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Dark Humor

Dark Humor

Peter Williams talked with Bradley Rubinstein about his work in a recent interview in Artslant: “It is not my voice I feel the need to exercise but the voice of many, who remain nameless. Day in and day out they deal with, encounter, engage the horror of our current crisis. We seem to forget that the history of this country is of violating the civil rights of the “Other,” be they African-Americans, Mexicans, or indigenous people. There is no heaven, only the concept that Whiteness promotes controlling the natives, as they perceive us. The ideal of an afterlife is one of the great jokes played out through religion and Christian supremacy. We look for redemption for an act we never seem to escape, our “negritude” and/or “otherness.” My vision is of the history of art being able to tell the appalling story of humankind and the evils it perpetuates. Every now and then we seem to need a war or cleansing to sort things out. Why? Because we are all fallible, and the weak unfortunately are on the front lines of that battle.”

Peter Williams received his BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and his MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. He is a professor of art at the University of Delaware. The N-Word: Paintings by Peter Williams (Rotland Press: Detroit, 2016) is a timely monograph of recent and compelling work by Williams, that caustically confronts the recent attacks, killings, and murder of Black people by police across the United States. The book contains an introduction to Williams’ work, an in-depth conversation between he and acclaimed playwright, poet, critic and novelist Bill Harris, and an original short story by author Lynn Crawford inspired by Williams’ urgent vision.

An endowment established in 1983 through the generosity of Nancy and Robin Hanes supports the Art Department’s Visiting Artist Series. This important program brings both established and emerging artists to campus to discuss their work in public lectures and to offer individual critiques to our M.F.A. students.  The Hanes Visiting Artist series greatly enriches both our academic programs and our outreach to the wider community.  All lectures are free and open to the public.

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