From the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the First World War, the United States asserted a more commanding presence in Central America and the Caribbean. Simultaneously, with the expansion of railroads, resorts, and luxury hotels, Southern Florida developed rapidly, its tropical climate promoted by boosters. This led to a massive demographic shift and the first impressions of the state being produced by first-rate artists making their first visits. Simultaneously, this demographic shift was defined by the quick enfranchisement of Bahamian arrivals in Miami, followed swiftly by restrictive Jim Crow laws designed to disempower black families in the south.
This Olio explores the way in which Anglo-American artists like John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer chose their motifs while visiting Florida and the Bahamas, and how these images, which focused on Afro-Caribbeans, reflect and, in some cases, reject dominant stereotypes. Prompted by both the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests and scholarly explorations into the complicated relationship between the artists and their black models, this class seeks to explore the way in which racism was encoded in these images while simultaneously being redefined. What can we learn through looking at this imagery produced over a century ago, and how might these images inform our discussions of class and race today?
Teacher: Ted Barrow
Ted Barrow teaches in Barnard College's Pre-College Program over the summer, focusing on the relationship between art and film in New York City, and has taught art history courses at Baruch, City College, the College of Staten Island, and Brooklyn College. Barrow currently teaches at Cooper Union, and runs a popular satirical Instagram account about skateboarding (@feedback_ts).
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July 23, 20208 p.m.
July 23, 2020
Think Olio | Anglo-Artists in the Caribbean: Exploring Race, Place, and other Tropical Topics
This Olio explores the way in which Anglo-American artists like John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer chose their motifs while visiting Florida and the Bahamas, and how these images, which focused on Afro-Caribbeans, reflect and, in some cases, reject dominant stereotypes.