Picturing Beauty, Race, and Identity through Fashion

Credit: Deborah Willis | In Pursuit of Beauty Imaging closets in Newark and Beyond

Dr. Deborah Willis

Join Artist-in-Residence Dr. Deborah Willis for a talk which explores the ways in which concepts of beauty and desire have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through fashion photography. Dr. Willis is a celebrated author, photographer, and acclaimed historian, whose work and research examine iconicity and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender. Among Willis’s many awards and honors, she was the 2000 MacArthur Fellow. She received an NAACP Image Award for her co-authored book Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery with Barbara Krauthamer in 2014. Willis received praise for her 2021 publication, The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship, which examines the African American experience during the Civil War through a collection of portraits and personal ephemera from the lives of Black soldiers. Most recently, she was awarded the Don Tyson Prize for the Advancement of American Art by the Crystal Bridges Museum.  

Included with Museum Admission/ Members FREE

Photo credit: Dr. Deborah Willis, photo by Alice Proujansky