Roundtable Discussion (In-Person & Zoom)
Black Abstraction | Black Existentialism

In conjunction with the exhibition Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962
March 2, 2024–July 20, 2024

Though many Black artists who spent time in France experimented with abstract modes of production—thus impacting the trajectory of modernist abstraction—their efforts are often eclipsed by the constraining discourses around Abstract Expressionism and Civil Rights-era protest art. This roundtable will think through and beyond modernist aesthetics, constructions of Blackness, and geopolitical relations to probe the use of abstraction as a tool of subjective expression, radical politics, or opacity for Black artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.


Lewis R. Gordon, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Global Affairs and Head of Philosophy, UCONN

Erich Kessel, Assistant Professor of African American and Black Diaspora Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

Darla Migan, Art critic and Faculty Lecturer, Parsons School of Design, The New School

Denise Murrell, Merryl H. and James S. Tisch Curator at Large, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Moderated by JaBrea Patterson-West, Graduate Curatorial Assistant at the Grey Art Museum, NYU, and Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

Visitor Access & Registration

Hosted by the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU at the James B. Duke House located at 1 East 78th Street, NYC.

A reception will follow the roundtable.

Please register to attend this event In-Person. 

Please register to attend this event via Zoom. 

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU; the Remarque Institute, NYU; and the Center for the Humanities, NYU


Starts 4/16/24 6:00 pm
Ends 4/16/24 7:30 pm
Participants Lewis R. Gordon; Erich Kessel; Darla Migan; Denise Murrell; JaBrea Patterson-West
Location Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
James B. Duke House, 1 East 78th Street, NYC
Cost Free of charge