Department of Art and Art History Art History

Eddie Chambers' Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s listed in Art Forum Best 2015 Books

Mon. December 7, 2015

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Eddie Chambers' Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s was listed in Artforum's Best of 2015: Books.

Eddie Chambers' book reviewed by Female Arts

Wed. December 2, 2015

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Dr. Eddie Chambers' book Black Artists In British Art – A History Since The 1950s was reviewed by Female Arts.

Q+A with Emily Edwards (B.A. in Art History, 2015)

Tue. November 24, 2015

woman in blue blouse poses for picture
Image courtesy of Emily Edwards

Emily Edwards (B.A. in Art History, 2015) is a graduate student at Georgetown University. She answered questions by email.

Margaret Conyngham: After you finished your B.A. in Art History at UT Austin, you were accepted into the Art and Museum Studies graduate program at Georgetown University. What is your research focused on?

Emily Edwards: I am primarily focusing on contemporary art. I am also taking a few curatorial studies courses that focus on exhibition planning.

MC: Congratulations on your internship at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. What kinds of projects have you been working on there?

EE: Thank you! I am currently developing a video podcast for their website. I also work with the curatorial staff on exhibition research for future catalogs.

MC: How did your undergraduate work prepare you for graduate school and the work you are doing at the Hirshhorn?

EE: I learned how to do in-depth research through my undergraduate classes, especially while writing my undergraduate thesis. I really fine-tuned my writing skills in my four years at UT. I also learned how valuable it is to form relationships with professors. They all want to get to know you and help you succeed!

MC: Do you have any advice for students thinking about applying to graduate Art History programs?

EE: My biggest piece of advice is to thoroughly research the graduate programs. I remember thinking one program was perfect but then looked at their course offerings to find they did not offer any contemporary art classes. Since that is the area I want to specialize in, I quickly crossed it off my list! I also advise looking into the programs well in advance of application deadlines. I spent the summer before my senior year drafting a list of the schools I wanted to apply to so I could spend the fall of my senior year actually working on the applications. Those deadlines sneak up faster than you think! Finally, take advantage of the career services available in the department. I had no idea how to write a statement of purpose initially. Visiting career services helped me focus my ideas.


Maggie Conyngham is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Art History and French. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.
 

An excerpt from Eddie Chambers’ paper entitled “We Might Not Be Surprised: Visualizing Slavery and the Slave Ship in the Works of Charles Campbell and Mary Evans”

Tue. November 24, 2015

Associate Professor Eddie Chambers contributed a chapter to the book, Visualizing Slavery: Art Across the African Diaspora (Liverpool University Press, December 2015). An excerpt from Chambers’ chapter entitled “We Might Not Be Surprised: Visualizing Slavery and the Slave Ship in the Works of Charles Campbell and Mary Evans” follows:

 

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Mary Evans, Ship Shape, 2011, cms paper, 30 x 37 inches.

One of the most fascinating aspects of contemporary artists’ attempts to visualize slavery is the extent to which such images relate as much to the present-day, as they might to the historical traumas and experiences they seek to reference. Though contemporary artists may lay claim to, or may utilize, 18th or 19th century imagery in their work, the resulting pieces often speak as much, if not more, to late 20th or early 21st narratives of history and identity, than to the historical subject matter the original images depict. There is perhaps a certain inevitability to this, substantially reflected in television or cinematic interventions into narratives of slavery and the slave trade.

The television production of Alex Haley’s Roots probably told us more, or as much about race in mid 1970s United States, as it did about the particular saga of Haley’s family tree. More recently, films such as the biopic Amazing Grace (directed by Michael Apted, and loosely based on the life of antislavery MP William Wilberforce) probably told us more, or as much, about the climate of benevolent liberalism and partiality that by and large characterises the British people’s attitudes to matters of slavery and abolition. The fascinating set of postage stamps issued by the Royal Mail in 2007 probably told us as much as, or more about the Blair government’s questionable Abolition 200 project, as the stamps did about the historical figures they sought to memorialize. Much more recently, Steve McQueen’s own biopic 12 Years a Slave (loosely based on the vivid recollections of Samuel Northup, a free Black man kidnapped into slavery, and his subsequent nightmarish existence) probably told us more, or as much, about the United States in the era of Obama, as it did about slavery in 19th century America. Time and time again, we see the ways in which images of slavery and the slave trade have this fascinating ability to shuttle between considerations of both the past and the present.


Eddie Chambers joined the Department of Art and Art History in 2010, teaching African Diaspora art history. His education includes a Fine Art (Honours) degree from Sunderland Polytechnic (1983) and in 1998 a Ph.D. in History of Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Chambers authored Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s, published in 2014 (I. B. Tauris), now in its second edition.
 

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