October 4, 2018

A Conversation with Aruna D'Souza

By Office of Communications


San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery is proud to welcome writer and critic Aruna D'Souza, to speak about her newest publication Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts. This free event will include discussion about the relationships between art and race in America and how curators, artists, and institutions deal with these issues as they apply to free speech and censorship.

Whitewalling focuses on three specific incidents: the 2017 Whitney Biennial exhibition featuring a painting by white artist, Dana Schutz of the mutilated body of a young black boy, Emmett Till; a 1979 exhibition titled The Nigger Drawings at New York Artists Space and the Metropolitan Museum’s 1969 exhibition Harlem on My Mind, which did not include a single Black artist. In all of these cases, Black artists, writers, and their allies organized responses through public protest.

These three instances taken as case studies speak to the long and complex history of American race relations in cultural institutions and the country at large. D’Souza examines specifically the role of the art world and arts professionals in bringing these discussions to the forefront of cultural conversations. Who is free to speak on these issues and whose voices should be championed? What is the role of artists and curators in these cases? Whitewalling takes an intimate look at artistic freedom and freedom of speech.

Aruna D’Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics, and how museums shape our views of each other and the world. Her work appears regularly in, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board, and has been published as well in The Wall Street Journal,, Art News, Garage, Bookforum, Momus, Art in America, and Art Practical, among other places. Her book, Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts was published by Badlands Unlimited in May 2018. She currently is editing two forthcoming volumes, Making It Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader, which will be published by Thames & Hudson, and A Presence Which Signals Absence: Lorraine O’Grady Collected Writings 1977-2018.

Nicole Miller received her M.F.A. from the Roski School of the Arts, USC, Los Angeles. Exhibitions include: Athens, California, California African American Museum, Los Angeles; The Borrowers, Koenig & Clinton, New York; Artists’ Film International: Nicole Miller, Ballroom Marfa; The Conductor, High Line Channel 22, New York; Believing is Seeing, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Death of a School, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneve; Every Word Said: History Lessons from Athens and Tucson, MoCA Tucson; and The Conductor, LAXART. She has received the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Award (2018), Rome Prize (2016), William H. Johnson Prize (2015), Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant (2013), Artadia Award (2013), Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award (2012), and others. Miller is assistant professor in Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego.

Join us Monday, October 8th at 2:20pm in G102 for this exciting discussion. Free parking is available in LOT 10 across from the Administration Blgd and Flagpole on Mesa College Drive. For more information, contact Gallery Director, Alessandra Moctezuma at or 619-388-2829.

Tags: Press Release, San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery