Richard J. Powell
Richard J. Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, where he has taught since 1989. In 2007, he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Art Bulletin for a three-year term. He studied at Morehouse College and Howard University before earning his doctorate in art history at Yale University. Along with teaching courses in the arts of the African Diaspora, American art, and contemporary visual studies, he has written extensively on topics ranging from primitivism to postmodernism, including such titles as Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson (1991), Jacob Lawrence (1992), and Black Art: A Cultural History (1997 & 2002). His latest book, Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture (2008), is about 19th, 20th, and 21st century portraits of peoples of African descent in paintings, photographs, graphic arts, and cinema.
Powell has helped organize several art exhibitions, most notably: The Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Modernism (1989); Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance (1997); To Conserve A Legacy: American Art at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (1999); Beauford Delaney: The Color Yellow (2002); Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott (2005); Back to Black: Art, Cinema, & the Racial Imaginary (2005); and Conjuring Bearden (2006). These and other exhibitions curated by Powell have appeared in major museums and galleries both nationally and internationally, and include such institutions as the Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.