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Krista Thompson has been awarded The Dedalus Foundation’s 2024 Senior Fellowship for her forthcoming book Refracting Light: Tom Lloyd and the Effect of Art Historical Disregard.

Thompson’s project centers on Tom Lloyd, an African American artist who was among a wave of artists working with light and electronic technologies in the 1960s. Lloyd contributed to Minimalist and electronic art exhibitions throughout the mid 1960s-1970s, was involved with the avant-garde Howard Wise gallery in New York, and was a founding member of the activist group, the Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) (1969-1971). Thompson’s  book will explore Lloyd’s artistic practice and his visibility in the art world in New York and seek to understand why the artist, until recently, has been largely disregarded from the art historical record. More broadly, this book will explore what futures are activated or short-circuited for artists, objects, and archives that are disregarded. Light is not simply examined as Lloyd’s chosen medium but operates as a metaphor for visibility, knowledge, and knowledge production in art history, for what and who becomes legible, and what and who does not. Refracting Light ultimately offers a counter history, a history of the artist’s unrealized work, drawing on statements, studies, and proposals Lloyd made about work he wanted to create in the future.

Krista Thompson is the Mary Jane Crowe Professor of Art History at Northwestern University. Her writings and curatorial projects focus on modern and contemporary art and visual culture of the Africa diaspora and the Caribbean. She is the author of An Eye for the Tropics (Duke University Press, 2006), Developing Blackness (The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, 2008), and Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (Duke University Press, 2015), which received the Charles Rufus Morey Award for a distinguished book in the history of art from the College Art Association (2016).