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Art & Strategic Resilience

The University of Arizona School of Art Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series, 2017-2018
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Wafaa Bilal  
September 21, 2017, 1:30 PM
Crowder Hall, UA Music Bldg. Rm. 130

Alfredo Jaar  
September 21, 2017, 5:00
UA Center for Creative Photography 108

Jordana Moore Saggese   
October 5, 2017, 5:30pm
UA Center for Creative Photography, Rm. 108

Andres Hernandez   
November 14, 2017, 5:30pm
UA Center for Creative Photography, Rm. 108

Michael Rakowitz   
February 8, 2018, 6:00pm
UA Center for Creative Photography, Rm. 108

WENDY RED STAR   
March 1, 2018, 5:30pm
UA Center for Creative Photography, Rm. 108

Jordana Moore Saggese
Thursday, October 5, 2017, 5:30 PM  |  Crowder Hall, UA Music Bldg. Rm. 130
Lecture: The Black Athletic Body in Contemporary Art



Lyle Ashton Harris, Memoirs of Hadrian # 22, 2002. Monochromatic dye diffusion transfer print (Polaroid), 24 x 20 in.

In the American context, sport has always been more than a demonstration of athleticism or skill. Many art historians have studied the links between athletics and aesthetics, looking specifically at how discourses of masculinity converged with artistic expression in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yet, in most cases, any analysis of masculine identity inspired by these works remains largely white, middle-class, and heterosexual. This lecture shifts the discourse around sports and fine arts to ask how and to what ends issues of race, gender, and sexuality intersect in images of black athletes. Looking closely at the work of several artists from the nineteenth century photographs to the near present,I will demonstrate how the black athlete—particularly for black, male, queer artists—complicates our readings of these bodies. I will show how black contemporary artists specifically exploit the malleability of the image of masculinity to force a consideration of the dynamic nature of blackness itself.

Bio: Jordana Moore Saggese is Associate Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts, where she also teaching in the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies. Trained as an art historian, her work focuses on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on the expressions and theorizations of blackness.

Saggese's writing has appeared in Exposure: The Journal of the Society for Photographic Education, The International Review of African-American Art, nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and Art Journal. She has published work online for Artforum, CAA Reviews, and smarthistory.org. Her first book Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art, which reexamines the painting practice of the often-mythologized 1980s art star Jean-Michel Basquiat, was published by the University of California Press in the summer of 2014 and won the PEN Center USA Award for Exceptional First Book.

Saggese's newest research concerns representations of the black athletic body in popular culture and fine art of the twentieth century. In 2018 she will take over the position of Editor-in-Chief for the College Art Association's Art Journal.

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