This fall, renowned writer, critic, and curator Hilton Als will give a two-part lecture at the Menil Collection. Based on his primary research at the Menil Archives and in the museum’s collection, the talks will explore the history and cultural context of the 1971 exhibition, Some American History. Organized by Larry Rivers for the Menil Foundation at the Institute for the Arts, Rice University, the show brought together work that explored the history of slavery in the United States by a group of artists, including Ellsworth Ausby, Peter Bradley, Joe Overstreet, William T. Williams, Daniel LaRue Johnson, and Frank Bowling. Als will underscore the significance of this exhibition and how it led to others that addressed racial politics and contemporary art, like The De Luxe Show, curated by Peter Bradley at the invitation of Dominique and John de Menil the same year.
Als’ lectures will take place in fall 2021 to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Some American History and The De Luxe Show. The first lecture will take place on Thursday, September 23, and the second on Thursday, November 4.