BLACKGROUNDS: THOMAS J. LAX
How do creative people manifest their own visions of the world in response to histories of exclusion and dispossession? How can we work with others to contextualize and care for precarious practices: artists working in ephemeral media like performance, as well as Black communities who have built self-made traditions? Thomas Jean Lax will speak to these questions as he narrates his projects including Just Above Midtown: 1974 to the Present in collaboration Linda Goode Bryant; the exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done in 2018 with Ana Janevski and Martha Joseph; and his research fellowship on contemporary Black art in Brazil.
BlackGrounds is a lecture series co-presented by VCUarts’s Department of Art History and the ICA at VCU. The series will feature innovative art historical scholarship on the many ways in which artists from Africa and its diasporas explore the dialogue between the global and the local. BlackGrounds seeks to offer critical and historical context to regionally and nationally grounded discourses of Black identity and belonging, as well as globally imagined geographies of Black diasporic and pan-African community.
Thomas Lax is a curator and writer specializing in Black art, queer study, and performance. At the Museum of Modern Art, he co-organized the exhibition Just Above Midtown: 1974 to the Present (2022) with Lilia Rocio Taboada in collaboration with JAM’s founder Linda Goode Bryant. In 2019, he worked with colleagues across MoMA on a major rehang of its collection and co-organized the exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done (2018) with Ana Janevski and Martha Joseph. His other collaboratively organized exhibitions include the Projects Series for emerging artists; Unfinished Conversations, inspired by the cultural theorist Stuart Hall; the contemporary art survey Greater New York; and commissions with artists including Neïl Beloufa, Maria Hassabi, and Steffani Jemison. Previously, he worked at The Studio Museum in Harlem for seven years, where he organized When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, and participated in the landmark “f show” contemporary art series.