Charlotte Ickes

Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities

20142015 Forum on Color

Charlotte Ickes

History of Art

A sixth-year PhD student in the History of Art Department, Charlotte Ickes is currently serving as the Philadelphia Musuem of Art/Penn Mellon Fellow in the Contemporary Art Department of the PMA. In 2012-2013, she was a Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. She focuses on contemporary art and film of the African diaspora.

Black Radical Spectacle in the Work of Melvin Van Peebles Isaac Julien, and Steve McQueen

My project traces the radically roundabout history of what I term Afro-spectacle, beginning with films of the early 1970s to today’s time-based installations. In particular, artists and filmmakers Melvin Van Peebles, Isaac Julien, and Steve McQueen reveal immersive spectacle to be a site where black radical resistance and aesthetics have converged, standing in sharp contrast to the dominant understanding of spectacular seduction as the artistic agent of late capital. Indeed, the moving images of Van Peebles, Julien, and McQueen chart another trajectory, showing how the immersive nature of Afro-spectacle occasions blackness itself, the ecstatic force of objects performing radical objection immersed within, rather than distanced outside, the mise-en-scène.