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Alma Thomas's Quiet Self-Fashioning

Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 12, 2020. 05:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Zoom
Workshop: 
Reframing Fashion Studies: Performance, Gender, and the Body
Meeting Description: 

Well before she garnered fame for her abstract paintings, Alma W. Thomas pursued progress through self-fashioning and other opportunities that positioned her at the cutting edge of modernism and identity expression. Yet scholarship on Thomas's carefully constructed self-presentation is scarce. From stylish self-fashioning to incorporating theater into her teaching and imitating “master” modern artworks, Thomas self-consciously “performed” various aspects of her life. This talk will focus on the artist's acts of quiet self-fashioning in portraiture and painting, inviting us to reconsider the intersecting histories of Black middle-class leisure, dress, performance, and abstraction.

Tiffany E. Barber is a scholar, curator, and critic of twentieth- and twenty-first-century visual art, new media, and performance. Her work focuses on artists of the Black diaspora working in the United States and the broader Atlantic world. She has published widely on African American art, fashion, dance, and technology. Barber is assistant professor of Africana studies and art history at the University of Delaware.

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