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Lecture

Dr Adrienne L Childs and Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody in conversation

18:00–19:00

Online

Dr Adrienne L. Childs and Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody will be discussing the many subjects of the current Henry Moore Institute exhibition, The Colour of Anxiety: Race, Sexuality and Disorder in Victorian Sculpture. These include Victorian literature, race and art, and the figure of the octoroon in Victorian sculpture. They will also talk about Victorian attitudes to race and sexuality, with a particular focus on the Black female slave.

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About the speakers

Dr Adrienne L. Childs is an independent art historian and curator. She is an adjunct curator at The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, and in 2022 was the recipient of the Driskell Prize in African American Art awarded by the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

Childs curated the exhibition Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition at the Phillips Collection in 2020. The exhibition catalogue Riffs and Relations won the 2020 James A Porter and David C. Driskell Book Award in African American Art History.

Her current book project is Ornamental Blackness: The Black Figure in European Decorative Arts, forthcoming from Yale University Press. She has held fellowships at the Lunder Institute at the Colby College Museum of Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), The Hutchins Center at Harvard University, The Clark Art Institute and the David C. Driskell Center.

Her co-curated exhibitions have included The Black Figure in the European Imaginary at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, and Creative Spirit: The Art of David C. Driskell. She contributed to The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V from Harvard University Press. Childs is coeditor of the book Blacks in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century, Routledge. Her scholarly interests focus on the relationship between race and representation in European and American fine and decorative arts.

Jennifer DeVere Brody (she/her) holds a BA in Victorian Studies from Vassar College and a PhD in English and American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, which awarded her the Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service.

Her scholarly essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Signs, Genders, Callaloo, Screen, Text and Performance Quarterly and other edited volumes. Her books, Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (1998) and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (2008), both published by Duke University Press, each discuss sexuality, gender, racialization, visual studies, Black Studies and performance.

She was the President of the Women and Theatre Program, held the Weinberg College of Board of Visitors Professorship at Northwestern University and co-edited the journal GLQ with C. Riley Snorton and worked with the Ford and Mellon Foundations. She received a Monette-Horwitz Prize for Independent Research Against Homophobia, a grant from the Royal Society for theatre research, and a Ford Postdoctoral fellowship. This year she won fellowships from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation. She co-edited a re-publication of James Baldwin’s illustrated book, Little Man, Little Man, and is writing a new book, Moving Stones, about the work of sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907).

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The Colour of Anxiety: Race, Sexuality and Disorder in Victorian Sculpture
Charles Cordier, Vénus Africaine 1852, bronze. Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Exhibition

The Colour of Anxiety: Race, Sexuality and Disorder in Victorian Sculpture

Main Galleries
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds