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Thursday, February 29, 6:30 – 8pm

#SeeArtDifferently

Kevin Beasley. A View of a Landscape: A Cotton Gin Motor (detail), 2012–18. Installation view, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 2018–March 2019. Collection of the artist; courtesy of Casey Kaplan, New York. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

About the Event

For the 28th Annual Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art, Pamela M. Lee will deliver the keynote lecture, “Eli Whitney, Serial Artist.” Lee is the Carnegie Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Yale University.

In the 1790s, inventor Eli Whitney developed a system to mass-produce muskets, building on his experience with the cotton gin. This talk charts the industrialization of gun manufacture during the early American republic as a form of shadow governance, serializing the historic interests of racial capitalism in the present. In discussing Kevin Beasley’s A View of a Landscape (2018), William Giles Munson’s Eli Whitney Gun Factory (1827), and works by other artists, Lee argues that the twinning of gun and gin technology was critical in the formation of “interchangeability”—a technique central to the era of mass production.

 

Kevin Beasley. A View of a Landscape: A Cotton Gin Motor, 2012–18. Installation view, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 2018–March 2019). Collection of the artist; courtesy of Casey Kaplan, New York. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

About the Speaker

Pamela M. Lee

Lee is the Carnegie Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Yale and teaches the history, theory, and criticism of late modernism and contemporary art. Her research explores the relationships between aesthetics, politics, war, time, and systems, with a recent focus on art, guns, race, gender, and the concept of “interchangeability.” Lee's books include Object to be Destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matta-Clark (2000); Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s (2004); Forgetting the Art World (2012); and New Games: Postmodernism after Contemporary Art (2012).