Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

“This landmark exhibition seeks to restore lost chapters of American film history as it elevates the contributions of Black artists to present a more inclusive story,” said Ms. Stewart. “We are incredibly proud to present Regeneration, an exhibition that demonstrates how the Academy Museum introduces new scholarship, offers a more expansive vision of American film history, and encourages public dialogue about the past and present of film as an art form and a social force.”

Regeneration comprises seven galleries dedicated to: exploring the social and political situation of Black Americans at the dawn of cinema in the United States; the representation of Black people in early cinema from 1897 to 1915; pioneering independent Black filmmakers such as Oscar Micheaux and “race films,” made for Black audiences from the 1910s to the 1940s; Black music in American film, including “soundies” and Black musicals; Black stars and film icons; cinematic stories reflecting the freedom movements; and the daring and pioneering paths Black film directors blazed during the civil rights movement. 

Throughout the development of the exhibition, co-curators Doris Berger and Rhea Combs collaborated with an advisory group of distinguished scholars, curators, and filmmakers in addition to Ms. Stewart, including: Charles Burnett, filmmaker, Academy member; Ava DuVernay filmmaker, Academy member; Michael Boyce Gillespie, Associate Professor, The City College of New York, Department of Media and Communication Arts; Shola Lynch, Curator, New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, filmmaker, Academy member; Ron Magliozzi, Curator of Film, The Museum of Modern Art;  and Ellen C. Scott, Associate Professor and Head of Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.  

As Chief Artistic and Programming Officer, Stewart has led strategy and planning for the Academy Museum’s curatorial, educational, and public programming initiatives, including exhibitions, screenings, symposia, publications, workshops, youth programs, and the Academy Museum Podcast. Honored in 2021 as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, she was a 2019 senior fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018. She holds an appointment as Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and previously served on the faculty of Northwestern University.

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