2017 Ludden Lecture: The Right to Reflect

Professor Darby English, University of Chicago

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In times of crisis, what is the responsibility of art to be relevant—to reflect on or analyze real conditions? In this lecture Darby English (professor of art history at the University of Chicago) considers a single object: Untitled (Policeman), a 2015 portrait of a black policeman by Wexner Center Residency Award recipient Kerry James Marshall (American, b. 1955). English examines this work as manifestation of and a response to this critical question and delves into issues of convention, authenticity, and art’s relationship to politics.

Cosponsored by Ohio State’s History of Art Department

Darby English is the Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. His publications include 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (2016) and How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (2007). He is coeditor of Art History and Emergency (2016) and Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress (2002). English’s short-form writing has appeared in Art Bulletin, Artforum,, The Guardian, The International Review of African American Art, and other venues.


Greater Columbus Arts Council

Ohio Arts Council

The Columbus Foundation

Nationwide Foundation


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2017 Ludden Lecture: The Right to Reflect