EXHIBIT: Deborah Willis at the Jefferson School African Heritage Center

Wed. March 20, 12:00 PM - Sat. March 23, 3:00 PM

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903


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Hortense Action, Billa LA Pietra, by Deborah Willis, 2018.
Presented by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, this exhibit features two of the most recent bodies of work by photographer and video artist Deborah Willis, “In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond” and “Representing Joan Baez’s ‘Civil War.'”

In her closet work, Willis explores the relationship between self-fashioning and identity in contemporary culture. In revealing the contents of each closet she photographs, she plays with the notion of being in the closet, where representations of self can be hidden.

Willis’s reinterpretation of Joan Baez’s “Civil War” is one of a series of ten short videos that comprise a video album of the singer songwriter’s Whistle Down the Wind.

Willis is both a photographer and a scholar of the medium. She is Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has been the recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and MacArthur Fellowship. She is also a recipient of the NAACP Image Award in 2014 for her co-authored book Envisioning Emancipation. In her scholarship, Professor Willis has transformed the entire conversation about beauty and photography, and evolved a methodology that combines visual and cultural studies, high style and vernacular.

The exhibit will remain on display through April 27. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday, 12:00-6:00pm; Saturday, 10:00am-3:00pm

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