The Black List Project: Volumes 2 and 3, Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

In February 2011, the Humanities Research Center and Rice Public Art Program hosted The Black List Project at the the Rice Media Center. The Black List Project is a photographic exhibit and documentary featuring portraits of prominent African Americans of various professions, disciplines, and backgrounds. Historically, "blacklist" denotes a group of people marginalized and denied work or social approval. In an effort to redefine the word, twenty-five featured African Americans provide insight on the struggles, triumphs, and joys of black life in the United States. These portraits are both pictorial and verbal, representing some of the most dynamic and inspiring personalities in the fields of politics, music, business, civil activism, literature, the arts, and athletics. Featured photographs include those of American political activist and university professor Angela Davis; musician John Legend; Michael Lomax, Chairman and CEO of the United Negro College Fund; artist Kara Walker; and actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist and composer Martin Van Peebles. The Black List Project was conceived of by photographer/filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders with Elvis Mitchell, NPR correspondent and former New York Times film critic.

This in honor of Black History Month, and plans to engage both Rice and the Houston community through a variety of media. The Humanities Research Center also brought prominent scholars from Rice and other universities to speak on related topics of Black America, including photographer and author Shawn Michele Smith. For more information on The Black List Project, please visit www.blacklistproject.com

Community Programming

The Humanities Research Center organized field trips with for middle- and high-school students in Houston. These 1-2 hour field trips were held at the Rice Media Center on the Rice University campus and included:

  • A guided tour of the photographic exhibit, led by art history Rice students

  • A screening of selected clips from the documentary

  • A lesson/discussion based on educational materials developed by The Black List Project

The Black List Project incorporates an educational component into its mission, creating rich and empowering media vehicles that can ignite meaningful discourse and change. Discussing these themes with students inspires conversation relating to writing, the individual voice, identity, mentoring, education, race, and achievement.

Generous support for this exhibit was provided by:

Gracie and Bob Cavnar
Madlyn and Anthony Constant
Arvia and Jason Few
Jasmine Gipson
Benjamin Hall
Eileen and Kase Lawal
Melanie Lawson and John Guess
Members of the Rice Art Committee
Felicia and Ricky Raven
Monique Shankle
Anita and Gerald Smith

Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art

The Humanities Research Center was pleased to participate in Rice University's Centennial Exhibition, Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art, on view at Rice University Art Gallery September 13 – November 18, 2012.  Larry and Brenda Thompson, parents of 1998 Rice alumnus Larry Thompson Jr., loaned their collection of works not only by acknowledged masters, but also by those artists outside the canon including emerging, outsider, vernacular, and regional artists.

The collection was curated by Dr. Adrienne Childs for the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts at University of Maryland, College Park and presents the breadth of the Thompsons’ art collection, which spans the 1890’s to 2007. Featuring 72 works by 67 artists, the exhibition seeks to redefine the canon of African American art by offering offering a more in-depth, inclusive understanding of the artists and their aesthetic and social concerns.

The HRC organized campus field trips for Houston-area high school students to view the collection. Select Rice graduate students gave talks in their fields of study that offered students context for the exhibit, then the students will viewed the Tradition Redefined collection and enjoyed a tour of the student studio and gallery spaces in Sewall Hall.

For more information on the Tradition Redefined exhibit, please visit http://traditionredefined.rice.edu.

Rice University thanks the donors whose generosity made this exhibition possible:

PepsiCo Foundation
Baker Botts LLP
Houston Arts Alliance
With additional support from:
The Kalu Group, LLC

KUHF-FM and Saint Arnolds Brewing Company provide in-kind support.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by a special fund from the Office of the President at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.