Artists, curators consider complexities of performances that explore identity, including gender, ethnicity, race and class

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University's 2016 Master of Fine Arts colloquium features expert discussion on social, political implications of masquerade
November 15, 2016

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Robin Smyton

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Nov. 15, 2016) -- The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is proud to present "Drag Face," a panel discussion examining how masquerade intersects with gender politics and racial identity. This event, the school's 2016 Master of Fine Arts colloquium, is presented in collaboration with the List Visual Arts Center at MIT and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and will be held on Friday, Nov. 18, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the MFA's Remis Auditorium. 

Danielle Abrams, a visiting professor of performance at the SMFA at Tufts, will present her character, Routine, a Jewish comedian from the 1960s Catskill region of New York, where blackface performances were common in the early 20th century.

Kareem Khubchandani, assistant professor in the Department of Drama and Dance at Tufts University, who often appears as his alter ego LaWhore Vagistan, will discuss his upcoming book, "Ishtyle: Improvising Gay South Asian Nightlife," a performance ethnography of gay nightlife spaces in Bangalore and Chicago.

Edgar Arceneaux will speak about "Until, Until, Until…", a short feature film which originated as a theatrical play and examines Broadway legend Ben Vereen's controversial blackface performance at Ronald Reagan's 1981 inaugural celebration.  Arceneaux's film will be screened at the MFA following the colloquium.

Arcenaux's solo multimedia exhibit, "Written in Smoke and Fire," which presents three interlocking projects that reflect how time reshapes narratives by exploring African-American history throughout the 20th century, is currently on display at MIT's List Visual Arts Center.

Additional participants include opera director Laine Rettmer, a current Master of Fine Arts candidate at the SMFA at Tufts, who will look at the history of ""pants roles"" in opera, and writer and curator Henriette Huldisch of MIT's List Visual Arts Center. Jeannie Sims, professor of the practice and chair of the SMFA at Tufts' Photography Department, will lead the discussion. The panel was organized by Mary Ellen Strom, director of the Master of Fine Arts program at the SMFA at Tufts, with assistance by Tufts Master of Fine Arts candidate Isabel Beavers.

Admission to the colloquium is open to the public, and free with admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1876 as part of the Museum of Fine Art's mission to educate through the arts. After a more than 70-year relationship with Tufts University, it officially became part of Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences in July 2016. The SMFA at Tufts is extraordinary in being affiliated with a world class museum and part of a major research university. Tufts, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.