Lunder Institute Talks: Spring 2021

The Lunder Institute for American Art supports innovative research and creative production that expands the boundaries of American art. As a collaborative initiative with the Colby College Museum of Art, the Institute welcomes visiting artists, scholars, and museum professionals as they engage across disciplines with members of the Colby community and other creative collaborators.

As a way to further the conversation about American art, registration is now open for the spring 2021 Lunder Institute Talks, a series of live, unscripted hour-long Zoom conversations with scholars and artists who are shaping the field of American art. These conversations bring audiences up close with creative and research processes. Lunder Institute team members and invited guests delve into work in progress, engage with artworks and projects related to the Colby College Museum of Art, and connect these to contemporary questions about art and society.

How are artists responding to the challenges, demands, and losses of this moment as well as the opportunities it has offered for renewal, transformation, and growth? Over the Summer of 2020, the Archives of American Art created a new initiative, the Pandemic Oral History project, that includes responses to the global pandemic across the American art world. This Lunder Institute Talk features the artist Wendy Red Star, a participant in the project, and Ben Gillespie and Liza Kirwin of the Archives of American Art in conversation with Beth Finch. The event will feature selected highlights from the eighty-five interviews, focusing on artists’ responses to this invitation to speak about their experiences during a time of interrelated crises. The conversation also touches on the Lunder Institute’s Vocal Archive, an oral history initiative dedicated to gathering artists’ reflections on works in the Colby Museum’s collection.


Thursday, April 22, 2020, 6 p.m. ET

Join this conversation to explore new research shaping understanding of modern art of the American Southwest—the focus of the Lunder Institute’s Research Fellows Program in 2021–22. University of Delaware professor Jessica Horton (2021–22 Distinguished Scholar) and the Met’s Associate Curator of Native American Art Patricia Marroquin Norby (2021–22 Research Fellow) will discuss some of the questions guiding their research. How, for example, have the social and environmental upheavals of western expansion been registered—or suppressed—in art made during the first half of the 20th century by makers of diverse heritages? How might Indigenous and environmental justice change our analysis of historical materials? What methods are most needed today to address the legacies of colonialism and its contestation in Southwest modernisms and American art history more broadly?


Consider how art, science, and history converge in Maya Lin’s “last memorial,” What is Missing?, a multi-sited and multimedia project devoted to the global biodiversity crisis related to habitat loss. As a 2020–21 Lunder Institute senior fellow, Lin has been working with several Colby College courses and engaging with the local community to make contributions to the project. This Lunder Institute Talk features Lin in conversation with her Colby faculty collaborators, Chris Walker (Assistant Professor of English) and Danae Jacobson (Visiting Assistant Professor in History). Together, they reflect on this year’s creative projects and research, discussing art’s capacity to convey urgent scientific information and the role of community participation in the formation of a public history project.


IMAGES (TOP TO BOTTOM): Composite screenshots of 77 video interview participants, 2020. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Ramona Sanchez Gonzales (aka Ramona Gonzales), San Ildefonso Plate, c.1925. Blackware, 11 3/4 in. (30 cm). Gift of Adelaide Pearson, 1960.145; Maya Lin, Interrupted River: Penobscot (detail), 2019. Glass marbles and adhesive, 288 x 264 x 120 in. (732 x 671 x 305 cm). Museum purchase from Sandy ’78 and Sissy Buck, Laura Keeler Pierce ’07 and M. Vassar Pierce Jr., Seth A. Thayer ’89 and Gregory N. Tinder, the Bruce C. Drouin ’74 and Janet L. Hansen ’75 Maine Art Endowed Fund, and the Robert Cross Vergobbi ’51 Museum Acquisition Fund; 2020.026.