Yale School of Art Announces the Appointment of Meleko Mokgosi as Associate Professor in Painting/Printmaking
May 14th, 2019
The Yale School of Art is pleased to announce the appointment of Meleko Mokgosi as Associate Professor in Painting/Printmaking. Set to begin his appointment in July 2019, Mokgosi is engaged in a project-based practice positioned between cinema studies, psychoanalysis, critical theory, and post-colonial studies. Marta Kuzma, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean of the Yale School of Art notes: “As an artist and an educator, Meleko Mokgosi is dedicated to an expanded language of aesthetic and historical references while building on the necessary tools to build a sustainable and critical studio practice. His regard for the larger political ramifications of techniques of production explore the conceptual foregrounding of painting and in doing so, his approach challenges the way in which many graduate students grapple with negotiating critical social questions within their artist practice.”
Meleko Mokgosi’s practice is articulated within “chapters” which he has described as approaching “how democracy materializes in the daily lived experience of the black subject, both in the American context and in southern Africa.” He maintains the importance in keeping a balance between theoretical inquiry and studio practice—noting that “subjectivity is not solely about ideas and theories, but more importantly subjectivity is a felt experience that necessarily involves the materiality of the body, affect and psychic realities.” He is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled Flesh Tones: The Politics of Painting Skin. This writing project is built on numerous interviews with artists to explore the complexities of rendering skin tone in developing the idea of the black subject within painting, including perspectives offered by Jacob Lawrence, Kerry James Marshall, Laylah Ali, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye among other important painters both within and outside Mokgosi’s generation.
As both a teacher and an artist, Mokgosi further contributes to the rich dialogue between pedagogy and practice. Anoka Faruqee, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Painting/Printmaking observes, “It’s clear that Mokgosi’s considered painting practice, his deep commitment to critical inquiry and research, and his good will in building community, will strengthen our department’s collective mission of fostering rigorous curiosity, attention and generosity.”
Up to his appointment at the Yale School of Art, Meleko Mokgosi has been Assistant Professor of Practice at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU where he joined in 2012. He holds a BA in Studio Art from Williams College, an MFA from UCLA where he studied under Mary Kelly in the interdisciplinary studio program, and attended the Whitney Independent Study program. Mokgosi will have upcoming solo exhibitions at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, and the Perez Art Museum in Miami. In addition, his past exhibition history includes solo exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Williams College Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston among others. Mokgosi has also been awarded various grants and awards, including a Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant, the Vilcek Award for Creative Promise, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters Grant, and the Jarl and Pamela Mohn Award. In addition to his engagement as a practicing artist and full-time educator, Mokgosi initiated the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program based in New York City. Grounded in the global tradition of critical theory, the tuition-free program is designed to facilitate the examination of both dominant and under-recognized epistemological frameworks that inform the system of art, including its production, consumption, distribution, and exhibition.
Tavia Nyong'o, Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater Studies at Yale University and member of the Yale School of Art search committee, remarks: “Meleko brings an international artistic vision to Yale, as well as an assured grasp of the critical conversation. The committee was impressed in particular by his commitment to pedagogy and mentorship at all levels. He is well-positioned to build on Yale’s historic strengths in painting, while contributing to emerging interdisciplinary conversations in critical practice.”
The School of Art would like to offer its sincere thanks to the search committee for their efforts in securing this significant appointment: Marta Kuzma, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Dean and Professor of Art, Anoka Faruqee, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Painting/Printmaking, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Graphic Design, Byron Kim, Senior Critic in Painting/Printmaking, Alexander Valentine, Lecturer in Painting/Printmaking, and Tavia Nyong'o, Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater Studies at Yale University.
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