No. 543: Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast

Episode No. 543 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curator Elyse Nelson.

Along with Wendy S. Walters, Nelson is the co-curator of “Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition interrogates French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s 1868/73 marble bust Why Born Enslaved! and places the sculpture in the context of French history, racialization, and in the representation of Black men and women by sculptors in Europe and the US during and after the nineteenth century. It’s on view through March 5, 2023.

The Met has published an excellent catalogue for the project. It includes contributions from Sarah E. Lawrence, Iris Moon, Caitlin Meehye Beach, Rachel Hunter Himes, James Smalls, Adrienne Childs, Nelson, and Walters. It is available from Indiebound and Amazon for about $25.

Instagram: Elyse Nelson, Tyler Green.

Air date: March 31, 2022.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Why Born Enslaved!, 1868/1873.

Jean Antoine Houdon, Head of a Woman (Buste de Negresse), ca. 1781.

Jean Antoine Houdon, Bust of a Woman, 1794 or later.

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, Allegory of Africa, modeled ca. 1863-64.

Michelangelo, Night, 1526-31.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, The Four Parts of the World Supporting the Celestial Sphere, ca. 1872.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Study for The Four Parts of the World Supporting the Celestial Sphere, 1867-68.

Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier, Woman from the French Colonies, 1861.

Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier, Bust of Seïd Enkess, 1848.

Kara Walker, Negress, 2017.

Kehinde Wiley, After La Négresse, 1872, 2007.

Edmonia Lewis, Forever Free, 1867.

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