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Question Bridge: Black Males is an innovative, transmedia project that uses video to facilitate a conversation among black men from diverse backgrounds. Originally created by Chris Johnson in 1996, the project was revived by Hank Willis Thomas, Kamal Sinclair, and Bayeté Ross Smith who filmed over 150 black men in nine American cities, each of whom asked questions and answered those posed by other black men. This content was used to create a five-screen video installation that has been exhibited at over thirty-five institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum; Oakland Museum of California; Birmingham Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; California African American Museum, Los Angeles; DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago; Exploratorium, San Francisco; Missouri History Museum, St. Louis; Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, Charlotte, NC; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; and New Frontier exhibition at Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah. The Question Bridge Project includes various platforms, an interactive website and mobile app, as well as community roundtable conversations and a curriculum designed for high school learners.
This lively discussion will address the issues that continue to surround black male identity today in a uniquely honest, no-holds-barred manner. A book signing of the new publication, Question Bridge: Black Males in America, will follow the panel.
BAYETE ROSS SMITH is a multi-media artist and educator based in Harlem. His work has been shown at such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, San Francisco Arts Commission, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, and Goethe Institute, Ghana. He is currently the associate program director for Kings Against Violence Initiative, a violence prevention non-profit organization.
HANK WILLIS THOMAS is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and his MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas lives and works in New York City. He is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.
DEBORAH WILLIS, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University/Tisch and has an affiliated appointment in Africana Studies. Professor Willis was a 2014 Richard D. Cohen Fellow of African and African American Art History at the Hutchins Center, Harvard University, a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow, and a 2000 MacArthur Fellow. Professor Willis has received the NAACP Image Award in 2014 for her co-authored book “Envisioning Emancipation.” Other notable projects include “The Black Female Body A Photographic History” “Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers - 1840 to the Present;” “Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present;” “Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs,” a NAACP Image Award Literature Winner, and “Black Venus 2010: They Called Her ‘Hottentot.’”
NATASHA L. LOGAN is a multi-media arts producer and project manager who has worked with a broad range of artists to create fine art, transmedia, and film projects. As a Producer for Question Bridge, she led strategic planning, exhibition management, operations, and the creation of new interactive platforms. Prior to her production practice, Natasha served as the Assistant Director of Career Development for New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She has also curated independent exhibitions for artists in the United States and the United Kingdom. Natasha recently joined Creative Time in New York City as their Project Manager. She graduated with a BA in English Literature and African American Studies from the University of Virginia.
FRED RITCHIN is Dean of the School at ICP (International Center of Photography). Ritchin was also the founding director of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the School of ICP and was appointed Dean in 2014. Prior to joining ICP, Ritchin was professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and co-director of the NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights educational program. He has worked as the picture editor of the New York Times Magazine (1978–82) and of Horizon magazine, executive editor of Camera Arts magazine (1982–83), Ritchin has written and lectured internationally about the challenges and possibilities implicit in the digital revolution.
Question Bridge: Black Males in America is co-published with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement and Aperture Foundation.