Ja'Tovia Gary and Frank B. Wilderson III

  • Ja'Tovia Gary, The Giverny Document (still), 2019. Single-channel. 41 min. Photo by Alex Bell. Courtesy of Ja'Tovia Gary. 

  • Ja'Tovia Gary. Courtesy of the speaker. 

  • Frank B. Wilderson III. Courtesy of the speaker.

Screening + Conversation

  1. Oct 8, 2020, 6 – 8:30 pm
Join us on Zoom


Join us for a two-part event bringing together artist and filmmaker Ja’Tovia Gary and Frank B. Wilderson III, professor of African American Studies at UC Irvine and author of Afropessimism (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2020). The event will begin with a screening of Gary’s film The Giverny Document (2019) at 6 pm EST and will be immediately followed by a conversation between Gary and Wilderson at 7 pm EST. The conversation will be moderated by Aria Dean.

This event is organized by graduate students in the Film and Visual Studies Ph.D. program in the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies in collaboration with the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts and marks the keynote presentation of the graduate conference (Im)possibility, ongoing from October 8 through October 10, 2020. The Giverny Document will be available on this page for the duration of the conference. Please see the conference website for more information and a full schedule.

Please note this virtual event requires pre-registration. Please contact ccva@fas.harvard.edu with any questions ahead of this event.


For each of its virtual conversations, the Carpenter Center will publish a limited-edition booklet with an edited transcript of the exchange, images, and biographical material. These booklets will be made available for free both as digital downloads and in hard copy upon request. In this time of online gathering, this publication series is meant to serve as a material record of Carpenter Center programming and an art historical resource for future scholars and artists.

Subscribe to Carpenter Center Conversations here. 

Ja'Tovia M. Gary

Ja’Tovia M. Gary (b. Dallas, TX. 1984) is an artist and filmmaker. Gary’s work seeks to liberate the distorted histories through which Black life is often viewed while fleshing out a nuanced and multivalent Black interiority. Through documentary film and experimental video art, Gary charts the ways structures of power shape our perceptions around representation, race, gender, sexuality, and violence. The artist earned her M.F.A. in Social Documentary Filmmaking from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

In 2017 Gary was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Filmmaking. Her award-winning films An Ecstatic Experience and Giverny I (Négresse Impériale) have been screened at festivals, cinemas, and institutions worldwide including the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Schomburg Center, MoMA PS1, MoCA Los Angeles, the Harvard Film Archive, the New Orleans Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and elsewhere. She has received generous support from the Sundance Documentary Fund and the Jerome Foundation, among others.

In 2016 Gary participated in the Terra Foundation Summer Residency program in Giverny, France. She was a 2018-2019 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. Gary is a 2019 Creative Capital Awardee and a Field of Vision Fellow.

Frank B. Wilderson III

Frank B. Wilderson III is professor and chair of African American Studies and a core faculty member in the Culture and Theory Ph.D. program at UC Irvine, and an award-winning writer whose books include Afropessimism (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2020); Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid (Duke University Press, 2015); and Red, White, & Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms (Duke University Press, 2010). He spent five and a half years in South Africa, where he was one of two Americans to hold elected office in the African National Congress during the apartheid era. He also was a cadre in the underground. His literary awards include The American Book Award; The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Creative Nonfiction; The Maya Angelou Award for Best Fiction Portraying the Black Experience in America; and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. Wilderson was educated at Dartmouth College (A.B., Government and Philosophy), Columbia University (M.F.A., Fiction Writing), and UC Berkeley (Ph.D., Rhetoric).

Generous support for Carpenter Center programing is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.