Center for the Humanities | “So Ruff, So Tuff”: Legacies of Black Midwestern Art and Struggle

Nicole Fleetwood

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Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L140
@ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

“So Ruff, So Tuff”: Legacies of Black Midwestern Art and Struggle

Center for the Humanities McKay Lecture: Nicole Fleetwood

Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood emerges from her current book project, Between the River and the Railroad Tracks, part memoir and part cultural history of growing up in Hamilton, Ohio. Her exploration of her hometown is a lens to meditate on the cultural life and labor of the Black Midwest through its music, art, and community practices. The title is taken from the hit song “So Ruff, So Tuff” by her family’s funk band Zapp featuring Roger Troutman.

A 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Nicole R. Fleetwood is the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, where her work focuses on Black diasporic art and visual culture, photography studies, art and public practice, , gender and feminist studies, Black cultural history, creative nonfiction, and prison abolition. She is the author of three books: Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard 2020), On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (Rutgers 2015), and Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (Chicago 2011).  She is the only recipient of both the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize and the Lora Romero First Book Prize of the American Studies Association and both the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award in art history and the Frank Jewett Mather Award in art criticism of the College Art Association. Fleetwood has co/curated exhibitions and public programs at MoMA PS1, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Zimmerli Museum of Art, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Brown University, Aperture, Cleveland Public Library, and Mural Arts Philadelphia.