John Sommers Gallery

John Sommers Gallery

The John Sommers Gallery is the main exhibition space for the Department of Art’s creative students and faculty. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Art Building right next to the Department of Art Administrative offices. The gallery has two rooms totaling approximately 1000 square feet and serves as the space for a rotating program showcasing student artwork.

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An Evening at John Sommers … / with /

“An Evening at John Sommers … / with /” is a monthly online student-led academic lecture series hosted at the John Sommers Gallery. This groundbreaking program of internationally celebrated guest speakers in the arts and humanities brings our community into conversation with contemporary creative practices which span dance, composition, poetry, fine art, and critical theory. This lecture series is free and open to the public on Zoom. (link to come)


Dispossession and Disposition: On the Work Cameron Rowland

Centering on Cameron Rowland’s Tax Return (2018), this talk addresses racialized embodiment and embodied life in relation to the interlocking questions of violence, surplus, and representation that subtend globalized flows of capital. If, as Paula Chakravartty and Denise Ferreira da Silva suggest, the logic of global financial capital hinges upon an irreducible raciality, how might we think about the minor aesthetic practices generated by “aberrant economic subjects” who at once bear the conditions of possibility for, intransigent threats to, and deviant enactments of dispossessive accumulation?

Please click here to join the webinar:

Rizvana Bradley is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media at UC Berkeley. Before coming to UC Berkeley, Bradley was an Assistant Professor in the History of Art and African American Studies at Yale and has taught at Emory University, and in the Department of the History of Art at the University College London. Bradley’s forthcoming book is a recipient of a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and offers a critical examination of the black body across a range of experimental artistic practices that integrate film and other media. Her scholarly writing on art at the intersections of film, media, and performance have appeared in TDR: The Drama Review, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, and Film Quarterly, and Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Her essays on contemporary art have also been published in Art in America, eflux, and Parkett.

Bradley has curated a number of academic arts symposia, including events at the British Film Institute, London, the Serpentine Gallery, London, and most recently, the Stedelijk Museum of Art, Amsterdam.

Artist Talk

Deborah Roberts is a mixed media artist whose work challenges the notion of ideal beauty. Her work has been exhibited internationally across the USA and Europe. Roberts’ work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles, California; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia and the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, among several other institutions.

She was selected to participate in the Robert Rauschenberg Residency (2019) and is the recipient of the Anonymous Was A Woman Grant (2018), Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2016), and the Ginsburg-Klaus Award Fellowship (2014).

Roberts received her MFA from Syracuse University, New York. She lives and works in Austin, Texas. She has a solo exhibition opening Fall 2020 at The Contemporary Austin. Roberts is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, CA.

Raisin 44 x 32 inches Mixed media collage on paper 2017

Artist Talk

Faustin Linyekula is a dancer, choreographer, director, and storyteller as he defines himself. He lives in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. He is the founder of the Studios Kabako (2001), a space dedicated to dance, visual theatre, music, and film, providing training programs, supporting research and creation, and fostering Congolese artists to tell their own stories.

Mixing movements, texts, videos, and music-sound is central to his practice. Linyekula’s work, eminently political, defies all classification. Infusing poetry into daily life, it tells stories about Congo and how the troubled History of his country has dramatically affected individual journeys.

In Kisangani, Studios Kabako is also working with communities of the Lubanga district around environmental and sustainability issues as well as education. Or how to speak to a city from its most fragile part?

In 2007, he received the Principal Award of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. In 2014, he also received the First Prize of the CurryStone Foundation for the work developed with young artists and communities in Kisangani.

In 2016, he was an associate artist to the city of Lisbon and in 2019 at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. In 2017, he was awarded the first Soros Arts Fellowship, and in 2019 the Tällberg / Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.

Linyekula’s pieces are touring worldwide.

BMW Tate Live Exhibition Performance / Tate

Artist Talk

Sarah Hennies is a composer based in upstate New York whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer & trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics, and percussion. She is primarily a composer of small chamber works, but is also active in improvisation, film, performance art, and dance.

She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Festival Cable (Nantes), send + receive (Winnipeg), O’ Art Space (Milan), The OBEY Convention (Halifax), Cafe Oto (London), ALICE (Copenhagen), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Cristian Alvear, Claire Chase, R. Andrew Lee (Denver), LIMINAR, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Two-Way Street, and Yarn/Wire.

Her ground breaking audio-visual work Contralto (2017) explores transfeminine identity through the elements of “voice feminization” therapy, featuring a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied musical score for string quartet and three percussionists.

She is the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has received additional support from New Music USA, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.



Artist Talk

Minerva Cuevas is a conceptual artist, based in Mexico City,  whose research-based creative practice spans film, performance, installation, mural painting, and technology. Using the language of branding, advertising, and commerce, Cuevas illuminates issues caused by neoliberal policymaking including the exploitation of natural resources and food production, as well as climate change. She blends appropriation, humor, and hyperbole in the creation of unconventional projects that are always in deep conversations with the place and the people of the community in which her work will be developed and exhibited.