Roberta and Richard Huber Colloquium, Spring 2023

Roberta and Richard Huber Colloquium, Spring 2023

Wednesday, February 15, 6:30pm

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Wild Intuition

Dr. Irene Cioffi Whitfield, Jungian Analyst, The Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists (London) and the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association (New York City)

Today, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s position as one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century art is assured.  In his wildly intuitive way, and while still a teenager, he knew exactly what was in store: “I’m going to be famous and I’m going to die young.” Basquiat was an explosive genius that worked at breakneck speed, as if gripped in a hurricane of creation. During his short life, which was extinguished by a heroin overdose at the age of 27, he produced nearly 2,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures, many of them on a gigantic scale. His themes were suitably grand: royalty, heroism and the streets. His artistic enterprise took in high and low and everything in between, and his ambition for personal legacy knew no bounds – he wanted to be king of the contemporary art world and he achieved this in his lifetime. In terms of academic art history, he ascended to the highest echelons of painting practiced by Goya, Picasso, and Anselm Kiefer. The Undiscovered Genius of the Mississippi Delta of 1983 is one such work. Multi-layered in context and content, its complex meaning speaks across generations. All of Basquiat’s subjects are expressed in his singular and electrifying style – a brilliantly coloured mix of punk, cartoon, classical, linear, linguistic, and symbolic notation. Like the jazz musician Charlie Parker, who was one of Basquiat’s cultural heroes and features in his paintings, the artist’s extraordinary access to the ecstatic and destructive powers of creation extracted a terrible price on his perishable human life, but his body of work is everlasting.

Wednesday, February 22, 6:30pm

Luigi Valadier in Nicaragua

Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, the Frick Collection

In January 1767, the silversmith Luigi Valadier (1726–1785) exhibited—in his workshop on Via del Babuino near the Spanish Steps in Rome—a monumental monstrance “destined for a principal church of Mexico, that is in the Indies of Spain”. The following year, on 17 September 1768, Valadier exhibited in his workshop more objects destined for that same “principal church” in Mexico: candlesticks, chalices and three altar lecterns. These works of art have been considered lost and have remained untraced for more than two hundred and fifty years. This lecture presents, for the first time, the unexpected finding of thirty objects by Valadier in the Cathedral of León in Nicaragua, where they have remained—unrecognized—since the eighteenth century, and will present new information as to how the objects travelled from Europe to Central America.


The Duke House Exhibition Series brings contemporary art to the walls of the Institute’s landmarked James B. Duke House. (Website in Construction).


Photo Credits: María Magdalena Campos Pons, Bin Bin Lady, The Papaya, 2005. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco