Helen M. Shannon, Moderator
Helen M. Shannon is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Museum Education Program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has worked in museum education at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. From 2001 to 2006, she served as Executive Director of the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.
Ms. Shannon holds degrees in art history--a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her teaching career has included positions at Rutgers-New Brunswick and at Sarah Lawrence College. She has spoken at museums and colleges as well as at academic and professional conferences on such subjects as the influence of African art on American modernism, the history of African-American art, and the state of museums.
Salah Hassan, Curator
Born in the Sudan, Hassan received his Ph.D. in 1988 and an M.A. in 1984, from the University of Pennsylvania, after graduating with a B.A. (honors) in 1978, from the University of Khartoum. He is currently Professor and Director of the Africana Studies and Research Center, and professor of African and African Diaspora art history and visual culture, Department of History of Art and Visual Culture, Cornell University. He also served as Chair of History of Art, Cornell University between (2000-2005). He is also a curator and art critic. Prior to joining Cornell faculty, Hassan taught in the Department of History of Art at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Department of Art History and General Studies in the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum, Sudan. He is founder and editor of NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and serves as consulting editor for African Arts and Atlantica.
Dr. Kelly Jones, Art Historian
Art historian and curator, Dr. Kellie Jones is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latino/a and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1999.
For 2006 Dr. Jones was named a Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University as well as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Ford Foundation. In 2005 she was the inaugural recipient of the David C. Driskell Award in African American Art and Art History from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and a Scholar-in-Residence, at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.
Dr. Jones’ recent publications include “Black West, thoughts on art in Los Angeles” (2006), “’It’s Not Enoug h to Say Black is Beautiful’: Abstraction at the Whitney, 1969-1974” (2006), “To/From Los Angeles with Betye Saar” (2005); “Brothers and Sisters” (2005), and Lorna Simpson (2002). Her writings have appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues and the journals NKA, Artforum, Flash Art, Atlantica, and Third Text among others. Current book projects include, Taming the Freeway and Other Acts of Urban HIP-notism: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (forthcoming from The MIT Press), an anthology on David Hammons, Mexican and African American conceptual art in transnational perspective, and a book of collected essays.
Dr. Jones has worked as a curator for over two decades and has more than twenty-five major national and international exhibitions to her credit. She has organized shows for the Johannesburg Biennale (1997) and São Paulo Bienal (1989), the latter of which won the grand prize for best individual exhibition. Her most recent museum position was as adjunct curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; her shows there included, “Art Performs Life: Cunningham/Monk/Jones” (1998) and "Dawoud Bey: Portraits 1975-1995" (1995). Her most recent exhibition was “Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964-1980” at The Studio Museum in Harlem (April-July 2006). She was co-curator of the exhibition “Basquiat” which toured New York, Los Angeles, and Houston in 2005-2006.
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Artist
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons is an artist who is very interested in the Diaspora of African descendants, as she herself was born in the Matanzas province of Cuba but now lives and works in the United States. Campos-Pons bears a familial history that is deeply intermingled with the sugar industry’s presence in her hometown of La Vega. Her work is an open-ended and continually evolving investigation of history and memory, and their roles in the formation of identity.