Fall Exhibitions Opening at Picker Art Gallery

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Colgate University’s Picker Art Gallery presents two exhibitions by Black photographers during the fall semester.

A Wicked Commerce: The United States and the Atlantic Slave Trade Through the Lens of William Earle Williams opens today, Sept. 22. The exhibition presents Philadelphia-area photographer William E. Williams’s examination of the transatlantic slave trade and how the development, growth, and malevolent persistence of slavery intersects within Great Britain, the United States, and the West Indies. These pictures uncover the infrastructures that fueled the Atlantic slave trade and positioned Britain and the United States as industrial powers, simultaneously creating an institution that damaged innumerable lives and continues to persist in the physical and social landscape. Using his camera to expose obscured histories, Williams transforms how everyday places are understood and experienced. 

Curated by Susanna White, head of collections, University Museums, A Wicked Commerce features 43 black and white photographs, some on view for the first time. The exhibition is accompanied by a Picker Laboratory for Academic Engagement (PLAE) Space installation, presenting research into lesser-known local stories of this history and additional photographs from Williams’s Underground Railroad series.

A second exhibition, titled Nona Faustine: White Shoes, opens at Picker Art Gallery on Oct. 13. 

This exhibition presents seven large-scale photographs from Brooklyn photographer Nona Faustine’s acclaimed White Shoes series — a personal, provocative, and unflinching examination of the largely overlooked history of slavery in New York City.

During the last decade, Faustine has traced places around New York’s five boroughs where enslaved Africans were bought and sold, lived and died, and were buried. Through self-portraiture, Faustine powerfully inserts her own body into these sites, standing in as a monument to the lives of New York’s Black and Indigenous populations and to the largely obscured and unacknowledged history of displacement and human trafficking that built the city. 

An exhibition reception for Nona Faustine: White Shoes is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 3, starting at 6 p.m. at Picker Art Gallery. All are invited to attend.

For more information about the exhibitions and upcoming programming, visit the website or follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @pagcolgate. 

Related Events

Tuesday, October 4
Faculty panel discussion on A Wicked Commerce
Golden Auditorium, 105 Little Hall
4:30 p.m.

Colgate faculty will consider Williams’ photography from literary, visual, and historical perspectives.

Jessica Davenport, Assistant Professor of Religion
Graham Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History
Lakshmi Luthra, Associate Professor of Art & Art History and Film and Media Studies; Director, 
Film and Media Studies Program
Kezia Page, Associate Professor of English and Africana and Latin American Studies; Director, Africana and Latin American Studies Program

Part of the Arts and Humanities Colloquium. The exhibition will be open following the panel discussion.

Thursday, November 3
Opening reception for Nona Faustine: White Shoes
Picker Art Gallery, 2nd Floor, Dana Arts Center
6:00 p.m.

Join Picker Art Gallery and artist Nona Faustine for the opening of the exhibition Nona Faustine: White Shoes and meet the artist. Light food and refreshments will be served.

Friday, November 11
Haudenosaunee Basket Weaving–artist talk with Ronni-Leigh Goeman
Picker Art Gallery
12:30 p.m. 

Join Ronni-Leigh Goeman (Onondaga) at Picker Art Gallery for a discussion of the innovative artistry of contemporary Haudenosaunee basket weaving. The artist will speak about her practice, materials, and how the history of Haudenosaunee basket-making connects to issues facing Indigenous communities today.

Thursday, December 1
Day With(out) Art: Being & Belonging film screening and discussion
In collaboration with Visual AIDS, New York
Location and time TBD

Visual AIDS and University Museums present Being & Belonging, a program of seven short videos highlighting under-told stories of HIV and AIDS from the perspective of artists living with HIV across the world. From navigating sex and intimacy to confronting stigma and isolation, Being & Belonging centers the emotional realities of living with HIV today. How does living with HIV shift the ways that a person experiences, asks for, or provides love, support, and belonging? The seven videos are a call for belonging from those that have been stigmatized within their communities or left out of mainstream HIV/AIDS narratives.

About William Earle Williams

William Earle Williams is the Audrey A. and John L. Dusseau Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Fine Arts, and Curator of Photography at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. His photographs have been widely exhibited, including group and solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the National Gallery of Art, Smith College, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the National Gallery of Art. Williams has received individual artist fellowships from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

About Nona Faustine

Nona Faustine is a native New Yorker, award-winning photographer, and public speaker. Her work focuses on history, identity, and representation, evoking a critical and emotional understanding of the past. Faustine’s photographs have been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and have been collected by the Studio Museum of Harlem, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the Brooklyn Museum. In 2021 Faustine’s photographs were acquired by the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, the Rose Museum at Brandeis University, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Lumber Room in Portland, Oregon. In 2022 her work was acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her much acclaimed White Shoes series was recently published by MACK Books.

Faustine’s work has recently been included in exhibitions nationally at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She is currently debuting at the Armory Show in New York with Higher Pictures Generation and internationally at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.

About Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University

Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University is a teaching and collecting museum that engages local and global communities through innovative exhibitions, interdisciplinary research, dynamic outreach, and meaningful experiences with art across cultures, time, and media. The museum’s permanent collection includes nearly 11,000 objects, among them approximately 8,000 works of art on paper, 1,400 photographs, 900 paintings, and 300 sculptures, primarily from the twentieth century. It is located on the Colgate University campus, off Lally Lane, on the second floor of the Paul Rudolph–designed Dana Arts Center.

Picker Art Gallery is open Tuesdays–Fridays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sundays, noon–5 p.m., and during special events. Picker is currently closed on Mondays, Saturdays, and major holidays. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit colgate.edu/picker or call 315-228-7634.