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20 Oct 2020

Virtual Insights: Figuring Absence

Examining a selection of early American artworks and objects from the American Folk Art Museum, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and other collections through a twenty-first century lens, historian Nalleli Guillen joins Curator of Folk Art Emelie Gevalt in a conversation on race, representation, and exclusion in 18th- and early 19th-century American art. A Q&A session will follow the conversation.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming.

After registering, you will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link for joining the program via computer or mobile device at the end of the email under ‘Additional Information’. Please email if you have any questions.

Nalleli Guillen is Historian and Project Manager of the Revealing Long Island History project at the Brooklyn Historical Society, a cataloging and research initiative funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation dedicated to making BHS’s collection of Brooklyn and Long Island artifacts digitally available to the public. Nalleli received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization in May 2018 and holds an M.A. in American Material Culture, both from the University of Delaware. She is a specialist in nineteenth-century America with a particular interest in visual and material culture and their intersection with race and ethnicity. Her artifact research at BHS has been focused on uncovering the hidden histories of Brooklyn’s historically underrepresented communities. A case study examining an example of Revolutionary era portraiture and slavery in Brooklyn will soon be published in the journal Winterthur Portfolio, in an upcoming special issue on enslavement and material culture.

Emelie Gevalt is Curator of Folk Art at the American Folk Art Museum, where she recently curated Signature Styles: Friendship, Album, and Fundraising Quilts, as part of a series of quilts exhibitions at the museum’s location in Long Island City. In addition to her curatorial work, Gevalt is pursuing her doctorate in American art history at the University of Delaware, where her scholarship has been supported by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Track Ph.D. Fellowship. Often looking at earlier material through the lens of twentieth-century histories of collecting and collective memory, her work encompasses research interests in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American portraiture, painted furniture, the Colonial Revival movement, and African American material culture and representation. Gevalt received her B.A. in art history and theater studies from Yale University and her M.A. from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. Her Winterthur thesis, on the topic of early eighteenth-century painted chests from Taunton, Massachusetts, was recently published in the Chipstone Foundation’s American Furniture. Her research has been supported in part by grants from the Craft Research Fund and the Decorative Arts Trust. She has previously held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Christie’s, New York.

Support for 2020 remote public programs is provided by Art Bridges and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).


Image: The Residence of David Twining 1785; Edward Hicks (1780–1849); 1846; Oil on canvas, in original wood frame with paint and gold leaf; 26 1/8 × 29 3/4″; Gift of Ralph Esmerian; 2005.8.13; Photo: John Bigelow Taylor.

6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Online; free with registration