julie-checkowayHarvard Art Museums Private Tour - November 5th, 4:00Pm (PDT)


Virtual Museum Tour Series

For this event, there will be a 30 min presentation followed by a Q and A session.


Chassidy Winestock, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, will give a virtual tour centered on Kara Walker’s U.S.A. Idioms. Made in the aftermath of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, the large drawing is all-encompassing, and it forces a certain type of reading. This tour will engage Toni Morrison’s reflections in “Invisible Ink: Reading the Writing and Writing the Reading” to guide a conversation on Walker’s work. In
this essay from 2011, Morrison attends to “the way in which a reader participates in the text.”1 Morrison also notes, “Some writers of fiction design their texts to disturb—not merely with suspenseful plots, provocative themes, interesting characters, or even mayhem. They design their fiction to disturb, rattle, and engage the entire environment of the reading experience.”2 Walker wields U.S.A. Idioms and its vignettes in this way. During this tour, participants will engage with the ways Walker’s work manipulates conventions, illuminating the parts of the text that “attest to its living life.”3


Sophie Lynford, Rousseau Curatorial Fellow in European Art, Division of European and American Art, will give a virtual tour that explores the artistic output of David Drake, an enslaved potter working in antebellum South Carolina during the mid-nineteenth century. Through a close examination of a ceramic storage jar in the Harvard Art Museums’ collection, we will consider the remarkable fact that many of Drake’s vessels are signed, dated, and feature his own poetry. The text on these jars declared Drake’s literacy at a time when basic education for enslaved people, including reading and writing, was banned in South Carolina. His jars and jugs, and the words on their surfaces, powerfully attest to the human desire for artistic expression.


Questions can be sent to sadiafniazi@hotmail.com

See link bellow for further information:






1 Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, SPeeches, and Meditations (New York: Alfred A. Knoopf, 2019), 347.

2 Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard, 348.

3 Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard, 348.



Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020

Time: 4:00 PM (PDT)
Location: Virtual (Link will be sent prior to the event)
Cost: Free and open to all! Donations are appreciated. Please register below.


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