From the beginning of her career, Liza Lou has been drawn to the historical uses of beads and their potential to create, as the artist has described, “an art with a starting point of zero, art that grows up not knowing it’s art at all.” In 2002 she received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, which allowed her to move her studio from Los Angeles to Durban, South Africa. There she immersed herself in the long cultural tradition of beadwork among the Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele people, an experience that fundamentally transformed her understanding of the medium. Lou recently discussed her work Carbon / Solid, 2012–14, during a Voices in Contemporary Art talk on February 21.
In early 1971, Dindga McCannon, Kay Brown, and Faith Ringgold gathered a group of black women at McCannon’s Brooklyn home to discuss their common frustrations in trying to build their careers as artists. Not only did they find that juggling their creative ambitions with their roles as mothers and working heads of households left little time to make and promote their art, but they also felt excluded from the largely white downtown art world as well as from the male-dominated black art world. Out of this initial gathering came one of the first exhibitions of professional black women artists: “Where We At”—Black Women Artists, 1971. McCannon's Revolutionary Sister, 1971, was on view in We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 in 2018; the artist gave a Voices in Contemporary Art talk on February 16, 2018.
B. Ingrid Olson creates highly personal photographs and sculptural reliefs that push back against traditional modes of artmaking. Within the confines of her studio, she records her body as it shifts and relates to its surroundings. The results of this dynamic process are multidimensional objects that capture the world as seen through the eyes of an artist. In 2018, Olson created a site-specific installation, B. Ingrid Olson: Forehead and Brain, that uniquely engaged the Albright-Knox's Gallery for Small Sculpture. The Chicago-based artist discussed her practice with Godin-Spaulding Curator & Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes in a Voices in Contemporary Art talk on May 17, 2018.