Conversations: Among Friends—Mounting Frustration

Mon. Nov 14, 2016 at 7:00pm EST
All Ages
$12.00 - $35.00
All Ages
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Event Stats
$12.00 - $35.00
All Ages
Event Description
Conversations: Among Friends—Mounting Frustration

Introduction by Leah Dickerman, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Director, Museum Research Consortium, The Museum of Modern Art

7:00 pm program | 8:15 pm reception
Doors open at 6:45 pm

Tickets ($35 general public, $20 members, $12 students) may be purchased at The Museum information and film desks, online at, or through the Friends of Education Office.

All tickets will be held at the door.

Presented by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art as part of the series Conversations: Among Friends, this evening’s program features a conversation between Susan Cahan and Lowery Stokes Sims focused on the Civil Rights Movement and New York’s museums from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Following the program, guests are invited to continue the conversation and meet the participants at an intimate reception catered by Spoonbread on the mezzanine level of the Education and Research Building.

Prior to 1967 fewer than a dozen museum exhibitions had featured the work of African American artists. And by the time the Civil Rights Movement reached the American art museum, it had already crested: the first public demonstrations to integrate museums occurred in late 1968, 20 years after the desegregation of the military, and 14 years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Cahan and Sims will focus on the topics highlighted in Cahan’s new book A Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power, in which she investigates the strategies African American artists and museum professionals employed as they wrangled over access to and the direction of New York City’s elite museums.

Susan Cahan is an art historian, educator, and curator who specializes in contemporary art and the history of museums. She is particularly interested in the relationship between social and artistic change, and the confluence of factors that shape the way culture is imagined, discussed, and advanced. This interest is exemplified in her recently published book, Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power (Duke University Press, 2016), which examines the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on art museums through a series of case studies focusing on New York City. She is currently an Associate Dean and Dean for the Arts at Yale College and a lecturer at the Yale School of Art. Cahan previously served as the Des Lee Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Associate Dean at the College of Fine Arts and Communication. From 1994 to 2003 she was a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and has also served as a visiting professor in the Department of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has also had over 20 years of experience as a curator and museum professional. From 1996 to 2001 Cahan was the senior curator for the private collection of Eileen and Peter Norton and director of arts programs for the Peter Norton Family Foundation. From 1987 to 1996 she was Deputy Director and Curator of Education at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Prior to this, she worked in educational programs for New York City schools at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Lowery Stokes Sims is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, craft, and design, and has curated exhibitions, and worked in museums for over 40 years. In 2015 she retired as Curator Emerita from the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, where she served as the Charles Bronfman International Curator and the William and Mildred Ladson Chief Curator. Sims previously served on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972–99) and as executive director, president, and adjunct curator for the permanent collection at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2000–07). At the Museum of Arts and Design, Sims co-curatedSecond Lives: Remixing the Ordinary (2008) and Dead or Alive: Artists Respond to Nature (2010), and curated Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design (2012). She also conceived and co-curated The Global Africa Project (2010–11) and New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America (2014). She is currently serving as a guest curator for exhibitions at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute; Grounds for Sculpture; the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; and the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati. Sims has lectured and guest curated exhibitions nationally and internationally. She was a visiting professor at Queens College and Hunter College, New York City (2005, 2006), a fellow at the Clark Art Institute, a visiting scholar in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota (2007), and Distinguished Professor in the Claire Trevor School of Arts, University of California, Irvine (2014). Sims also served on the selection jury for the World Trade Center memorial (2003–04), and is a founding board member of ArtTable. She serves on the boards of the Tiffany Foundation and Art Matters.

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Venue Details
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The Museum of Modern Art Theater 3 4 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
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