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Works by Guggenheim Fellowship winner reveal "minstrel-clown-mammy" images

September 9, 2003

Beverly McIvers self-portraits, which have been described as black minstrel-clown-mammy images, reflect her childhood dream of becoming a clown.

[The dream was] an attempt to escape my black skin, poverty and the housing project I once called home, she says.

Presenting her own image in black clown-face and white gloves, McIver says she is interested in making artwork that makes the viewers aware of their own vulnerabilities. Racism is the one particular vulnerability she hopes to help the viewer confront.
September 9, 2003

Beverly McIver's self-portraits, which have been described as “black minstrel-clown-mammy images,” reflect her childhood dream of becoming a clown.

“[The dream was] an attempt to escape my black skin, poverty and the housing project I once called home,” she says.

Presenting her own image in black clown-face and white gloves, McIver says she is “interested in making artwork that makes the viewers aware of their own vulnerabilities.” Racism is the one particular vulnerability she hopes to help the viewer confront.

"For those who are really separatist and want the races to remain separate, these paintings really allow them to confront that kind of racism," McIver says. "We're all just people and we're all very vulnerable. The big objective…should be to find someone to love, regardless of who he is or what race he is or how old he is, or whatever."

McIver is the recipient of a 2000 Anonymous Was A Woman Fellowship and has also recently received support from the Contemporary Forum in Phoenix and the Durham Arts Council. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12 in APSU's Trahern Building, Room 401.

The program is part of the 2003-04 Creative Capital Artist Lecture Series. Creative Capital is a national nonprofit organization that supports artists pursuing innovative approaches to form and content in the media, performing and visual arts in emerging fields.