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(At Home) On Art and Identity: Artist Talk with Deborah Roberts
Artist Deborah Roberts joins Hirshhorn senior curator Evelyn Hankins for a discussion on power, identity, and challenging cultural myths and stereotypes.

From her earliest encounters with “mythical, heroic, beautiful, and powerful” figures represented in paintings by Italian Renaissance artists and photographs in mass media, Roberts recognized that these images did not reflect her experience. Her art practice has built on this idea to investigate our country’s long history of racial injustices, particularly the ways in which identities are imagined and shaped by social and cultural constructions of beauty, masculinity, and racial stereotypes. Roberts is best known for mixed media collages that commingle found images with pen and acrylic drawings, creating figures that reflect the challenges encountered by young Black girls and boys—as well as the ways they are able to upend existing norms—in the midst of building their own identities. By collaging together different facial features, skin tones, hairstyles, and clothing, her artworks offer a more nuanced and inclusive representation of Black cultural experiences.

Dec 9, 2020 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Deborah Roberts
Artist
From her earliest encounters with “mythical, heroic, beautiful, and powerful” figures represented in paintings by Italian Renaissance artists and photographs in mass media, Deborah Roberts recognized that these images did not reflect her experience. Her art practice has built on this idea to investigate our country’s long history of racial injustices, particularly the ways in which identities are imagined and shaped by social and cultural constructions of beauty, masculinity, and racial stereotypes. Roberts is best known for mixed media collages that commingle found images with pen and acrylic drawings, creating figures that reflect the challenges encountered by young Black girls and boys—as well as the ways they are able to upend existing norms—in the midst of building their own identities. By collaging together different facial features, skin tones, hairstyles, and clothing, her artworks offer a more nuanced and inclusive representation of Black cultural experiences.
Evelyn Hankins
Senior Curator @Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Evelyn C. Hankins has been a curator at the Hirshhorn since 2008. Her most recent projects include Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes (2018–2019), a major monographic survey, and Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge (2017–2021), the internationally renowned artist’s largest work to date. Hankins was lauded for her exhibition Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change (2016), a two-part project comprising a historical show focusing on Irwin’s groundbreaking artworks from the 1960s and a major new scrim installation in response to the museum’s distinctive architecture. While at the Hirshhorn, she has also organized an array of projects, including Susan Philipsz: Part File Score (2016); At the Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection (2014) (co-curated); Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance (2013); Over, Under Next: Experiments in Mixed Media, 1913-Present (2013); ColorForms (2010); Walead Beshty: Legibility on Color Backgrounds (2009); and The Panza Collection (2008).