Mickalene Thomas: Lux et Veritas: NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The exhibition Lux et Veritas explores a transformative period in contemporary art by focusing on a generation of artists of color who attended Yale School of Art for graduate studies between 2000 and 2010. The exhibition’s title alludes to Yale University’s motto, Lux et Veritas, which translates from Latin to “Light and Truth.” In the context of this exhibition, the title references how these artists thought with critical complexity about their work and their movement through institutional structures.
As with similar programs, Yale School of Art, in New Haven, Connecticut, had not been historically diverse, which spurred these art students to form affiliations across the departments of painting, graphic design, sculpture, photography and art history. They filled gaps in the school’s curriculum and counteracted the lack of diversity among the faculty by inviting artists, curators and writers of color as advisors and guest speakers, developing an interdisciplinary forum, publishing art journals, organizing exhibitions and documenting their experiences in video and photography. The relationships they formed at school evolved into communities that networked and provided essential support and feedback for one another, often passing on these efforts beyond graduate study. Their reevaluation of the Western art canon, and commitment to the method and practice of teaching has contributed to a greater recognition of artists of color, challenged stereotypes and enriched the overall shared spaces of learning and thinking about art and the art praxis.
Lux et Veritas provides a public forum in which to address the directions these artists took based on the explorations that began in graduate school and were instilled thereafter in their practice. The exhibition is curated by Bonnie Clearwater, Director and Chief Curator, NSU Art Museum. Mike Cloud (Yale, MFA 2003), william cordova (Yale, MFA 2004), Leslie Hewitt (Yale, MFA 2004) and Irene V. Small, Associate Professor, Contemporary Art & Criticism, Princeton University (Yale, Ph.D. 2008) are advisors on the exhibition. Oral histories with the artists who attended the School of Art provided significant insight into their experiences, relationships, and work.
Featured artists: Mike Cloud, william cordova, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Abigail DeVille, Torkwase Dyson, John Espinosa, Luis Gispert, Rashawn Griffin, Leslie Hewitt, Loren Holland, Titus Kaphar, Jamerry Kim, Eric N. Mack, Wardell Milan, Wangechi Mutu, Mamiko Otsubo, Ronny Qevedo, Mickalene Thomas, Anna Tsouhlarakis, Shoshanna Weinberger, and Kehinde Wiley.