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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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"Where We At? Patterns of Visibility in Suburban Space"

Friday, March 27 - 3:00AM to 3:45PM
Pavilion Room

This presentation will examine the ways African-American artists
have simultaneously repelled and laid claim to suburban spaces.
The majority of representations of suburbia in film and the fine
arts present the suburbs as a lackluster environment. Therefore,
the possible reluctance on the part of African-American artists
and filmmakers to adopt the site is not surprising. Durational engagement
with suburbia, such as Spike Lee's film Crooklyn (1994),
portray the suburbs as a soulless and isolating place where
African-Americans lose their identity and culture. However, this
creates the potential invisibility of ethnic suburban communities,
which do not confer to traditional visual tropes assigned to
American suburbia. The photographic projects of Lorna Simpson
(Interior/Exterior, Full/Empty, 1998) and Sheila Pree-Bright
(Suburbia, 2006) challenge typical representations of the suburbs
through their depiction of African-American subjects as owners
and occupants of their suburban homes.


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