This lecture will discuss how German-Jewish South African artist Irma Stern (1894-1966) navigated the “racial paradox” of German Expressionism.
Dr. LaNitra Berger is an art historian whose research focuses on the intersections of art and social activism in the black and Jewish diasporas. Dr. Berger is the senior director of fellowships in the Office of Undergraduate Education at George Mason University, where she is an affiliate faculty in the African and African American Studies Program. She has written and taught on subjects ranging from lynching photography to racial representations in German Expressionism.
Dr. Berger received her MA and Ph.D. in art history from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in art history and international relations from Stanford University. She is the author of the NAFSA guide, “Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Racial and Ethnic Minority Participants.” She is also the editor of a forthcoming book, “Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, Perspectives” published by NAFSA. Her first monograph, “Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color” will be published by Bloomsbury in 2020.
Lecture: “Audacities of Color: Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of Global German Expressionism,” September 24, 6:00 pm, McMaster College Room 239.
This lecture will discuss how German-Jewish South African artist Irma Stern (1894-1966) navigated the “racial paradox” of German Expressionism. Although racial identity and colonialism played a central role in the development of German Expressionist art, only a few artists had been directly exposed to culture outside of Europe through travel. As a Jewish South African, Stern had grown up in close proximity to black communities, and these experiences shaped her interest and approach to painting people of African descent in her work. Stern eventually built a career as South Africa’s most famous modern artist by painting Black and Coloured (mixed-race) South Africans in the German Expressionist style. Yet, personally, her views on race were consistent with contemporary social mores that embraced racial segregation. In this lecture, I will use Stern’s life and work to make an argument for German Expressionism’s global impact on modern art and how it shaped conceptions of racial identity far beyond Germany’s borders. In making this argument, I will also discuss whether artists have moral or political obligations to the communities they represent.
The lecture is free and open to the public with a limited capacity. The room and time is subject to change. Physical distancing will be practiced and face coverings will be required.
2020/09/24 - 2020/09/24
Additional time info:
September 24, 6:00 pm, McMaster College Room 239