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2023 Distinguished Lecture Series

The Gibbes Museum of Art is thrilled to welcome Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Lewis as the keynote speaker of the museum’s 2023 Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS). The Series’ first art historian, Dr. Lewis is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities and Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

In 2016, Lewis co-edited the groundbreaking Vision & Justice issue of photography magazine Aperture, which focused on reexamining historical narratives around photography. In 2019, Harvard University hosted the Vision & Justice Conference, which saw thought leaders including filmmaker Ava DuVernay, renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., and contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems among many others gathering to consider the role of the arts in understanding the nexus of art, race, and justice.

Before joining the faculty at Harvard, Lewis held curatorial positions at MOMA, Tate Modern, and served as a critic at Yale University School of Art. Her work, promoting visual literacy, has been profiled in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Boston Globe.

Lewis joins a list of prestigious speakers, including contemporary artist Fred Wilson, New York Magazine Art Critic Jerry Saltz, and artist and architect Maya Lin, in discussing her award-winning research on the intersection of visual literacy, racial justice and democracy in the United States from the 19th century through the present.

“We’re excited to welcome Dr. Lewis to keynote our lecture series,” says Angela Mack, the Gibbes Museum of Art executive director. “We look forward to a compelling talk on how visual art and culture are pivotal to building equity in American society. Aligning with our fall exhibition, The Bitter Years, we hope this discussion broadens the discourse around the historical significance of American photography.”

The Bitter Years: Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection features a collection of some of the finest examples of 20th-century American photography, showcasing 65 photographs by renowned American photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano and others who launched their careers as documentarians of the Great Depression. The exhibition is a tribute to the 1962 Bitter Years exhibition organized by the illustrious curator Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art.

Event Details:
• What: Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Sarah Lewis
• When: Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.
• Where: College of Charleston’s Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street
• Pricing: Adults: $60, Gibbes Members $50, Student/Faculty: $15 with ID and Virtual access: $10
• Tickets will go on sale to Gibbes members for an early bird pre-sale window on Sept. 5 and sales will open to the public on Sept. 11. Tickets can be purchased through the Sottile Theatre website at

November 1, 2023

Sottile Theatre
44 George Street
Charleston, SC 29401

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