Looking Like a Person: Portraits after Coloniality - Virtual Conference

Blue Boy
Oct. 2, 2021

This symposium interrogates the issues raised by contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley's new painting Portrait of a Young Gentleman, which responds to Thomas Gainsborough's grand manner masterpiece The Blue Boy. Between these two paintings, separated by 250 years, lies a colonial history that has managed representation across a field of visuality, nominating certain figures for human status and others for something less or more. What does it take, in a Euro-American art tradition, to look like a person? And what might come after coloniality in art?


Recent Videos and Recorded Programs

calligraphy by Xu Wei
Drinking and Scribbling in the Garden: Xu Wei's Wild Cursive Calligraphy
Nov. 18, 2021

Peter Sturman, professor of art history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, discusses the artistic polymath Xu Wei (1521–1593) and his uninhibited style of calligraphy, known as kuangcao, or "wild cursive." Sturman introduces Xu's calligraphy—particularly, three scrolls that...

Artist Kehinde Wiley at podium
Kehinde Wiley: “A Portrait of a Young Gentleman” Artist Remarks
Nov. 2, 2021

The Huntington celebrated American artist Kehinde Wiley with a reception in honor of his painting A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, commissioned by The Huntington as a contemporary response to Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

Chinese Garden
Reading the Lotus: A Garden of Words
Nov. 1, 2021

Wang Shixiang 王世襄 was 93 years old when he created the inscription “Love for the Lotus Pavilion” for The Huntington. The original handscroll is currently on view as part of the exhibition “A Garden of Words: The Calligraphy of Liu Fang Yuan...


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