Public Programs

Artist Book Talk: Whitfield Lovell

Wednesday, May 10
6:00-7:00 PM Program
7:00-8:00 PM Reception

Rizzoli Bookstore
1133 Broadway, NYC

This program is free and open to the public with registration.


On the occasion of the AFA traveling exhibition and release of the accompanying exhibition catalogue, Whitfield Lovell: Passages, join us for a conversation with featured artist Whitfield Lovell as he sits down with Dr. Cheryl Finley to discuss his practice, the current exhibition, and recurring themes in his work. A brief reception and book signing will follow the talk. Kindly note that seating at Rizzoli Bookstore is first come, first served.

Whitfield Lovell, a 2007 MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipient and conceptual artist, creates exquisite drawings inspired by his own collection of vintage photographs of unidentified African Americans taken between the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968). He pairs his meticulously rendered drawings on paper or salvaged wooden boards with time-worn objects, creating enigmatic assemblages that are rich with symbolism and evoke personal memories, ancestral connections, and the collective American past.

Copies of the exhibition catalogue, published by Rizzoli Electa in association with the American Federation of Arts, will be onsite for purchase. Catalogues are available for pre-purchase here.

For more information, contact

Photo: Courtesy of Sandra Paci.

Whitfield Lovell is the recipient of a 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the 2014 National Academy Award for Excellence. Lovell has had solo exhibitions at The Phillips Collection (2016) in Washington, DC, and the Smith College Museum of Art (2011) in Northampton, MA, and he was a featured artist at the opening exhibition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. His works are included in the collections of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC; the National Museum of African American History and Culture, DC; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, PA; the Yale University Art Gallery, CT; the Hunter Museum of American Art, TN; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; the Seattle Art Museum, WA; and many others.

Cheryl Finley, Ph.D. is the Inaugural Director of the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective and Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Art & Visual Culture at Spelman College. Dr. Finley is the award-winning author of Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton University Press, 2018), has co-authored publications including My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South (Yale University Press, 2018), Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story (Carnegie Museum of Art, 2011), and Diaspora, Memory, Place: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos- Pons, Pamela Z (Prestel, 2008), and has had her writing featured in publications such as Aperture, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, American Quarterly, Art Forum and Small Axe. On leave from Cornell University, where she is an Associate Professor of Art History, Dr. Finley is also a Visiting Professor at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in African American Studies and the History of Art and her BA in Spanish with honors from Wellesley College.


AFA Public programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. These programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. We are also grateful for the support of the American Chai Trust.



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