Levester Williams is a multimedia artist whose artistic production is rooted in explorations of the relationships between the material and social worlds. His sculptural work and multichannel video projects have been exhibited in museums and art spaces nationally and internationally. In the 2023-2024 academic year, Williams is making a series of visits to UMBC and Baltimore to complete a new filmic work under the project title “dreaming of a beyond: Baltimore.” Williams is researching the histories of Cockeysville (Maryland) marble, a material used in many salient objects in the local built environment, including the Washington Monument and iconic exterior steps of Baltimore rowhomes. The movement art documented in Williams’s film is an embodied consideration of the labor histories, and mythologies, surrounding this complex material. In Williams’s words, the project underscores the “intertwined history of African-Americans’ plight to self-determined agency and full citizenship, and a rather benign stone.”
February 29, 6pm: Presentation of artist Levester Williams’s experimental public projection work, “dreaming of a beyond: Baltimore” (2021–24) at CADVC gallery at UMBC, followed by a conversation between Williams and independent curator Lisa Freiman. Free and open to the public. Please see this webpage for more details.
March 5, 6pm: Levester Williams will be in conversation with collaborators Sheila Gaskins and Savannah Knoop on his current work in progress, “dreaming of a beyond: Baltimore” (2021-2024).
Spaces are limited. RSVP required at this link: https://forms.gle/cV5xEnT572A2e9zNA
This series of conversations will be hosted within the context of a course in the UMBC American Studies department AMST 430/680 “Seminar in American Signs: Place-Based Artistic Research” This public humanities seminar explores the work of of contemporary artists and other cultural practitioners whose work responds to place-based contexts. From landscapes to environmental art to discourses of “placemaking,” this research-based production course will consider a variety of artistic media, asking the question: how are places understood through the interconnected imperatives of publics, aesthetics, cultural institutions, and the historical imaginary? Students will analyze a range of material representations of American places through the arts, and learn about how these creative works are both representative and constitutive of the historical and social contexts in which they are produced and consumed.