Emily Doman

Emily Doman is from Chicago Illinois, and received her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Alongside her academic pursuits in the history of art, she began working as an arts educator in local schools during her undergraduate years. After graduating from U of I she held a position at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Community Programs Division within the Museum Education Department. This was a formative time during which Emily developed curricula for offsite and onsite museum education programs and audiences. Her work in the museum and public school systems of Chicago inspired her to pursue a graduate degree in Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts so as to further develop critical perspectives on these institutions of art and education. Her thesis is a continuation of her initial experiences in the field, and explores similar notions through a case study of the contemporary art exhibition 30 Americans. This exhibition presents the work of black American artists, and fits within the larger framework of ethnically specific shows. Her thesis questions the use, function and future possibilities for ethnically specific exhibitions through an analysis of 30 Americans, and proposes alternative exhibiting strategies for the work within the show.

About Emily Doman’s Thesis Project

Emily Doman

30 Americans: Challenging Institutional Framing for the Presentation of black American Artists

The occlusion of black American artists in U.S. art institutions formed gaps in the art historical narrative. In well-intentioned efforts to ameliorate this past, art museums have collected, curated, and mounted ethnically specific shows since the early 20th century. In an analysis of the modes of framing at the contemporary exhibition 30 Americans, displayed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 2011, I examine its limiting curatorial method and expose how it is emblematic of frameworks that continue to confine black American artists’ works in essentializing narratives of race, culture, and linear history. To reject this outdated framework, I detail a thematic model that focuses on framing formal, conceptual, and art historical conversations within the exhibition to provide a multi-dimensional reading of the artworks presented. This demonstrates the ideological limit connected to the display and interpretation of contemporary art by black American artists and the need for a re-examination of ethnically specific exhibition strategies.

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