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Enrico Riley

The Nameable and the Unseen

Enrico Riley
Photo by Robert Gill 

Thursday, January 18, 2024
5:30 pm


In-person Event

Michigan Theater
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Open to the public
Free of charge

Enrico Riley has a wide-ranging and complex painting practice that has explored issues of translation and transcription, anti-Black violence and Black resilience and celebration. He is currently working on a series of abstract paintings dealing with the unnamable. Riley’s work is as much about painting as it is about various subjects located outside of painting. All his work is involved in a subtle and sensitive relationship with the materials of painting and various aspects of perception and seeing. 

Riley will discuss past works that contained both subjects of recognition and nameability, and current work that is focused on abstractions that attempt to evade being named. Riley will be in conversation with Detroit native Mario Moore, whose paintings focus on the personal, social and political implications of our segregated society. Presenting stories of his own life and those of friends and family, Moore weaves in multiple references to history, art, politics and literature to complete his narrative.

Riley received his BA in Visual Studies from Dartmouth College and an MFA in painting from Yale University School of Art. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Rome Prize in Visual Arts, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize in painting. He has exhibited work both nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include Jenkins Johnson Projects (Brooklyn, NY), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR), The American Academy in Rome (Rome, Italy), The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, VA), The Columbus Museum (Columbus, GA), The Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX), The American Academy of Arts and Letters (New York, NY), and the Hood Museum of Art (Hanover, NH). He is one of the original creators of the opera, The Ritual of Breath is the Rite to Resist. The opera will be performed at Lincoln Center in the summer of 2024. Riley’s work has been reviewed in Art New England, The New Criterion, Hyperallergic, The Hudson Review and The New York Times. He is represented by Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, and is the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College.

Presented in partnership with the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities with support from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium.

Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio.

Content Notice

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.