David Winton Bell Gallery

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Occasioned by the survey exhibition Barbara T. Smith: Proof, now on view at The Bell, this one-night gathering features conversations with feminist contemporary artists Paula Gaetano Adi and Amber Hawk Swanson, whose dynamic experiments with technology, performance, and materiality labor to shift our understanding of bodies, sexualities, and society. Extending but not duplicating the concerns of artist Barbara T. Smith, these artists push the boundaries between self and others, and between humans and machines. 

The program is free and open to all.

4:30PM: Reception with light refreshments

5PM: Becoming-With: A Conversation About the Feminist Conditions of New Media Art 

Join multi-media artist and scholar Paula Gaetano Adi in conversation with historian of art + technology Lindsay Caplan about the artist’s wide-ranging experiments in robotics and performance and the overlooked feminist foundations of new media art from the 1970s through today. From relational and affective machines, to simulated embodied life forms, they will delve into the biopolitical dimensions of artistic experiments with new technologies and the posthuman imaginary that infuses even the most analog body art. The conversation will consider the ways our bodies are inextricable from materials and technologies that infuse, inform, and shape one’s sense of self. 

6:30PM: Care, Animacy, and Desire: A Conversation with Amber Hawk Swanson

As a performance artist, Amber Hawk Swanson has explored care, animacy, and desire in the context of queerness and disability. This artist talk, followed by a conversation with The Bell’s Associate Curator Thea Quiray Tagle, will foreground Hawk Swanson’s investigations of enabling objects and actions; technologized, roboticized, and transpeciated bodies and selves; animacy and animal intimacy; and worldmaking in the online forums and livestream channels that have served as the primary platforms for her work. 


Lindsay Caplan is Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Architecture Department at Brown University. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary artists who engage with new technologies to elaborate and trouble understandings of individual freedom and collective identity. Her book Arte Programmata: Freedom, Control, and the Computer in 1960s Italy was published by University of Minnesota Press in October 2022.

Paula Gaetano Adi is Professor of Foundation Experimental & Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. An artist and scholar working in robotics and performance, her practice calls for a new technical imagination that radically attends to the world-making capacity of both technology and the arts. Gaetano Adi has exhibited and showcased work extensively in museums, conferences, and art festivals throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and was recently honored with the 2023 Creative Capital Award.

Through performance, Amber Hawk Swanson’s work explores care, animacy and desire as they function in the context of queerness and disability. Hawk Swanson has exhibited nationally and internationally for the span of her twenty-year career, with recent venues including Performance Space (New York, NY), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France), PS2 (Belfast, UK), Denny Gallery (New York, NY), Momenta Art (Brooklyn, NY) and Locust Projects (Miami, FL). Hawk Swanson is the Creative Director and one of three Co-Creators of The Harmony Show. She teaches in the sculpture department of Rhode Island School of Design and is currently a doctoral student in performance studies at Brown University.

Thea Quiray Tagle is a transdisciplinary scholar, writer, and Associate Curator of The Bell and Brown Arts Institute. She is the receiving curator of Barbara T. Smith: Proof


Barbara T. Smith: Proof is a comprehensive survey exhibition of artist Barbara T. Smith (b. 1931, Pasadena; lives Los Angeles). An innovator within the performance art movement of the late 1960s, Smith has long produced work that explores the self, sexuality, gender roles, physical and spiritual sustenance, love, life, and death. Assembling an expansive range of artwork and performance-related ephemera, the exhibition will survey Smith’s bold experimentation. While her groundbreaking performances have received critical attention, the objects Smith has made over nearly sixty years—many for, or as a result of, performances—are less known. This includes the artist’s radical Xerox works, mixed media assemblages, sculptures, artist’s books, drawings, paintings, photographs, and videos. This survey celebrates Smith’s incomparable contributions to contemporary art, feminism, performance, and technology.

Barbara T. Smith: Proof is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and guest curated by Jenelle Porter with support from Amanda Sroka, Senior Curator, and Caroline Ellen Liou, Curatorial Assistant. The presentation at the Brown Arts Institute / The David Winton Bell Gallery, part of the Perelman Arts District at Brown University, is organized by Thea Quiray Tagle, Associate Curator.

Location FISHMAN STUDIO (floor 4S), GRANOFF CENTER FOR THE CREATIVE ARTS (154 Angell Street, Providence, RI )