The people in the photographs could be from today, dressed in period costumes, some neutrally looking at a blank area under a tree. It's a jarring moment to realize they were viewing a now Photoshop-erased lynching victim, the nonchalance frozen in time by Ken Gonzales-Day's images.
It's that sneaky way of getting viewers to connect with the history and its implications that make Gonzales-Day the perfect visiting artist for Anne Arundel Community College this fall, said Matt Moore, the school’s Visual Arts department chair. “His work is seductive, it draws you in— then you’re challenged.”
Gonzales-Day will talk about his work and experience as an artist at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 11, 2018 in AACC’s Cade Center for Fine Arts Room 219 in Arnold. The talk is free and open to the public.
A Los Angeles-based art professor at Scripps College, Gonzales-Day creates images that center around Native Americans, Asians and Latinos that also expose cultural bias and the inadequacy of current historical narratives.
He is widely recognized for the “Erased Lynching” series and others, including an exhibit he is co-headlining at the National Portrait Gallery, "Unseen: Our Past in a New Light," which runs until January 6, 2019.
This is only the second official visit by an artist to AACC, part of a planned annual event funded by the School of Liberal Arts. In addition to the talk, Gonzales-Day will participate in a private event where he will critique students’ works.
“It’s basically an interdisciplinary critique for advanced students,” Moore said. “It’s a great opportunity for them.”
Gonzales-Day received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California Irvine, and a Master of Arts from Hunter College in New York City. His work has been widely exhibited including LACMA, Los Angeles; LAXART, Los Angeles; Tamayo Museum, Mexico City; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; The New Museum, NYC; and the Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria, among others. In 2017, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography.
The day after he appears at AACC, he will be speaking at a symposium at the Smithsonian.