williams (b. 1985, Baltimore, MD) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Williams has presented solo exhibitions at 52 Walker, New York, NY; Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada, among others. In 2021, Williams was the recipient of the prestigious Mohn Award, honoring artistic excellence. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany; Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin, Germany; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; The Huntington Library, Los Angeles, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; and The Underground Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Williams’s work is included in numerous public collections, including MoMA, New York, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, among others. She received her BFA from The Cooper Union, New York in 2009.
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