Platform Speaker Series for Spring 2021

Author: Fine Arts Gallery
January 30, 2021

Spring 2021 Event Information


Platform is an event series of socially engaged artists, collectives, and curators in conversation. Presented by ConSortiUm, a collaborative project of California State University art galleries and museums.


Shaun Leonardo   

Thursday, February 11, 5:30 p.m.

Hosted by San José State, San Diego State, and Sacramento State

Register for the Shaun Leonardo Zoom Webinar.


Valerie Cassel Oliver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in conversation with artist Howardena Pindell

Thursday, March 11, 5:30 p.m.

Hosted by Grand Central Art Center, California State University (CSU) Fullerton; Begovich Gallery, CSU Fullerton; and CSU Dominguez Hills

Register for the Valerie Cassel Oliver and Howardena Pindell Zoom Webinar.


People’s Kitchen Collective

Thursday, April 29, 5:30pm

Hosted by San José State, San Francisco State, Sonoma State, and CSU San Bernardino

Register for the People's Kitchen Collective Zoom Webinar.

*All times are Pacific Standard Time (PST)



ConSortiUm, a collaborative project of art museums and galleries from the California State University (CSU) system, is pleased to announce the Spring 2021 speakers for our virtual event series Platform. Launched in September 2020, Platform actively engages students, faculty, staff, and communities through live virtual conversations with contemporary artists, collectives, and curators whose work is critical to current re-imaginings of the art world and the world at large. 


All events will be presented live via Zoom with recordings available for post live-stream viewing. All events are free and open to the public.


The first event for Spring 2021 will take place Thursday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. featuring a presentation by artist Shaun Leonardo. Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood,  namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities, along with notions of  achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice,  anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the  Brooklyn-based, non-profit Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of  embodiment. Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He received his MFA  from the San Francisco Art Institute, is a recipient of support from Creative Capital,  Guggenheim Social Practice, Art for Justice and A Blade of Grass, and was recently  profiled in the New York Times. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim  Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, with a solo exhibition, The Breath of Empty  Space, currently at MASS MoCA, then traveling to The Bronx Museum in 2021. 


The second event, on Thursday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. will spotlight  Valerie Cassel Oliver, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in conversation with artist Howardena Pindell. Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her position at the VMFA, she was Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston where she worked from 2000 - 2017. In 2000, she was one of six curators selected to organize the Biennial for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her 2018 debut exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was a 50-year survey of work by Howardena Pindell entitled Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen. The exhibition co-organized with Naomi Beckwith, the Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, was named one of the most influential of the decade.


Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Howardena Pindell studied painting at Boston University and Yale University. The artist often employs lengthy, metaphorical processes of destruction/reconstruction in her work. She cuts canvases in strips and sews them back together, building up surfaces in elaborate stages. The artist’s fascination with gridded, serialized imagery, along with surface texture appears throughout her oeuvre. Even in her later, more politically charged work, Pindell reverts to these thematic focuses in order to address social issues of homelessness, AIDs, war, genocide, sexism, xenophobia, and apartheid. Pindell is a full professor at State University of New York, Stony Brook. Throughout her career, she has exhibited extensively with notable solo exhibitions at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and The Shed, New York; among many others. Pindell was the subject of the 2018 retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago titled Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen, which traveled to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2018) and the Rose Art Museum (2019). 


The final event on Thursday, April 29 at 5:30pm will feature People’s Kitchen Collective. People's Kitchen Collective (PKC) works at the intersection of art and activism as a food-centered political education project. Based in Oakland, California, their creative practices reflect the diverse histories and backgrounds of co-founders Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Jocelyn Jackson, and Saqib Keval. PKC creates immersive experiences that honor the shared struggles of our peoples, using family recipes as a map to reveal migrations and stories of resilience.  PKC’s social practice-based work is one of radical hospitality. 


ConSortiUm is a ground-breaking collaborative that generates opportunities to include artists, curators, students, faculty, staff, and other allies from across the CSU campuses in visual arts-based dialogue. The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at twenty-three campuses. Formed in Spring 2020 in response to the distance learning implemented by the CSU during the Covid-19 pandemic, ConSortiUm members are dedicated to responding to current societal issues and the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.


ConSortiUm’s participating CSU art museums and galleries include venues at campuses in Bakersfield, Todd Madigan Gallery; Chico, Janet Turner Print Museum and Jacki Headley University Art Gallery; Dominguez Hills, University Gallery; East Bay, University Art Gallery; Fresno, Center for Creativity and the Arts; Fullerton, Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery and Grand Central Art Center; Humboldt, Reese Bullen Gallery and Goudi'ni Native American Arts Gallery; Long Beach, School of Art and Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum; Los Angeles, Luckman Gallery, Luckman Fine Arts Complex and Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery; Northridge, Art Galleries; Pomona, W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery and Don B. Huntley Gallery; Sacramento, University Galleries; San Bernardino, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art; San Diego, University Art Galleries; San Francisco, Fine Arts Gallery; San Jose, Natalie and James Thompson Gallery; Sonoma, University Art Gallery; and Stanislaus, University Art Gallery and Stan State Art Space.