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Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400
Closed Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400

Menil

Public Program

Marion Barthelme Lecture Series: Hilton Als on “Some American History”

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 50th anniversary of Some American History and The De Luxe Show. The first lecture will take place on Tuesday, November 2, and the second on Thursday, November 4.

About the speaker:

Hilton Als began contributing to The New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for “The Talk of the Town;” he became a staff writer in 1994, theater critic in 2002, and lead theater critic in 2012. Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. His reviews are provocative contributions to the discourse on theater, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America. His first book, The Women, was published in 1996. His book, White Girls—a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014 and winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Nonfiction—discusses various narratives of race and gender. His most recent book, I Don’t Remember (Penguin, June 2020), is a book-length essay on his experiences in AIDS-era New York.

Als is the curator of many exhibitions including: Alice Neel, Uptown and God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City. He is curating three successive solo exhibitions at the Yale Centre for British Art, the first exhibit in 2018 featured Celia Paul, the second, in 2019, featured Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the third will feature Peter Doig.

In 2017 Als won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and the Langston Hughes Medal in 2018. He is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.

About the lecture series:

The Marion Barthelme Lecture Series is presented in honor of the late Menil Foundation Trustee Marion Barthelme Fort (1944–2011). Each year, a distinguished speaker is invited to explore the work of a key artist or aspect of the museum’s collection. Past lectures have included Michael Govan on the work of Michael Heizer (2013), Sarah Whitfield on the work of René Magritte (2014), Yves-Alain Bois on the work of Ellsworth Kelly (2015), Rachel Z. DeLue on the work of Kara Walker (2018), and Lucy Lippard on the politics of land use and art in America (2019).

This series is made possible by Marion’s family, Jeff Fort and Kristina Van Dyke Fort, and Katharine Barthelme.

As with all Menil public programs, the Marion Barthelme Lectures are free and open to all.