Katherine Tsanoff Brown Lecture featuring Dr. Krista Thompson

“Tom Lloyd, Black Art Study, and the Art Workers' Coalition”

In January 1969, the electronic light sculptor Tom Lloyd became a founding member of the Art Workers’ Coalition, a group of artists and critics who pressured New York’s mainstream museums to be more inclusive in the range of artists they exhibited and collected. This talk examines Lloyd’s labors within and beyond the group. I focus on his use of Black Art Study, his engagement with study as a site, tactic, and medium to center Black and Puerto Rican art and revolutionize museums. Art historical considerations of information and research-based art and social practice may be expanded by exploring Lloyd’s (and his collaborator, Faith Ringgold’s) use of polls and surveys, his efforts to start a center devoted to Black and Puerto Rican art at the Museum of Modern art, and his design of neighborhood Illuminated Sound Environments, which were attentive to the aesthetics of Black life.
[Photographer unknown, Photograph of Tom Lloyd, 1968.]
Krista Thompson is the Mary Jane Crowe Professor of Art History, and affiliated faculty in the Department of Black Studies and the Department of Performance Studies. She researches and teaches modern and contemporary art and visual culture of the Africa diaspora and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on photography, photographic archives, and lens-based practices. She is the author of "An Eye for the Tropics" (Duke University Press, 2006), "Developing Blackness" (The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, 2008), and "Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice" (Duke University Press, 2015), recipient of the Charles Rufus Morey Award for distinguished book in the history of art from the College Art Association (2016), the Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award for theoretical and methodological contributions to Caribbean Studies from the Caribbean Studies Association (2016), and the James A. Porter Book Award in African American Art History from the James Porter Colloquium (2019). She is the founder of the Institute of the Unarchived, a platform supporting privately-held photographic and videographic archives related to the Caribbean. In April, 2023, Thompson was elected into the American Society of Arts and Sciences.