Disclaimer: Due to technical difficulties, the recording of this talk did not capture video of Dr. Margaret Vendryes and Dr. Diane Mullin. The audio portion is available and the ASL interpreters who provided services for this event.
Listen to a talk by Dr. Margaret Rose Vendryes titled “An Art Commentary on Lynching: How a 1935 Exhibition Resonates Today” and a Q & A moderated by Dr. Diane Mullin, Senior Curator of the Weisman Art Museum.
In 1997, Margaret Rose Vendryes published an essay, “Hanging on Their Walls: An Art Commentary on Lynching, The Forgotten 1935 Exhibition,” in the anthology Race Consciousness: African-American Studies for the New Century. That “new” century is now a generation old. Recent protests demanding an end to violence against black people, particularly black men, are echoed in the art that populated that brief, and forgotten, 1935 exhibition.
Vendryes revisits her 1997 essay in light of Hale Woodruff’s prints in the Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s United States on view at the Weisman Art Museum, and the sensitivities given to presenting the lynching subject matter. The theme of violence against black people has engaged African American artists since 1935 in myriad, and more caustic, ways than their forefathers who boldly displayed work during the height of Jim Crow segregation in a blatantly political exhibition calling for lawmakers to end lynching.
Margaret Rose Vendryes is an art historian, visual artist, and curator. She received her BA in fine arts from Amherst College, MA in art history from Tulane University, and Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University. She taught at Princeton University and Amherst College before entering the faculty at York College & The Graduate Center of the City University of New York where she received tenure in 2006. Among several honors, Vendryes held an American Association of University Women Fellowship and was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 2008, University Press of Mississippi published Vendryes’ book Barthé, A Life in Sculpture, the first comprehensive monograph on the late African American sculptor Richmond Barthé. Vendryes has had solo exhibitions of her African Diva Project painting series centered on African aesthetics and its intersection with popular Black music and visual culture. Solo exhibitions were held Boston, NYC, and Biloxi, MS as well as in several group shows over the last two decades. Vendryes is currently Professor of Art History, Chair of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts, and Director of the Fine Arts Gallery at York College.