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Using the art and life of Thornton Dial as a point of departure, this public forum, held on April 8, 2011, explored the status of African American artists within the mainstream contemporary art world, an examination that reflects broader social, economic, and political “hard truths” within society at large. It explored the relevance of black creative expression to issues of social justice across racial boundaries. Franklin Sirmans is the Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head for Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Other forum speakers included: Joanne Cubbs- Introduction Greg Tate Fred Moten Julian Bond Theaster Gates

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