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American Art in Dialogue with Africa – 4 – Primitivism and Modernism


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This two-day symposium examines the role of Africa and its diaspora in the development of art of the United States, from nineteenth-century portraiture to American modernism; from the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary art world.

Chair: Tanya Sheehan, Associate Professor of Art, Colby College

James Smalls, Professor of Art History and Theory, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
“Féral Benga: African Muse of Modernism”

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Mia Bagneris, Assistant Professor of Art History, Newcomb Art Department, Tulane University
“Fighting the Fetish for Fétiches: Africa in the Work of Palmer Hayden”

Nicholas Miller, PhD Candidate in Art History, Northwestern University
“‘To Paint His Own People’: William H. Johnson’s Avant-Garde Gambits and the Orientalized Black Female Body”


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