The music of color — International Symposium

The American artist Sam Gilliam is one of the emblematic figures in the history of American abstract art. According to Gilliam, “being an abstract artist is an illusion; being a black abstract artist is even more so.” On the occasion of his first major solo exhibition in Europe, Kunstmuseum Basel invites international experts from different disciplines to discuss the relations between materiality, abstraction and politics. Although Gilliam is one of the most important representatives of post-war abstract painting, his work is largely unknown in Europe. The symposium aims to elucidate both the life and work of this seminal artist and to bring new perspectives to what has been, until now, nearly unchartered academic territory.


The music of color — International Symposium: Wednesday 26. September 2018, 9:30 am — 8 pm, Kunstmuseum Basel | Hauptbau

9:30 am Josef Helfenstein (Kunstmuseum Basel)
Welcome Address

9:40 am Olga Osadtschy (Kunstmuseum Basel)
Introductory Remarks

10 am Miranda Lash (Speed Art Museum, Louisville)
Sam Gilliam: Early Career and Louisville Origins

10:30 am Simon Vagts (Universität Basel)
Sam Gilliam and “the problem of the Color line”

11 am Discussion

11:30 am Visit of the exhibition

12:30 pm Lunch Break

2 pm Jonathan P. Binstock (Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester)
Something Good is Going to Come of This: Sam Gilliam and Color

2:30 pm Larne Abse Gogarty (University College London)
An Act of Pure Passage: The Optic and the Haptic in Gilliam's Drapes

3-3:30 pm Discussion

3:30 pm Coffee Break

4 pm Mark Godfrey (Tate Modern)
Abstraction in Trying Times

4:30 pm Elena Filipovic (Kunsthalle Basel)
Soft Revolution/Sharp White Walls
(on Sam Gilliam and David Hammons)

5 pm Dirk Hildebrandt (Universität zu Köln)
Musical Patterns. Political Noise
in Sam Gilliam’s Abstraction

5:30 pm Discussion

Kunstmuseum Basel | Neubau

6:30 pm Katharina Grosse in conversation
with Josef Helfenstein

(Event in English)


Free attendance, Registration open on the day of the symposium at the Kunstmuseum Basel | Hauptbau information desk