Arts Division Website Features Mary Thomas’ Research on Improvisation as an Aesthetic Strategy

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Mary Thomas

In this short video, Visual Studies Ph.D. candidate Mary Thomas discusses how Noah Purifoy’s sculptural series titled “66 Signs of Neon” marks a starting point for examining a set of artistic practices in South Los Angeles grounded in improvisation. Her dissertation, titled “Enacted Sites: Art and the Visualization of Spatial Justice in Los Angeles, 1966-2014 explores how African-American and Chicana/o artists utilize improvisation as an aesthetic tactic for responding to urban conflict. Due to the absence of art historical scholarship that addresses this region, Mary is currently developing a digital map that will accompany her dissertation manuscript. 

Mary's video appears on the Arts Division webpage that features work by current students. 

Image: Installation shot of 66 Signs of Neon. 1966.