Summer Art Lecture Series: The Ethics of Color
May 19 – June 29, 2019
The Yale Norfolk School of Art, established in 1948, is an intensive six week undergraduate summer residency program for 26 rising seniors.
In 2019 Byron Kim and Lisa Sigal began as co-directors of the Yale Norfolk School of Art. They assumed the directorship from Samuel Messer, who directed the summer program at Yale Norfolk for twenty years.
In their pilot year of the directorship, Kim and Sigal designed a thematic program that, in addition to the Norfolk Summer course schedule, challenged students to investigate “The Ethics of Color with visiting scholars and artists made possible by Norfolk Foundation, Inc. who engaged the students in a wide range of vibrant topics. The series of public lectures covered divergent topics such as the language of color theory coupled with human rights legislation, color as a material witness to disaster, new materialist conceptions of brown and the environment, W.E.B. Du Bois’s infographics utilizing color and data for analysis and activism, and an 80s art exhibition in Black and White.
“The Ethics of Color” was chosen knowing full well it doesn’t make any sense; Color in itself has no meaning. What could color’s ethics be? The aim was to assemble a theme that that would guide pedagogically and shape a lecture series that explored diverse attitudes toward color including speakers Aruna D’Souza, Tomashi Jackson, Silas Munro, Tavia Nyong’o and Susan Schuppli The hope was that these artists and scholars might ignore the initial premise and transmit passion to the Yale Norfolk students and the community in Norfolk at large.
The resident faculty for 2019 included Ayham Ghraowi, Martin Kersels, Byron Kim, Lisa Sigal and four Teaching Fellows, selected from recent graduates of Yale’s esteemed MFA program. Along with the roster of speakers influencing the students’ summer dialogue and culminating in a digital archive of these interactions. Students followed a curriculum of Yale College art courses including Critical Studies, Advanced Image Making, Body, Space and Time and Senior Studio which consisted of modules focused in a range of disciplines.
Yale Norfolk is a once in a lifetime experience for young artists and seeks full support ($2000 fee) from all home institutions for their accepted students to attend the program. The link between Yale Norfolk and participating schools is an important educational partnership that supports young artists in a vital moment of growth. Individuals do not apply directly to the program; rather, they must be nominated by a dean, program chair or other academic official at their home institution. Students interested in being considered for nomination should inform their deans and department chairs. By successfully completing the program, the students receive Yale course credits which may be applied towards their respective degrees (at the discretion of their home school’s faculty and registrar).
*Aruna D’Souza is a writer/critic and curator whose book Whitewalling has been well discussed in the art world since the 2017 Whitney Biennial and will talk about a show that the artist Lorraine O’Grady curated in the early 80s called The Black and White Show.
Tomashi Jackson, artist, has a unique perspective on Josef Albers’ color theory as it relates to societal perspectives. An alumna of Yale School of Art’s MFA program in Painting/Printmaking, Jackson’s work was also featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial.
Silas Munro is a designer based in Los Angeles, his lecture on W.E.B. Du Bois’s “color line” diagrams will focus on these fascinating works as design, objects of activism and as drawings utilizing color.
Tavia Nyongo will share his recent research on the posthumous writings on José Muñoz on the color brown.
Susan Schuppli, is an artist and scholar who operates in the field of forensic architecture and teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London.