Archival Program Information
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January 16, 2008
The Getty Center

Barbara McCullough and Ulysses Jenkins
This conversation reunited four African American artists—Maren Hassinger, Ulysses Jenkins, Barbara McCullough, and Senga Nengudi—who worked together in the 1970s and 1980s in Los Angeles. The artists' collaborative activities included impromptu performances and participation in organized collectives such as David Hammons' Studio Z and Ulysses Jenkins's Othervisions Studio.

As part of The Getty Research Institute's ongoing series Modern Art in Los Angeles, The "African American Avant-Gardes, 1965–1990" program sought to revise and augment the historical record by exploring the underexamined contributions made by African American artists to Los Angeles' vibrant postwar art scene.

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The discussion centered on the importance of community relationships and collaboration. At a time when the majority culture had little interest in African American artists' work, the support and validation of other artists of color was crucial, as were the contributions of a select group of critics and exhibition organizers who championed their practices. The role of improvisation and ritual in the work of the artists, the impact of the Watts Rebellion, the importance of the women's movement, and the expanded collaborative field of audience participation were also central to the discussion.

The conversation was moderated by Kellie Jones, associate professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University, and Judith Wilson, PhD, independent scholar.