The Italian context is one with history that connects its territory to the African continent dating back as far as history has been recorded. There is a range of art historical standards that keep us from appreciating and recognizing these longstanding presences and there is much confusion as to the positionality of museums and other institutions that uphold these standards and define Italianness as in conflict with Blackness. This lecture will address these issues through a Tuscan saying “prendere fischi per fiaschi”. The lecture is geared towards addressing cultural confusion, displacement and de-orientation as practices that are needed to engage and find our own relationship to art history in Florence and to the broader Italian context, rendering inclusive the narratives that often exclude all that fall beyond its narrow gates. The concepts that ground notions of Value, Authority, Legitimacy and Tradition will be examined in relation to the history and contemporary culture of Florence in dialogue with a range of research projects created by Black history Month Florence as a form of curatorial activism.
Format: 30-40 minutes of pre-recorded talk followed by live Q&A.
Justin Randolph Thompson is a new media artist, organizer and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Living between Italy and the US since 2001, Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence. Thompson's work and scholarship engages local communities as living yet fleeting monuments. Thompson teaches art at several universities and develops strategies for the initiation of annual and biennial cultural projects of international collaboration. His art has been exhibited internationally in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Reina Sofia, and the American Academy in Rome. Thompson is the recipient of numerous awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Grant and a Visual Artist Grant from the Marcelino Botin Foundation.
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