Poet-scholar Fred Moten and visual artist LaToya Ruby Frazier present a reading, lecture, and conversation.
Heinz Memorial Chapel
326 S. Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh
Fred Moten was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and lived briefly in Pennsylvania and Arkansas before enrolling at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. After one year at Harvard, he took a hiatus and went back to Las Vegas, where he worked as a janitor at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, read Dante, and wrote poems. One year later, he returned to Harvard and received his AB, before earning his PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley.
A scholar whose work explores black studies, performance studies, poetry, and critical theory, Moten has taught at several colleges and universities, including the University of Iowa, New York University, Duke University, the Naropa Institute, and Brown University, among others.
His poetry collections include The Little Edges (Wesleyan University Press, 2014), The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions, 2014), B Jenkins (Duke University Press, 2010), and Hughson’s Tavern (Leon Works, 2008). His scholarly texts include The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Minor Compositions, 2013), coauthored with Stefano Harney, and In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota, 2003). His most recent publication from Duke University Press is Black and Blur (December 2017) which is a part of an interdisciplinary trilogy of books called consent not to be a single being.
In 2009, Moten was recognized as one of ten “New American Poets” by the Poetry Society of America. Poet and nonfiction author Maggie Nelson writes of Moten’s work, “With insistence, music, and a measured softness, Fred Moten’s poems construct idiosyncratic, critical canons that invite our research and repay our close attention. … It is hard to make poetry that shimmers on such an edge. Moten does so, and then some.”
Moten was a member of the Board of Managing Editors of American Quarterly from 2004 to 2007 and has been a member of the editorial collectives of Social Text and Callaloo, and of the editorial board of South Atlantic Quarterly. He is also cofounder and copublisher of the small literary press Three Count Pour.
LaToya Ruby Frazier received her BFA in applied media arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and her MFA in art photography from Syracuse University. She also studied under the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow for visual arts at the American Academy in Berlin.
Frazier works in photography, video and performance to build visual archives that address industrialism, rustbelt revitalization, environmental justice, healthcare inequity, family and communal history. In 2015 her first book The Notion of Family (Aperture 2014) received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award.
Frazier is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has previously held academic and curatorial positions at Yale University School of Art, Rutgers University, and Syracuse University. Frazier lectures prolifically at academic and cultural institutions such as International Center of Photography, NY; Columbia University School of the Arts, NY; Parsons, New School, NY; Pratt Institute, NY; Cooper Union, NY; Tisch School of Arts, New York University; School of Visual Arts, NY; Freie Universitat Berlin, Dahlem Humanities Center and Hamburger Bahnhof; and Tate Modern, London among others.
Frazier’s work is exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally, with notable solo exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum; Seattle Art Museum; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Her work has been exhibited in the following biennials: the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial (2012), NY; Recycling Memory: Recapturing the Lost City (2014), 11th Nicaraguan Visual Arts Biennial, Managua; Mom, am, I barbarian? (2013),13th Istanbul Biennial; and Busan Biennale (2014), South Korea. Frazier is the recipient of many honors and awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute (2017); fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's MacArthur Fellows Program (2015), TED Fellows (2015), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2014); the Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Prize from the Seattle Art Museum (2013), the Theo Westenberger Award of the Creative Capital Foundation (2012), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2011), and Art Matters (2010). In 2015, the Allegheny County Council (Pennsylvania, USA) awarded Frazier a Proclamation thanking her for "examining race, class, gender and citizenship in our society and inspiring a vision for the future that offers inclusion, equity and justice to all."
Her work can be found in public and private art collections such as Museum of Modern Art; Brooklyn Museum; Seattle Art Museum; Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; Centre National Des Arts Plastiques, France; JP Morgan Chase Collection, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago; Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Zabludowicz Collection, London, and Pomeranz Collection, Vienna among others.
Fred Moten and LaToya Ruby Frazier in Hillman Library