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Saturday, June 12, 2021

First Beauford Delaney Research Award Recipient Announced

Beauford Delaney
1953 - Carl Van Vechten

On Sunday, June 6, 2021, during a ceremony held at the Festival d'histoire de l'art (Festival of Art History) at the Château de Fontainebleau, the first recipient of the Beauford Research Grant was announced.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, in partnership with FACE Foundation and INHA, and with support from the Ford Foundation, awarded the prize to Ms. Vanina Géré for her research project entitled "'Hacking apparatuses of control': Contemporary African-American Political Digital Practices and Beyond." She will receive $20,000 to cover expenses related to her research project in the U.S. next year.

Ms. Géré is a Paris-based scholar who specializes in contemporary American art, with special interests in art and activism, feminist art history, African-American studies, software studies and contemporary painting. She wrote Les mauvais sentiments – L'art de Kara Walker, a book that "traces the career of Kara Walker (born in 1969), the most internationally recognized African-American artist since Jean-Michel Basquiat, and explores the history of the reception of a work that faces the limits of representation, challenging the question of the figuration of the black body."

Currently teaching at Villa Arson National School of Fine Arts in Nice, France, Ms. Géré will be on a sabbatical leave this upcoming year to conduct a research on feminist, Afro-feminist and anti-racist activist practices in digital art and culture in Europe and the U.S. Thanks to this grant, she will be traveling to New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles to meet with artists, curators and writers.

France Nerlich, who granted Les Amis a two-part interview about the award, presented Ms. Géré to festival attendees. Watch her presentation and Ms. Géré's acceptance speech (in French) here:

FHA21 - dimanche 6 juin - Salle des Colonnes, château de Fontainebleau

France Nerlich at the Festival of Art History
Screenshot from Festival's YouTube video

Beginning at 24:06 minutes, Ms. Nerlich relates the story of how the grant was conceived.

At 26:11 minutes, she explains why the grant is named after Beauford.

At 27:08 minutes, she introduces Ms. Géré.

At 28:17 minutes, Ms. Géré takes the microphone and describes her encounter with Beauford's art at the Tate Modern during the Soul of a Nation exhibition in 2017.  She then presents the project that inspired the committee to grant her the award.

Vanina Géré at the Festival of Art History
Screenshot from Festival's YouTube video

The selection committee, comprised of art historians Eric de Chassey, Director of INHA in Paris, Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History at Duke University, Anne Lafont, Art Historian and directrice d'études à l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), France Nerlich, Director of Studies and Research at INHA, and Anne-Claire Duprat, Visual Arts Officer at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., received a total of six excellent research proposals, which is an honorable number for a new grant in its first year. The committee extends its warmest encouragement to Helene Valance for her project “Re-present: African-American representations of the national past, 19th-early 20th century,” which came in second place.

Committee member Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History at Duke University, and curator of the Beauford Delaney: The Color Yellow exhibition launched at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta in 2002, commented on the award as follows:

I am delighted that this new research grant, named after the legendary artist Beauford Delaney, will further strengthen the long-standing cultural ties between France and the United States. Given the importance of France in the careers and creative works of countless artists of African descent, this grant honors Delaney and his fellow travelers, and promises to make their artistic contributions better known.

Gaëtan Bruel, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the U.S., commented as follows:

In our current socio-political context, both in France and the United States, BIPOC communities are rightfully asking for equality and better representation and visibility, including in the arts. We at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy are committed now more than ever to pursuing our mission to support high quality artistic projects that speak to the crucial issues of our times while promoting the social and humanistic values that are at the core of the Franco-America friendship. We send Vanina Géré our best wishes for the success of her future research project. We also thank our partners, FACE Foundation and the Ford Foundation, for their essential support, and their ongoing commitment to make this world a better, fairer place through art and culture.

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