Darby English serves as Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago.Professor English writes in the areas of modern and contemporary art, cultural studies, and art theory and criticism. He has written numerous publications in the field of art history. His recently published book How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness re-visits key debates concerning African American art in order to question the inclination to interpret art produced by black artists as naturally in dialogue with the issues of race and politics.
His lecture, “Abstracts of Intimacy,” examined a set of exhibitions in New York and Houston organized in 1971. Professor English considered the “experimental, multiracial sociality in which many abstract art practices thrived in the late- sixties and early-seventies U.S.” He noted that his main concern lied in “the implications that this moment may have for our histories of late modernist aesthetics and black cultural politic…and, more broadly, for our conceptualization and occupation of the terrain those histories share.”