American Art and Visual Culture Seminar: Kymberly Pinder, Art Institute of Chicago, and Patricia Smith Scanlan, Independent Scholar

Friday, November 18, 2011

2 pm to 5 pm

Room 101

Center for American History and Culture Programs
American Art and Visual Culture Seminar

“By Any Means Necessary: Kerry James Marshall’s Comics in the Art Journal
Kymberly Pinder, Art Institute Of Chicago
During 2010 readers opened and closed each issue of the Art Journal looking at the richly drawn comics by Kerry James Marshall.  These panels specifically address the representation of African or African American art within the art world, such as the term ‘post-black’ or the prolonged closure of the African Art galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago during the construction of the new Modern Wing.  Two or more figures have a frank and impassioned discussion in each installment.  Marshall places this ‘black discourse ’ or ‘black talk,’ discussions among black people about issues relevant to them, in the Art Journal to inject a discussion about the construction and reception of black art therein.  This paper examines the success of this project in the context of Marshall’s studio and curatorial practices as a public intellectual in the traditions of such writers and artists as Antonio Gramsci, Thomas Nast, Adrian Piper, Cornell West and Aaron Magruder.

“Re-Viewing “New Century” Women: Female Illustrators and the New Woman in American Visual Culture
Patricia Smith Scanlan, Independent Scholar
This paper examines representations of the New Woman by female illustrators in popular American periodicals and texts between 1895-1910. Unconventional figures, “new century” women were often portrayed as either mannish women or American Girls, particularly in images by male illustrators, and much recent literature centers on these tropes. I argue that, by contrast, a number of Philadelphia women illustrators depicted more nuanced responses to and constructions of new womanhood. Refracted through these female artists, American new womanhood resembled not an abrupt, decisive break with the past, trail-blazed by American Girls and androgynous feminists, but rather a more complex amalgam of self-determined identities–college students, female athletes, reformers, and working women.

Commentator: Margaret Denny, University of Illinois at Chicago

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.