Cotton: A Lecture with John E. Dowell in Philly

Cotton: A Lecture with John E. Dowell
African American Museum Philadelphia
Thursday, December 13, 6 – 8 p.m.

Free with RSVP

On Thursday, December 13, the African American Museum in Philadelphia invites to you join us for the special lecture and conversation with Philadelphia-based photographer, master-printer and visual artist, John E. Dowell. For this free public lecture, Dowell expounds on the historical and contemporary themes found within his exhibition, Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for an opening wine and cheese reception. The lecture will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m., and will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Sending the Message, Cotton, by John Dowell artist photographer

More on Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past

The 35 large-scale photographs, installation and altarpiece featured in Cotton: The Soft Dangerous Beauty of the Past explore the dichotomy between the beauty of the plant, and its inexorable link to the horrors of chattel slavery in the U.S. The exhibition also evokes the often overlooked history of slavery in the North, specifically in New York City. Dowell meticulously documents cotton as a symbol to channel ideas, dreams and fantasies—and as a portal to communicate with ancestors and with the viewer.

John E. Dowell is a Philadelphia based, nationally recognized artist, master-printer and photographer. A professor Emeritus of Tyler School of Art at Temple University, for more than four decades, Dowell’s fine art prints, paintings and photographs have been featured in more than 50 one-person exhibitions and represented in the permanent collections of 70 museums and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France.

A Blast from the Past: Video of Lecture & Musical Performance in ’79

Here I am lecturing on the relationship between music and printmaking for me. Enjoy!

A description of the video recording, by Bill Ritchie (at that time, Professor of Art at the University of Washington):

“John E. Dowell, Jr. returned to the University of Washington in 1979 to “perform” his paintings with the Visual Music Ensemble, a group he assembled to play musical works based on his watercolors. He also spoke to students in the School of Art Graduate Seminar, with Bill H. Ritchie hosting him at the CCTV Studios. Mr. Dowell got his MFA Degree in Printmaking at the UW in 1966, and Ritchie invited him back because John shows how he blends musical composition with visual arts and shows how artists from different disciplines can take on creative efforts together.”