Sam Fox School launches spring lecture series

Free talks highlight cutting-edge artists, architects, designers and scholars

Joo (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Artist Michael Joo, architect Lola Sheppard and designer Rob Giampietro are among the international array of cutting-edge visual thinkers who will visit St. Louis as part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ spring Public Lecture Series at  Washington University in St. Louis. In all, the series will feature 16 presentations by renowned artists, architects, curators and designers.

Michael Joo, “Tree” (2001). Oak, stainless steel and steel. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Events will begin Feb. 3 with Joo, a 1989 alumnus of Washington University. Now based in New York, Joo’s work combines and contrasts materials from nature and culture to ask fundamental questions about identity and the human condition.

Joo’s work has been featured at The Menil Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Freer|Sackler galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, among many others. With Do Ho Suh, Joo represented Korea at the 2001 Venice Biennale.

Sheppard, a founding partner of the award-winning Lateral Office in Toronto, will discuss her work Feb. 27. Operating at the intersection of architecture, landscape and urbanism, Sheppard’s practice explores the built environment’s social, ecological and political contexts, with a particular focus on the role of architecture in rural and remote regions.

The Museum of Modern Art reopened last fall after a major renovation. Rob Giampietro, who leads the museum’s graphic design team, will speak March 2.

Giampietro, director of design at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, will speak March 2. At MoMA, Giampietro leads a team of more than 20 designers and producers on projects across all media. He previously served as creative lead for Google in New York and is a senior critic at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Other lectures will include landscape architect Tom Leader (March 5), former Gagosian Gallery director Valentina Castellani (March 18), British architect and critic Kenneth Frampton (March 19), Spanish architect Fuensanta Nieto (April 2) and artist Dan Graham (April 7). See below for the complete list.

The Public Lecture Series is free and open to the public.  All talks begin at 6 p.m. in Washington University’s Steinberg Hall Auditorium and will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Steinberg Hall is located near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards, immediately adjacent to Givens Hall and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. For more information, call 314-935-9300 or visit

A rendering from “New Model Campsites” by Lola Sheppard’s Lateral Office. The project was featured in the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. (Photo courtesy of Lateral Office)

Spring 2020 speakers

Feb. 3
Michael Joo
Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist Lecture

Feb. 20
Pablo Helguera
Multimedia artist
Henry L. and Natalie Freund Visiting Artist Lecture

Feb. 24
Reinhard Bek
Conservator, Bek & Frohnert LLC
Lecture at 6 p.m. in the Kemper Art Museum

Feb. 27
Lola Sheppard
Founding partner, Lateral Office; professor, University of Waterloo School of Architecture
Fumihiko Maki Lecture

March 2
Rob Giampietro
Director of design, Museum of Modern Art, New York; senior critic, Rhode Island School of Design
Henry L. and Natalie Freund Visiting Artist Lecture


March 5
Tom Leader
Founder and principal, TLS Landscape Architecture
Anova Lecture for Landscape Architecture

March 18
Valentina Castellani
Former director, Gagosian Gallery
Women and the Kemper Public Lecture, co-sponsored by Olin Business School
*No reception before lecture

March 19
Kenneth Frampton
Ware Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University
Eugene J. Mackey Jr. Lecture

March 23
Natilee Harren
Assistant professor of contemporary art history and critical studies, University of Houston
Lecture at 6 p.m. in the Kemper Art Museum

March 30
José Zabala
Principal, Addenda Architects
Ruth & Norman Moore Visiting Professor Lecture

April 1
Alexander Alberro
Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, Barnard College
Lecture at 6 p.m. in the Kemper Art Museum

April 2
Fuensanta Nieto
Founding partner, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
Coral Courts Lecture

April 7
Dan Graham
Art on Campus Lecture
*No reception before lecture

April 13
Charles A. Birnbaum
Founder, The Cultural Landscape Foundation
Inaugural Esley Hamilton Lecture

April 16
Thomas Phifer
Founding director, Thomas Phifer and Partners
CannonDesign Lecture Excellence in Architecture and Engineering

April 20
Wiel Arets
Founding director, Wiel Arets Architects; professor of architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology
Harris Armstrong Fund Lecture

Wiel Arets Architects, Regiocentrale Zuid, Maasbracht, The Netherlands, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Wiel Arets Architects)
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