Black History Month At PAFA

John Rhoden Catalogue Symposium

Event Information
Rhoden Arts Center
Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
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Advance registration is required.

General Public
Lori Waselchuk
composite graphic is a photo with a detail of a John Rhoden wood sculpture showing a profile of an woman's face with her eyes closed. Also in the graphic is a photo of the Rhoden catalogue.

The John Rhoden Catalogue Symposium launches Determined To Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden (2023, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts), a generous publication that accompanies the first comprehensive retrospective of twentieth century African American sculptor, John Rhoden (1916-2001), curated by Dr. Brittany Webb, the Evelyn and Will Kaplan Curator of Twentieth Century Art and the John Rhoden Collection. 

The John Rhoden Catalogue Symposium is free and open to the public. 

Please review the registration options below carefully and register only for the events you plan to attend or conveniently register for all events.

The afternoon sessions offer expertise and context for both the exhibition and catalogue. Learn about the challenges and rewards of photographing sculpture. Experience a deeply considered gallery talk about John Rhoden's bronze sculpture, The Slave Ship (1989).  Learn about the fruitful scholarship contributing to John Rhoden's artistic legacy in a roundtable conversation with the catalogue authors. 

In the evening celebrate the remarkable exhibition catalogue with a party and a keynote address by Imani Perry, an American interdisciplinary scholar, winner of a 2023 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the 2022 National Book Prize for Nonfiction for her book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation (2022).

The John Rhoden exhibition and PAFA's gift shop will remain open through 6:30 PM.

Image: John Rhoden, The Offering (detail), 1963. Teak, overall, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The John Walter and Richanda Phillips Rhoden Collection, 2019.27.17

Symposium Schedule

installation photo of two bronze works by John Rhoden on pedestals. The gallery and pedestals are painted green. The work in the foreground, "Eve", is a nude female figure in a dance position holding a ball in the right hand. The piece in the background is, Keesong, an abstract figure. .

1:30 – 2:10      Photographing Sculpture with catalogue photography team, Sahar Coston-Hardy and Ed DiJoseph  

2:30 – 3:10     The Slave Ship, a gallery talk by Renée Ater, Independent Scholar and Visiting Associate Professor, Brown University

3:30 – 5:00     Catalogue Authors’ Roundtable featuring Kelin Baldridge Smallwood, Processing Archivist, University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts; Greg Barnhisel, Professor of English, Duquesne University; Katelyn Crawford, The William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art, Birmingham Museum of Art; Sylvea Hollis, Associate Professor, Montgomery College; Han McCoy, Rhoden Curatorial Assistant, PAFA; and Brittany Webb, the Evelyn and Will Kaplan Curator of Twentieth Century Art and the John Rhoden Collection, PAFA. 

Register for the afternoon sessions only



bio photo if Imani Perry, a person with brown skin, braided hair gathered in bun on top of their head, and wearing a bright pink blouse.

5:30 - 6:30     Catalogue Launch Party. Celebrate the beautiful catalogue and purchase your copy! The exhibition and PAFA's shop will be open after museum hours until 6:30. 

6:30 - 7:30     Keynote address by Imani Perry

Imani Perry is an interdisciplinary scholar and writer giving fresh context to African American social conditions and experiences along dimensions of race, gender, and politics. Perry is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a 2023 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Perry’s recent book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation (2022) won the National Book Prize for Nonfiction

Imani Perry received a BA (1994) from Yale University, a PhD (2000) from Harvard University, a JD (2000) from Harvard Law School, and an LLM (2002) from Georgetown University Law Center. She was professor of law with Rutgers University School of Law from 2002 to 2009 and was the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University from 2009 to 2023. Currently, Perry is a Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute, and the Henry A. Morss, Jr., and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and of African and African American Studies and co-founder of the Black Teacher Archive at Harvard University. Her other publications include the audiobook A Dangerously High Threshold for Pain (2023), Breathe: A Letter to My Sons (2019), and Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip-Hop (2004), and she is a contributing writer at The Atlantic

Image:  © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation - used with permission. 

Register for the Catalogue Launch Party and Keynote Address only