Brown Arts Initiative at Brown University announces 2018-19 presenters in Warren and Allison Kanders Lecture Series

Participants in the topical, interactive series for academic year 2018‒19 include artists Rina Banerjee and Isaac Julien, curator and author Helen Molesworth, and Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art Adam Weinberg

Providence, RI…The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University today announced a dynamic roster of presenters in the upcoming Warren and Allison Kanders Lecture Series, an annual series of presentations and student interactions led by prominent contemporary artists and art-world luminaries that launched last year. Designed to serve as a catalyst for open dialogue about the impact of contemporary visual art on our world, the series includes four presentations and related programs per academic year. This year’s participants include ground-breaking artists Rina Banerjee and Isaac Julien, distinguished contemporary art curator and author Helen Molesworth, and the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art Adam Weinberg.

The Warren and Allison Kanders Lecture Series serves as a signature component of the BAI’s programming season. The BAI was launched in 2017 to fulfill a key goal of the University’s Building on Distinction strategic plan—to cultivate creative expression and ensure that the arts are central to the Brown experience and a vibrant means to explore our shared humanity.

Participants spend several days on campus engaging with students through seminars and workshops, studio visits, discussions, and other activities, highlighted by a presentation that may take the form of a lecture or conversation with another art-world figure. The presentations are held in the Martinos Auditorium of the Granoff Center and are open to the public. Admission is free, but advance registration is required at

In addition to the four presentations this year, the Kanders Lecture Series includes two other related programs featuring contemporary artists and cultural leaders. From October to mid-December, the BAI and the David Winton Bell Gallery mounts On Protest, Art & Activism, a series of exhibitions and public programs that explore art and activism, with works by Badlands Unlimited with Paul Chan, Hermine Freed, Ja’Tovia Gary, Theaster Gates, Suzanne Lacy, Josephine Meckseper, Howardena Pindell, Martha Rosler and Dread Scott. In early November, the BAI screens The Price of Everything, a new documentary by Nathaniel Kahn that examines the contemporary art world market; a discussion with the filmmaker follows the screening.

BAI faculty director Butch Rovan said, “The Warren and Allison Kanders Lecture Series exemplifies the ethos of the BAI and the central importance of the arts at Brown. We deeply appreciate Warren and Allison Kanders for supporting it and enriching the Brown experience so profoundly through direct engagement with art world icons. Last year, we had the pleasure of hosting Nick Cave, Thelma Golden, Wangechi Mutu, and Shirin Neshat, internationally renowned figures who shared their practices, perspectives, experience, and enthusiasm with our community. We look forward to welcoming these gifted individuals as they consider the essential role of artists and innovators in contemporary society.”

A Brown University graduate of the class of 1979, Warren Kanders serves on the boards of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States and the Hospital for Special Surgery. He is president of Kanders & Company, Inc., a private investment firm. Allison Kanders serves as co-chair of the Painting and Sculpture Acquisitions Committee at the Whitney Museum of American Art and on the boards of the Aspen Art Museum and Aspen Music Festival and School.

About the Participants

Rina Banerjee is a multi-faceted artist whose practice includes painting, sculpture, works on paper and installation drawing on her science background. Using natural and man-made materials (from feathers and shells to fabric and plastic sourced from across the globe), her works examine how identity, culture and tradition are experienced within diasporic communities. Born in Calcutta, India in 1963, Banerjee has lived in New York City since childhood.

She received a Bachelor of Science in polymer engineering at Case Western University in 1993, and worked as a polymer research chemist at Pennsylvania State University. There she began to pursue a studio practice with coursework. Leaving the science profession, Banerjee received a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University in 1995. Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Gallery, 55th Venice Biennale, and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World, her first in-depth retrospective, will be on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts October 28, 2018 ‒ March 31, 2019.

Rina Banerjee: In Conversation
November 28, 5:30 pm

Acclaimed filmmaker and artist Isaac Julien makes multi-screen film installations and photographs that incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. Born in 1960 in London, he is a leading figure at the intersection of media art and cinema and his installation work is included in prominent institutions around the world. His films include Looking for Langston (1989) and Young Soul Rebels (1991), which won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Julien’s recent exhibitions and presentations include: Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco (2017); Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2017); Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2017); and Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2016). Julien participated in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, at the inaugural Diaspora Pavilion with Western Union: Small Boats and in the 56th edition. His film installation Stones Against Diamonds, was shown in 2015 as part of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme and at Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.

Julien has taught extensively, including as chair of Global Art at University of Arts London (2014‒16) and professor of Media Art at Staatliche Hoscschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008–16). He is the recipient of the James Robert Brudner ‘83 Memorial Prize and Lecture at Yale University (2016). Julien was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2017. Most recently he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017) for most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and, in 2018, he was made a Royal Academician.

Isaac Julien: In Conversation
March 20, 2019, 5:30 pm

From 2014–18, Helen Molesworth was the chief curator at Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, where she co-organized the first U.S. retrospective of the Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino and the monographic survey Kerry James Marshall: Mastry. She also reinstalled MOCA’s esteemed permanent collection and organized the large-scale group exhibition One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art. From 2010–14, she was the Barbara Lee Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston, where she assembled one-person exhibitions of artists Steve Locke, Catherine Opie, Josiah McElheny and Amy Sillman, and the acclaimed group exhibitions Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957, Dance/Draw, and This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s.

Previously as head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at Harvard University Art Museums, she presented an exhibition of photographs by Moyra Davey and ACT UP NY: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis 1987–1993. From 2002–07 she was the chief curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, where she organized the first U.S. retrospectives of Louise Lawler and Luc Tuymans, as well as Part Object Part Sculpture, which examined the influence of Marcel Duchamp’s erotic objects.

She is the author of numerous catalogue essays and her writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Art Journal, Documents, and October. The recipient of the 2011 Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Curatorial Excellence, she is currently at work on a book of essays about what art does.

Helen Molesworth: In Conversation
October 24, 5:30 pm

Adam D. Weinberg became the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum in 2003. During his tenure, the Whitney has presented dozens of exhibitions on emerging, mid- career and senior artists, offered award-winning educational programs, experienced exponential growth in the permanent collection and dramatically expanded its performance program. In 2015, the Museum opened its new 220,000-square-foot Renzo Piano-designed building in the Meatpacking District.

From 1999 to 2003, Weinberg was director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy. Prior to that, he was senior curator and curator of the Permanent Collection at the Whitney. In 1991, Weinberg became artistic and program director of the American Center in Paris. He joined the Whitney in 1989 as director of the Whitney at Equitable Center. Beginning in 1981, Weinberg served as director of education and assistant curator at the Walker Art Center.

Weinberg has curated exhibitions on artists from Edward Hopper, Richard Pousette-Dart and Isamu Noguchi to Alex Katz, Robert Mangold, Sol Lewitt and Frank Stella. He has organized thematic exhibitions and public projects with such artists as Christian Boltanski, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Lorna Simpson and Jessica Stockholder. He has written numerous catalogues, and has been a grant panelist for federal, state, city and private foundations.

Weinberg serves as a board member of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Storm King Art Center; The American Academy in Rome, Terra Foundation for American Art and the Colby College Museum of Art. He holds a BA from Brandeis University and a master’s degree from the Visual Studies Workshop, SUNY Buffalo. He has received honorary degrees from Colby College and the Pratt Institute. In 2015, he was awarded the insignia of Officer of the
Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

Adam Weinberg: In Conversation
April 17, 2019, 5:30 pm

About Brown Arts Initiative

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world. A consortium of six arts departments and two programs that encompass the performing, literary and visual arts, BAI works collaboratively to enhance curricular and co-curricular offerings, directly engage students with prominent artists working in all genres and media, and supports a diverse program of concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and symposia each year. BAI takes full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum and builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory, practice and scholarship with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.

BAI comprises and integrates History of Art and Architecture; Literary Arts; Modern Culture and Media; Music; Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Visual Art; the David Winton Bell Gallery; and Rites and Reason Theatre/Africana Studies.

L to R: Rina Banerjee (Photo: Courtesy of the artist), Isaac Julien (Photo: Thierry Bal), Helen Molesworth (Photo: Myles Pettengill), Adam Weinberg