"Go West Young Man": Grafton Tyler Brown's Landscapes and the Complexities of the "Frontier"

Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) was born Black and free in Pennsylvania and distinguished himself as a landscape artist, which was an unusual medium for African American artists. This talk will explore a cross-section of Brown’s work in key locations such as the Bay Area, Nevada territory, British Columbia, the national parks of Yosemite and Yellowstone, and finally in Minnesota. His path marked the expansion of two empires—Canada and the United States—and tested the ideological meanings of “frontier” as a space created solely by the pioneering efforts of White men.

About the Speaker:

Kirsten Pai Buick is a professor of art history at the University of New Mexico. Her teaching and scholarship focus on the material and visual culture of the first British Empire, art of the U.S., African American art, landscape representation, and pro- and anti-abolitionist images in the Atlantic world. She received the David C. Driskell Prize for Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject (Duke Univ. Press, 2010). In 2022, she was named Distinguished Scholar by the College Art Association. Her second book, In Authenticity: “Kara Walker” and the Eidetics of Racism, is in progress.

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Kim Gough
Acting Director of Audience Experience

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