Fred Wilson is a conceptual artist whose work investigates museological, cultural, and historical issues that are largely overlooked or neglected by museums and cultural institutions. Since his groundbreaking exhibition Mining the Museum (1992) at the Maryland Historical Society, Wilson has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions around the globe, including the retrospective Objects and Installations, 1979–2000, which was organized by the Center for Art and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His work has been exhibited in such museums as the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College; the British Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Hood Museum of Art, at Dartmouth College; the Ian Potter Museum of Art, at the University of Melbourne; the Institute of Jamaica, West Indies; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of World Culture, in Sweden. His work can be found in several public collections, including the Long Museum, in Shanghai; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, in London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Most recently, he presented his exhibition Afro Kismet at the 2017 Istanbul Biennial, and it traveled to London, Los Angeles, and New York. Since 2008, Wilson has been a member of the board of trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He represented the United States at the Cairo International Biennale (1992) and the Venice Biennale (2003), and his many accolades include a MacArthur Fellowship (1999), the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (2006), the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change fellowship (2018), and Brandeis University’s Creative Arts Award (2019).
Discussant: Cheryl Finley, associate professor of art history, Cornell University