Art At Noon

William Villalongo on Where the Black Atlantic meets the Black Mediterranean

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General Public
Lori Waselchuk
image of an artwork by William Villalongo titled Sphinx, 2023 (DETAIL). Acrylic, velvet paper and collage on a wood panel. Courtesy of ©Villalongo Studio LLC

Like John Rhoden seventy years before, William Villalongo was awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome in 2020. Here, Villalongo will detail this opportunity to live, research, and make work in Rome in 2021-22. The fellowship enabled him to create new works for his recent solo exhibition Black Menagerie at Susan Inglett Gallery, which tells a nuanced story about the Black presence in antiquity. Villalongo's research took him from map rooms, flea markets, fountains in Rome to southern Italy and the Giza pyramids in Egypt, to learn more about the Roman Empire's relationship to the African continent. Villalongo will share his revelations about the connections between trade and Black labor, which is visible in Roman mythology and the decorative grotesque, and prominent in Rome’s narrative. 

The Art At Noon lectures are supported by the Lefkoe family, in memory of a beloved member of the docent corps, Mildred T. Lefkoe.

Image: William Villalongo, Sphinx, 2023 (DETAIL). Acrylic, velvet paper and collage on a wood panel. Courtesy of ©Villalongo Studio LLC 

bio photo of William Villalongo, brown skin, black hair with a beard. William is wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt and standing with arms crossed in front of one of his works.

William Villalongo lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in 1975 in Hollywood, FL and raised in the town of Bridgeton, NJ. He received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and his MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture residency. Villalongo's creative output involves studio practice, writing and curatorial projects. His figurative paintings, works on paper and sculpture are concerned with representing the Black subject against notions of race and explore metaphors for mythology, way-finding and liberation. Critically acclaimed curatorial projects such as American Beauty at Susan Inglett Gallery in 2013 and Black Pulp! touring nationally between 2016-2018 explore the intersections of politics, history and art. Villalongo is the recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptor's Grant, and the 2022 Jules Guerin & Harold M. English Rome Prize Fellow in Visual Art. His work is included in several notable collections including the Studio Museum In Harlem, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and Princeton University Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio and Denver Art Museum. His work has been reviewed in Art In America, The New Yorker and the New York Times. The artist is represented by Susan Inglett Gallery, New York and is an Associate Professor at The Cooper Union School of Art.