A Conversation on Institutionalized Racism, Tokenism, Microaggressions, and Inclusion vs. Optics in the Art World

Presentation by Jen Delos Reyes, Lisa Lee, and Astria Suparak
Common Field Convening, Houston, Texas (moved online due to COVID-19)
April 25, 2020

Astria Suparak (Independent curator and artist), Jen Delos Reyes (Open Engagement), and Lisa Yun Lee (National Public Housing Museum) have all been mistaken for one another in professional settings, told how much they look like each other, had their individuality and professional accomplishments erased in these moments, and in immeasurable ways all had to grapple with racism in their professional spheres and beyond. Join them for a conversation on institutionalized racism, tokenism, microaggressions, and inclusion vs. optics in the art world. Attendees will be asked to participate in the conversation by sharing their own experiences, retorts, effective responses, and solutions to overt and covert racism within the art world and academia, and those who have not experienced or witnessed these kinds of biases are invited to check their own assumptions and listen for ways they can serve as allies and change makers for the field.

(More details will be posted in May — please return! – AS)




“This is a pretty interesting experiment in real-time, and an extraordinary way to utilize Zoom. I think this is the most engaging Zoom conference I’ve attended since events have started to moved online. […]

Suparak explains some of the times she’s been tokenized, and explains: ‘The positions most often offered to people of color are often precarious, prefaced by “adjunct”, “visiting”, or “guest.” One-time invites that diversify the lineup of an organization temporarily or superficial, or are lower in status and pay, such as maintenance, education, visitor services, and middle management. White people remain in most of the leadership, permanent, and tenured positions.’
Preach. All of the speakers are spot-on and incredibly compelling. […]

It’s heartening to see such a keen and engaged audience. Lee, Suparak, and Reyes have set up a really successful platform for exchange.

Things are wrapping up. We’re each asked to share one word that we want to hold as we leave and ruminate on this discussion. Mine?: Seen.”
– Jasmine Weber, “Live Blogging Discussions of Collective Bargaining and Language Justice in the Arts,” April 25, 2020.

GLASSTIRE, “Notes On Common Field 2020, Houston Edition,” Christopher Blay, May 6, 2020