Sam Fox School to host architecture and art symposium March 6

The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts will host a daylong symposium on “Architecture, Art and the Experience of Blackness” Thursday, March 6, in Steinberg Auditorium.

The symposium will bring together more than a dozen speakers whose creative and scholarly works intersect with issues of race and identity. The event will provide an opportunity for critical reflection on the role that race plays in the creation and interpretation of art and architecture.

Willie Cole, *Sole Brother 1*
Willie Cole, *Sole Brother 1,* 2007. Shoes, wire, washers, screws and shelf. 18″x18″x19″. Courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York. Photo: Jason Mandella. High-res version available upon request.

“This is the first in a series of planned symposia that will explore issues of race, gender and ethnicity as they relate to the practice of architecture and the visual arts,” said Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts. “These are critically important topics and we’re thrilled by the positive response we’ve received from all of our community partners.”

The symposium will begin with a coffee reception at 9:30 a.m., followed at 10 a.m. by opening remarks from Colangelo, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and University trustee Ronald L. Thompson.

The first panel, “The (Dis)Location of Race,” will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Moderator will be Igor Marjanovic, assistant professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School.

Presenters include Willie Cole, an acclaimed artist whose work is currently featured in the exhibition “On the Margins,” on view through April 21 in the Sam Fox School’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Curated by Colangelo, the exhibition explores the impact of war and disaster on the work of contemporary artists.

Other presenters include Darell Fields, associate professor of architecture at the University of Arkansas and editor of the journal APPX, which explores black modernity within the context of architectural discourse; and Kymberly Pinder, chair of the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the Art Institute of Chicago, whose research focuses on critical race theory in visual culture.

Following a break for lunch, events will resume at 1 p.m. with remarks by Bruce Lindsey, the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration and dean of the Sam Fox School’s College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design. A practicing architect, Lindsey from 2002-06 served as head of Auburn University’s acclaimed Rural Studio, helping students to design and build innovative “charity houses” that were then donated to impoverished local families.

The afternoon session, titled “Practices of Centers and Margins,” will begin immediately after Lindsey’s remarks. Moderator will be Tebogo Schultz, an architect with Christner, Inc., and vice-president of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Presenters include painter Radcliffe Bailey, whose works are included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute and the Smithsonian Institute, among many others; and Craig Barton, chair of the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, whose practice focuses on helping African-American communities preserve and develop cultural resources.

Other presenters include Yolande Daniels, assistant professor of architecture at Columbia University and co-founder of the studio SUMO; and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, a non-collecting museum dedicated to contemporary art.

At 3:30 p.m. shuttles will ferry participants a half-mile east of campus to the Saint Louis Art Museum, where Andrew Walker, curator of American art, will present a gallery talk on the exhibition “African American Abstraction: St. Louis Connections.” On view through March 23, the exhibition highlights abstract works by four artists — Oliver Jackson, John Rozelle, Phillip J. Hampton and Michael Marshall — who have lived and worked in the St. Louis area.

Participants will return to campus at 5:30 p.m. for a final roundtable discussion — titled “Culture and its Discontents” — featuring all of the day’s speakers. Moderator will be Krista Thompson, assistant professor of art history at Northwestern University. Thompson teaches courses on race and representation and the visual cultures of colonialism, among other topics, and is currently preparing a book about visual culture and black youth.

The symposium concludes at 7 p.m. with a reception in the Kemper Art Museum.

“Architecture, Art and the Experience of Blackness” is cosponsored by HOK, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis American and Grice Group Architects. Additional support is provided by the University’s Office of Diversity Initiatives as well as by the African & African American Studies Program and the Department of Art History & Archaeology, both in Arts & Sciences.

All events are free and open to the public but advance registration is required.

For more information or to register, call 935-6597 or e-mail