Making Sense of Contemporary Art at the ICA at VCU: Revolution

  • April 17, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

    601 West Broad Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23220
Ticket Price $0.00-$25.00 This event is now over

Learning Opportunity: Making Sense of Contemporary Art: Religion, Revolution, and the Everyday
with Chase Westfall, Interim Executive Director, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University


Join us for this series of classes at the ICA at VCU where we will explore together how to see and understand contemporary art. 


Series Overview:

As we try to make sense of contemporary art, it can be helpful to understand that art is, itself, a way of making sense of the world. The sculptor Tony Cragg said, “As an artist, one is taking the material of the world, imposing a set of forms on it in a very concentrated way, to actually reinvest our existence with meaning.” Throughout human history, art has been used to organize, understand, and find agency amidst the chaos and confusion of existence. Within this effort, three general categories of activity and interest can be observed: the spiritual, the political, and the personal. Examining these categories can help us see how art has functioned as one of—and in support of—the systems that give purpose and structure to our lives. Taken chronologically, these categories also help us understand how art’s social role has changed over time, reflecting broader developments and trends in culture. Echoing these three categories, this season’s lecture series is titled Religion, Revolution, and the Everyday. Each lecture focuses on one of these meaning-making arenas, situating it historically and offering a deeper dive into how it is operative in the art of our moment. 


Class Details:

On April 17,  2024, we will explore the topic of Revolution with Michelle Yee, PhD Assistant Professor, VCUarts Department of Art History. Can art effect meaningful political change? How has art been present in moments of societal transformation? How does art see and understand itself within the struggle for liberation? 

  • Click here to learn more about the class on Religion, which will take place on March 27, 2024.
  • Click here to learn more about the class on The Everyday, which will take place on May 29, 2024.


The lectures in the series work together and inform each other, but each is also designed to make sense by itself. Please join us for one, two, or all three! Tickets are $10 each, or $25 for the entire series. Free tickets are available for artists, educators, and students. Please join us! 

About the Speaker:
Michelle Yee is an assistant professor of Art History whose research focuses on contemporary Asian American and Asian Diasporic art. Her research interests include race and representation, transnational connections and collisions, and cosmopolitanisms. Her writing can be found in journals such as Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, Third Text, Panorama, and Art Etc. as well as several exhibition catalogues. She received an MA and Ph.D. in Visual Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an MA in Art History from the University of Connecticut, and a BA in Art History and English Literature from Georgetown University.


5:00 pm - Doors Open, Galleries and Abby Moore Cafe Open

6:00 pm - Class Begins

7:30 pm - Class Ends (1-hour lecture, 30-minute discussion)


About Your Visit:

Our galleries will have extended hours on class days, from 5 to the 6 pm class start time, in case participants would like to arrive early to explore the exhibitions. Our Abby Moore Cafe will also be open before class. Participants may park in VCU's QQ lot, which is adjacent to the ICA. Please be sure to pay for parking at the kiosk or using the Passport app. There is also nearby paid street parking along Broad, Pine and Grace streets.

Date & Time

Wed, Apr 17, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Venue Details

Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

601 West Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220 Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University presents the art of our time and provides an open forum for dialogue and collaboration across the region and throughout the world.

Opened on April 21, 2018, the ICA is a non-collecting institution that showcases an ever-changing slate of exhibitions, performances, films, and special programs that translate our world into every medium.

Admission is free and open to all.