“In a Speculative Light: The Portrait Project”
A beautiful testament to the friendship and respect among Beauford Delaney, James Baldwin, and their circle of friends are numerous portrait drawings completed over the years. During the course of the three-day symposium “In Speculative Light: The Arts of James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney,” a group of four artists would like to continue this atmosphere and ethic of aesthetic generosity by creating a set of portraits of a number of the symposium’s speakers, including Fred Moten and David Leeming.
The artists offering to take part in the project are Jered Sprecher, Joshua Bienko, Rubens Ghenov, and Mary Laube. The proposal is that designated participants would work with artists for 60-90 minutes during the run of the symposium and sit for a portrait. The “sitting” would take place in a room set up as a pop-up studio with resonances to Delaney’s own white-walled apartment/studio, and would be located at the symposium space in the UT Student Union at the University of Tennessee. One or more artists would work on a portrait drawing during this timeframe. The artists will also take a few digital images of the individual sitting for the portrait, as a reference should the drawing need to be reworked.
These drawings will be done in the spirit of Beauford Delaney’s many portraits of James Baldwin and will be an enacted enunciation of the largesse of their relationship and aesthetics. The portraits of the participants may be used in a future publication resulting from the symposium.
The pop-up portrait studio is open to the public.