In this lecture, art historian Huey Copeland provides an overview of his work on and approach to modern and contemporary art, with a focus on his forthcoming collection of essays, interviews, and reviews, Touched by the Mother: On Black Men, Artistic Practice, and Other Feminist Horizons, 1966-2016. This volume encompasses a range of unique practices, from the assemblages of Noah Purifoy to the paintings of Sam Gilliam, all united by their engagement with American art and culture of the 1960s and ‘70s. Just as important, in “Touched by the Mother”—a title borrowed from the work of renowned cultural theorist Hortense Spillers—Copeland articulates how his black queer feminist method draws from various discourses in thinking the intersections of race and gender, history and memory, subjectivity and sexuality, art and culture. This approach, he argues, productively expands our understanding of both art-historical practice and the aesthetic itself.
Originally published at artdept.nd.edu.