Sam Fox School announces fall Public Lecture Series

Events include Ai Weiwei Q&A; ‘Decoys & Depictions’ symposium; architect Yvonne Farrell

Ai Weiwei, “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn,” 2015. LEGO bricks, triptych, 94 ½ x 78 ¾ x 1 3/16” (240 x 200 x 3 cm) each. (Image: Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio)

Ai Weiwei is among the most rigorous, challenging and outspoken artists in the world today. This fall, the renowned Chinese dissident will discuss his wide-ranging practice as part of a public Q&A at Washington University in St. Louis.

The talk, which will take place Sept. 26, is presented as part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ fall Public Lecture Series. In all, the series will feature eight presentations by internationally renowned artists, architects, art historians and designers.

Patrick Gmür (Photo: Beat Schweizer)

Events begin Sept. 19 with Swiss architect Patrick Gmür, founding partner of Gmür & Geschwentner and a former director of urban planning for the City of Zurich, who is serving as the Sam Fox School’s Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor this fall. The winner of numerous architectural competitions, Gmür is internationally renowned for his housing developments and school buildings. Major projects in Zurich include the James and Paul Clairmont housing development, the Hard Turm Park high rise and the Scherr schoolhouse renovation and extension.

Sabine Eckmann, the William T. Kemper Director and chief curator of Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, will host the Sept. 26 Q&A with Ai. Co-sponsored by the Assembly Series, the event will explore the artist’s ongoing engagement with human rights issues and with Chinese culture past and present. It comes in conjunction with the exhibition “Ai Weiwei: Bare Life,” a major survey debuting at the newly expanded Kemper Art Museum Sept. 27 and 28.

The series will continue Oct. 23 with art historian John Curley, followed on Oct. 24 by Yvonne Farrell, founder of Dublin-based Grafton Architects. The “Decoys & Depictions” symposium, which explores the role of digital images in contemporary art and architecture, will feature keynote addresses by Nader Tehrani, dean of architecture at The Cooper Union (Oct. 25), and Brett Steele, dean of UCLA Arts (Oct. 26).

Grafton Architects, Universita Luigi Bocconi School of Economics, Milan, Italy. (Photo: Courtesy of Grafton Architects)

Native American artist Duane Slick will present the Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Lecture Nov 4. Rounding out the series will be Dave Hullfish Bailey, who will present the Henry L. And Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow Lecture Nov. 17 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, in conjunction with his fall Currents exhibition.

All events are free and open to the public, though tickets are required for the Q&A with Ai. See here for details. Unless otherwise noted, all events will begin at 6 p.m. in Steinberg Hall Auditorium and will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m.

Steinberg Hall is located on the east end of Washington University’s Danforth Campus, near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards and immediately adjacent to the Kemper Art Museum. For more information, call 314-935-9300 or visit

Fall 2019 events

Sept. 19
Patrick Gmür
Founding partner, Gmür & Geschwentner Architekten
Ruth & Norman Moore Visiting Professor Lecture

Patrick Gmür, view of recreation hall in Zurich municipal schoolhouse renovation and expansion. (Photo: Georg Aerni)

Sept. 26
Ai Weiwei
Bunny & Charles Burson Visiting Artist Lecture
Q&A with Sabine Eckmann
5:30 p.m. in Edison Theatre. Livestream in Steinberg Auditorium.

Oct. 23
John Curley
Associate professor, modern and contemporary art
Wake Forest University
“Ai Weiwei: Between Mao and Warhol”
6:30 p.m. in the Kemper Art Museum Lobby

Oct. 24
Yvonne Farrell
Founding director, Grafton Architects
Ruth Kahn Lynford Lecture

Nader Tehrani. (Photo: Leo Sore/The Cooper Union)

Oct. 25
Nader Tehrani
Dean of architecture, The Cooper Union
AIA St. Louis Scholarship Fund Lecture
Keynote address, “Decoys & Depictions: Images of the Digital Symposium”
5:30 p.m. in the Kuehner Family Court, Weil Hall

Oct. 26
Brett Steele
Dean, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture
Abend Family Lecture
Keynote address, “Decoys & Depictions: Images of the Digital Symposium”
5:30 p.m. in the Kuehner Family Court, Weil Hall

Nov. 4
Duane Slick
Professor of painting, Rhode Island School of Design
Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist Lecture

Nov. 17
Dave Hullfish Bailey
Henry L. And Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow Lecture
2 p.m. at the Saint Louis Art Museum

Duane Slick, “The Great Black Cloud,” 2018. Monotype on Arches, 22×30″.
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