The Power Institute is pleased to present a lecture by Steven Nelson, Professor of African and African American Art and Director of the UCLA African Studies Center at UCLA. Post-Soul Gesamtkunstwerk: Julie Mehretu’s Abstract Spectacle is the second in our series of Keir Lectures on Art for 2018.



Much of Ethiopian-born, New York-based artist Julie Mehretu’s work brings together painting, drawing and architectural rendering to create massive works to enact confrontations between different syntaxes of meaning. This discussion explores the intersection of these mediums with the tools of the geographer as a means to understand how her work details and critiques our globalized, seemingly placeless present. It will also analyze how the artist’s knotty, chaotic tableaus where different mediums simultaneously support and undo one another provides striking analogies for the negotiation and construction of complicated subjectivities and the difficult political contexts in which we find ourselves.



Steven Nelson is Professor of African and African American Art and Director of the UCLA African Studies Center. He is currently the Treasurer of the National Committee for the History of Art and a member of the General Assembly of the Comité international d’histoire de l’art, and a Contributing Editor to Grove Art Online. Professor Nelson was a former president of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association; served as member of the advisory board for the for the National Gallery’s Center for Advanced Visual Study; and was Reviews Editor for Art Journal and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. His book From Cameroon to Paris: Mousgoum Architecture In and Out of Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2007) has won multiple awards. His writings on the contemporary and historic arts, architecture and urbanism of Africa and its diasporas, African American art history, and queer studies have appeared in anthologies and exhibition catalogues as well as in African Arts, Architecture New York(ANY), Art Bulletin, Artforum, Art Journal, Documents, Journal of Homosexuality, Museums International, New Formations, and Politique Africaine. Professor Nelson has received numerous fellowships and visiting appointments. He is currently completing two new books titled, “Structural Adjustment: Mapping, Geography, and the Visual Cultures of Blackness,” and “On The Underground Railroad.”



6-7:30pm, 14 August 2018

Heydon Laurence Lecture Theatre 217

Heydon Laurence Building

Science Road

University of Sydney

NSW 2006


Register to attend here



The Keir Lectures on Artseries is a Power Instituted initiative supported by the Keir Foundation and presented in partnership with The University of Melbourne.