Deborah Willis – Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty


Curator Lecture: Deborah Willis
March 1st
7 pm
Henry Auditorium
$5 Students, Henry Members, & UW Faculty and Staff
$10 General Audience

Deborah Willis, the curator of the upcoming exhibition at the Henry, Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty, will be at the Henry on Friday, March 1st, for a discussion with Erika Dalya Massaquoi moderated and introduced by the Henry’s Director, Sylvia Wolf. The discussion will revolve around the topics of transformative experience of the photograph through the themes of idealized beauty, the unfashionable body, the gendered image, and photography as memory. This discussion will also explore Willis’ work on historical perceptions of beauty and desire and the role individual photographers play in constructing ways of seeing.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Willis has authored a new book, Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing BeautyThrough the themes of idealized beauty, the unfashionable body, the gendered image, and photography as memory, Willis challenges and makes problematic the “reading” of photographic images in the 21st century.

Deborah Willis is a contemporary artist, photographer, curator, photographic historian, author, and educator. Among other awards and honors she has received, she was a 2000 MacArthur Fellow (aka the Genius Grant). Named among the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photography Magazine, Dr. Deborah Willis is Chair and Professor of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where she also has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies.

In addition to being a MacArthur Fellow, Willis  is a 2005 Guggenheim and Fletcher Fellow, 1996 Recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award, and now an artist, she is one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture.

Erika Dalya Massaquoi is an arts, culture and media professional with over a decade of executive leadership experience in the public and private sectors.  She recently moved to Seattle from New York City, where she was Assistant Dean of the School of Art and Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York in NYC. She currently serves on the Public Art Advisory Committee of 4CULTURE, a Seattle public development authority that leads regional public art development and supports artists and cultural workers to effectively communicate and innovate solutions to social and civic issues. Erika currently serves as a Board Trustee of Seattle’s Pratt Fine Arts Center and is a Board Director of The Feminist Press in New York City.

Massaquoi has taught classes on contemporary art, cinema, music, and emerging technologies at Yale University, New York University, and The New School for Social Research. As a curator, her work has been exhibited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) List Visual Arts Center and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Additionally, she has held curatorial positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the American Museum of the Moving Image.

She has worked a commentator with NPR and a Producer/Correspondent with Oxygen Media. She holds a BA in History and a MA in Social Sciences from The University of Chicago, and a PhD in Cinema Studies from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts.

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