28th Annual Thompson Lecture

Darkness Visible: A History of Black

October 2  •  6:00p  •  FIA Theater

Guest Lecturer: Dr. James Fox
Dr. James Fox
Dr. James Fox

Of all colors, black gets the worst press. It is associated with darkness, sin, death, and despair. Many people don’t consider it to be a color at all. And yet in this lecture, Dr. James Fox aims to prove all of the doubters wrong. Beginning in the Big Bang and ending in the present day, he will explore the rich, beautiful, and luminous place of black in the history of art. He will explore the Paleolithic images in Chauvet Cave, the paintings of Velazquez, Goya, Manet and the Abstract Expressionists. He will conclude with the recent artistic controversy surrounding the blackest black ever made. By the end, he may just have convinced you that black is the greatest color of them all.

Dr. James Fox is a British art historian and a BAFTA-nominated broadcaster. He is a Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, and teaches at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Fox has hosted many acclaimed arts documentaries for the BBC, including, most recently, The Art of Japanese Life. He has just completed a book called The Meaning of Colour, which will be published by Penguin in 2019. This is Dr. Fox’s second Thompson Lecture, having spoken on the color blue in 2015.



The Thompson Lecture was established in 1991 by Dr. and Mrs. Jack W. Thompson to enable the Flint Institute of Arts to present a distinguished speaker in the arts or humanities each year. The Thompson Lecture is one of the Institute’s few members-only events and was established, in part, to attract new members to the FIA.