Each year, the School of Visual Arts’ Contemporary Perspectives Lecture Series (CPLS) invites renowned professional artists, designers, and critics to engage with the SVA community. Undergraduate and graduate students benefit from exposure to the lecturers’ work, entering into dialogues about the art-making process, as well as benefiting from individual studio visits and critiques. Visiting artist lectures are free and open to the public.
Future lectures to be announced.
2022 - 2023
Hank Willis Thomas
November 3, 2022 • 6:30pm
Alfred L. Morse Auditorium • 602 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA
BU School of Visual Arts’ ongoing Contemporary Perspective Lecture Series returned in fall 2022, featuring well-known American artist Hank Willis Thomas in conversation with Hank Willis Thomas Studio collaborator Helen Banach. The pair spoke about Hank Willis Thomas’ work across media and his major new King Boston memorial that honors the social justice work and legacy of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. The Embrace, designed with MASS Design Group, was unveiled on the Boston Common on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January 2023, and is intended to “spark a new public conversation about how to advance racial and economic justice in Boston today.”
Hank Willis Thomas was the featured artist for Fall 2022’s Tim Hamill Visiting Artist Lecture. This important public lecture series launched in 2004 is named in honor of BU School of Visual Arts alumnus Tim Hamill. Hamill Lectures present to the SVA community leading artists who are known for working across artistic disciplines.
2019 - 2020
Spring 2020 Contemporary Perspectives Artist
In conversation with Judith K. Brodsky and Ferris Olin
Monday, April 6, 2020 • cancelled due to pandemic closures
Hosted in Partnership with Boston University Kilachand Honors College
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director. For decades, her innovative conceptual practice has utilized photography and video to explore female subjectivity through performative self-portraiture. Transforming her appearance through costumes, make-up, and role-play, Wilson uses her own image as a stand-in for myriad conceptions of femininity, simultaneously embodying and challenging social projections onto women.
Her recent work has been semi-autobiographical in nature, exploring the social effects of aging on women. Combining tongue in cheek humor and rigorous conceptual language, Wilson looks at the all too often overlooked intersection of sexism and ageism in contemporary image culture.
Wilson is the founder of Franklin Furnace Archive art organization, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the legacy of experimental and ephemeral artworks, including artist books, installation art, video, and performance art. She is a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and an Obie Award and a Bessie Award for commitment to artists’ freedom of expression. She is represented by PPOW gallery in New York City.
Judith K. Brodsky is an artist and curator. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita of the Department of Visual Arts at Rutgers University. Her artwork is in the collections of the Harvard University Museums, the Library of Congress, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Stadtsmuseum, Berlin.
Ferris Olin is a feminist scholar, curator, educator, and librarian, and a Distinguished Professor Emerita at Rutgers University. Dr. Olin founded the Margery Somers Foster Center: A Resource Center and Digital Archive on Women, Scholarship and Leadership at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library. In 2012, the Women’s Caucus for Art awarded Dr. Olin the Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
Brodsky and Olin co-founded and co-directed several initiatives and institutions, including the Institute for Women and Art, the Women Artists Archive National Directory, the Miriam Schapiro Archives on Women Artists, and the Feminist Art Project. They have co-authored two books, The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society (2012) and Junctures in Women’s Leadership: The Arts (2018).
Fall 2019 Contemporary Perspectives Artist
Wednesday, October 16, 6:30 pm
Jacob Sleeper Auditorium, 871 Commonwealth Ave.
Adam Pendleton is an interdisciplinary artist whose work mines the histories of art and of social movements to create densely layered, conceptual works. Combining painting, silkscreen, collage, video, installation and performance, his broad output is united by a monochrome aesthetic and an engagement with the limits of meaning in both language and images. In his work, historical avant-garde strategies are recontextualized to address the black experience in America. Pendleton’s Black Dada, an ongoing interdisciplinary project in publishing, painting, installation and more, addresses the possibility of a new avant-garde language for African American experience. Pendleton poses urgent yet open-ended questions about the ownership of cultural history and the legacy of Modernism in the present.
Pendleton has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Art Center in Cambridge; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; among many others. He studied at the Artspace Independent Study Program in Peitrasanta, Italy. He is represented by Pace Gallery.
2018 - 2019
Sedrick Huckaby (CFA’97)
2017 - 2018
2016 - 2017
Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley
2015 - 2016
Aaron James Draplin
2014 - 2015
Mickalene Thomas & Anna Stothart in conversation
2013 - 2014
Jerry Saltz & Roberta Smith in conversation
2012 - 2013
2011 - 2012
2010 - 2011
2009 - 2010
Kerry James Marshall
Usula von Rydingsvard in conversation with Debra Bricker Balken
Yvonne Rainer in conversation with Robert Storr
2007 - 2008
Magdalena Campos Pons
2006 - 2007
Matthew Ritchie in conversation with Jerry Saltz
Trenton Doyle Hancock
2005 - 2006
2004 - 2005
2003 - 2004
Artist lectures from 2006 and onward are available on the Boston University BUniverse archive.