Clark art Institute fellow presents: ‘Slave portraiture at the threshold of Emancipation’

Agnes Lugo-Ortiz, a Clark/Oakley Humanities Fellow at the Clark Art Institute, presents the free lecture “Slave Portraiture at the Thresholds of Emancipation (A Caribbean Meditation)” on Tuesday, October 17 at 5:30 pm. The lecture, held in conjunction with the Clark’s Research and Academic Program, will be held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion.

The talk addresses the visualization of enslaved subjects in portraiture during the period of emancipation in the Caribbean. Lugo-Ortiz underscores the conflictive political forces, affective dynamics, and aesthetic principles at work in the composition of these images—and the limits placed on the visual configuration of black people as subjects of freedom.

Agnes Lugo-Ortiz is associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures at the University of Chicago. She has published on Cuban biography, the concept of the archive, and queer writing in the Caribbean. Among other works, she is the author of Identidades imaginadas: Biografía y nacionalidad en el horizonte de la guerra (Cuba, 1860–1898) and co-editor of Herencia: The Anthology of US Hispanic Writing (2001) and (with Angela Rosenthal) of Slave Portraiture in the Atlantic World (2014). At the Clark, she is advancing a book project exploring the relationships between visual culture and plantation slavery in colonial Cuba.


The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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