Barbara McCullough is a director and producer whose work seeks to “tap the spirit and richness of her community by exposing its magic, touching its textures and trampling old stereotypes while revealing the untold stories reflective of African American Life.” Join Art + Practice for a conversation between Ms. McCullough and Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art Thomas J. Lax. On the occasion of Maren Hassinger: The Spirit of Things, Lax and McCullough will discuss Hassinger’s exhibition as well as where Ms. McCullough is situated within contemporary art, performance art, film and ritual practices.
A native of New Orleans, Barbara McCullough spent most of her life in the Los Angeles area. Before documentaries, experimental film and video were her first love, she strove to “tap the spirit and richness of her community by exposing its magic, touching its textures and trampling old stereotypes while revealing the untold stories reflective of African American life.”
Her film and video projects include Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification, Shopping Bag Spirits and Freeway Fetishes: Reflection on Ritual Space, Fragments, and The World Saxophone Quartet. She recently completed a film project, HORACE TAPSCOTT: MUSICAL GRIOT is a documentary on musical genius, community activist, and mentor to a generation of accomplished jazz musicians, Horace Tapscott.
Ms. McCullough’s works have been exhibited in universities, galleries, museums, festivals, and programs within the United States and abroad including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), Hammer Museum, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum, Coursitane Film Festival, Brooklyn Museum, American Film Institute, Muzeum Sztuki-Lodz, Poland, British Film Institute, Irish Film Institute, Houston Cinema Arts Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, ATLarge Music Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, African Diaspora Intl. Film Festival, and upcoming projects at the Gray Center for Arts, Chicago and the Essay Film Festival in London, England.
Before recently returning to Los Angeles and as a twenty-five plus veteran of the visual effects industry, Ms. McCullough was Chair of the Visual Effects Department at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
Thomas J. Lax is Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA, a position he’s held since 2014. He is currently co-organizing the exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done (2018) and is working with colleagues across the Museum on a major rehang of the collection in 2019. He has also organized or co-organized projects including Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection (2017), Modern Dance: Ralph Lemon (2016), Maria Hassabi: PLASTIC (2016), Projects: Neïl Beloufa (2016); Greater New York (2015); Steffani Jemison: Promise Machine (2015), among others. His acquisitions reflect his relationships with contemporary artists including John Akomfrah, Jonathas de Andrade, Arthur Jafa, Bouchra Khalili, Letícia Parente, Sondra Perry, Adrian Piper, Cameron Rowland, Kara Walker, among others. Previously, he worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem for seven years where he organized exhibitions such as Kalup Linzy: If it Don’t Fit, VideoStudio, Fore, and When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South. Thomas writes regularly for a variety of publications, is on the board of the Danspace Project, and is a faculty member at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts. He is also on the advisory committees of Contemporary And, The Laundromat Project, Recess, and Vera List Center for Arts and Politics. A native New Yorker, Thomas holds degrees in Africana Studies and Art History from Brown University and Columbia University and in 2015 was awarded the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement.