Lunder Institute Talks: Daisy Desrosiers with Naeem Mohaiemen

Recorded on via Zoom on Thursday, September 24, 2020, at 6 p.m., this is the first installment of the Lunder Institute Talks, a series of live, hour-long Zoom conversations with scholars and artists who are shaping the field of American art. Together, Lunder Institute area directors (Daisy Desrosiers, Theaster Gates, and Tanya Sheehan) and invited guests explore contemporary questions through artistic practice. Each conversation engages with artworks and/or ongoing projects related to the Colby Museum, including work by the invited artists.

Naeem Mohaiemen combines films, installations, and essays to research socialist utopia, malleable borders, and rhizomatic families. Mohaiemen is author of Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014), and co-editor with Eszter Szakacs of Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit, forthcoming). He is a 2020–21 Senior Fellow at the Lunder Institute for American Art, 2020–23 Mellon Fellow at Columbia University, and is on the Advisory Board of the Vera List Center for Art & Politics at the New School in New York.

You can learn more about the full series, and register for our other talks, here.

Lunder Institute Launches New Virtual Talk Series for Fall 2020

The Lunder Institute for American Art is pleased to announce the Lunder Institute Talks, a series of live, hour-long Zoom conversations with scholars and artists who are shaping the field of American art. Together, Lunder Institute area directors (Daisy Desrosiers, Theaster Gates, and Tanya Sheehan) and invited guests will explore contemporary questions through artistic practice. Each conversation will engage with artworks and/or ongoing projects related to the Colby Museum, including work by the invited artists. Read more

Lunder Institute Appoints Maya Lin to 2020–21 Senior Fellowship

In acknowledgement of her achievements as an artist who has re-envisioned monuments and whose practice actively contributes to a deeper understanding of human impacts on the environment, the Lunder Institute for American Art has appointed renowned artist Maya Lin as a senior fellow for the 2020–21 academic year. Throughout the year, Lin will participate in online collaborations with students, faculty, and community members, including academic engagements with Colby courses.  Read more

Colby Faculty Lead Teaching with Primary Sources Workshops

The now virtual Teaching with Primary Sources workshop series, co-organized by the Lunder Institute, the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, continued its programming throughout the summer. In May and June, Rachel Beane (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Bowdoin College) led a two-part, interactive discussion on Zoom with the ten workshop participants, who are early career academics teaching American art history. Professor Beane offered an overview of the principles of assignment design, and the participants applied those to their teaching with archival primary sources. Read more

Naeem Mohaiemen Named a 2020–21 Senior Fellow

Naeem Mohaiemen has been selected to be a Senior Fellow for the 2020–21 academic year. As the inaugural recipient of an Alfonso Ossorio Creative Production Grant, an endowed program overseen by the Lunder Institute, he will develop a new film based on collaborative research with Colby faculty and students, and with additional research at sites in Maine.

“Maine’s settler history has often surfaced in genre fiction. This invitation is an opportunity to excavate the crevices within this popular literary form,” shared Mohaiemen. Read more

The New Social Environment: Daisy Desrosiers and Joan Jonas

Our own Daisy Desrosiers, director of artist programs, recently joined with video performance pioneer Joan Jonas for a conversation for the 104th installment of The Brooklyn Rail’s New Social Environment series.

Their vibrant conversation covers Joan’s interest in mythology, the importance of collaboration, new technology, and culminates with a robust Q&A (including cameos from Theaster Gates and Bob Holman). Poet Stacy Szymaszek⁠ closed the event with a reading. Read more

Teaching with Primary Sources Goes Virtual

As institutions around the world abruptly turned to remote teaching this spring, the Teaching with Primary Sources Workshop seriesa unique collaboration among the Lunder Institute, the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art that offers professional training to early career academicsalso moved its activities to the virtual realm. Read more

Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

The brutal and seemingly nonchalant killing of George Floyd by a police officer while other officers stood by is an excruciating but far too common occurrence in this country’s long and persistent history of devaluing the lives of black Americans….Racialized violence lays bare the remarkable inequities in our society. We have seen the manifestation of those inequities in other ways over these last several weeks, from the death toll from COVID-19 on communities of color and the most vulnerable amongst us to the historic loss of employment that has hit the lowest-wage earners—the individuals least likely to have a safety net—the hardest. It is essential that we not simply talk about these issues but that we act to address them.…The time to support this work is now.

– David A. Greene
President, Colby College Read more

Student Research Assistant Roundtable

Colby students who served as research assistants for the Lunder Institute for American Art in 2019–20 share their experiences working for the Institute’s inaugural cohort of Research Fellows.

Jessamine Batario, Lunder Institute Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Artistic and Scholarly Engagement and Programs, moderates the discussion with Carter Wynne ’20, Katie Herzig ’20, Jane MacKerron ’20, and Olivia Hochstadt ’21. Read more

Lunder Institute Announces 2020–21 Scholarly Senior Fellows

The Lunder Institute supports scholarly and creative research by scholars, curators, and artists. We are pleased to announce the senior fellowships of scholars Romi Crawford and David Park Curry.

Romi Crawford (Ph.D.) is a 2020–21 Lunder Institute senior fellow and is working on a monographic publication on Lunder Institute Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives Theaster Gates. It will consider the wide scope and dimensionality of his artistic practice, with a focus on the under-examined narratives of “extreme collaboration” intrinsic to Gates’s work as it relates to building and land procurement. As part of her fellowship, Crawford will host a public program centered around a Gates work in the Colby Museum’s collection and her research. She will also participate in a recorded conversation with Gates that will become part of the Lunder Institute’s Vocal Archive, an initiative that records contemporary artists speaking about their works in the Colby Museum’s collection. Read more

Interview: Emmanuel Sogunle ’21 Reflects on His Work with the Maine Makers’ Map

Emmanuel Sogunle ’21 was one of two Colby students to assist Lunder Institute Director of Artist Programs Daisy Desrosiers in the creation of the Maine Makers’ Map, an interactive tool to facilitate networking between visiting artists and highly skilled craftspeople in Maine. In this interview, he reflects on his experience.

Q: How would you describe the Makers’ Map and its impact on your understanding of artmaking and collaboration?

A: The Makers’ Map project is an interactive map of highly skilled material experts in Maine. The map highlights woodworkers, metalworkers, builders, and production studios, among other things of that sort. The purpose of the map is to showcase how much talent is just floating around in Maine and bring to light the rich knowledge these craftspeople possess. By publicly featuring this collection of expert makers, the map aims to connect Maine’s community of skilled craftspeople with Lunder Institute visiting artists and other artists in Maine. This map serves as a resource enabling artists to join forces and offer their expertise to one another with the purpose of creating something amazing. Read more

Lunder Institute Staff Members Contribute to The Brooklyn Rail


The River Rail, a joint project between Colby College and The Brooklyn Rail, was published last fall but our collaborations with the arts journal have continued. Phong Bui, the Rail’s founder and artistic director, as well as the 2019–20 Lunder Institute senior fellow, invited two members of the LIAA staff to serve as guest critics for The Brooklyn Rail. Read more

Recapping Our Inaugural Research Symposium and Mellon Faculty Grants

The Lunder Institute’s inaugural research symposium—focused on the 2019–20 scholarly theme of art by African Americans—took place on March 13, 2020. Due to the public health crisis, we moved this day of research talks from the Colby campus to the virtual world of Zoom. The event included presentations by the Institute’s six 2019–20 research fellows, showcasing their original work in progress on objects at the Colby Museum, in addition to a dynamic roundtable on the state of the field featuring leading academics and curators. We encourage you to view the symposium recording and to share it with your students and colleagues. This record of the proceedings is dedicated to the memory of David C. Driskell (1931–2020). Read more

Research Symposium: Art by African Americans

On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Lunder Institute for American Art hosted a research symposium on art by African Americans. This live-streamed, daylong event featured work-in-progress presentations by the six 2019-2020 Lunder Institute Research Fellows, discussions moderated by Distinguished Scholar Tanya Sheehan, and a roundtable with leading scholars focused on questions about the state of the field.

The archived symposium proceedings are dedicated to the memory of David C. Driskell (1931–2020) in recognition of his groundbreaking scholarship in the field of American art and his extraordinary contributions as a teacher, curator, and artist.

You can download the digital event program, including abstracts and presenter bios here. Read more

Jessamine Batario: The New Social Environment

In response to the imminent crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Brooklyn Rail shifted its operations online. These daily Social Environment lunchtime conversations provide a place to have vibrant conversations in a time of great social distancing.

Here Phong H. Bui hosts art historian and March Guest Critic Jessamine Batario, Lunder Institute Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Artistic and Scholarly Engagement and Programs, for a conversation on the social, philosophical, and performative resonances of walking. Read more