Darla Migan will write a series of essays on what the formalist critique of painting means today. Specifically by writing critically about painting from the perspective of scholarship on B/black aesthetics, Migan envisions a study guided by art historical scholarship, cultural criticism, and philosophy to discover possibilities for a wider understanding of formalism, beyond Clement Greenberg’s abuse of Kant and others. Since completing her dissertation “Orienting Authentic Judgment: Adrian Piper’s Contributions to Black Aesthetics,” Migan has turned to clarifying the significance that widespread institutional recognition of Black artists and what she terms “the commodification of inclusivity” has had on market expansion. Situating the concerns of three contemporary Black painters as they converge with, or radically depart from, contemporary social theories regarding race and recognition, Migan connects the symptomatic shifts in gallery and museum representation, auction sales, and academic scholarship about Black art to the contingencies and oppressive power structures that sustain racialized capitalism.

Darla Migan, PhD, is an art critic and philosopher working in New York City. She is committed to thinking about how theories of culture and strategies of artistic making may implicate one another and potentially motivate the formation of justice-seeking communities. Her interest in the situation of contemporary art includes critical engagement with the traditional fine arts and Conceptual art, with particular attention to the socio-historical conditions of artworlds and the cultural activities within a rapidly changing art market. Migan has lectured internationally and has been invited to participate in discussions with artists at UCLA, the Städelschule, and Parsons School of Design. She has written gallery essays in support of emerging artists in Berlin and New York, and published reviews of solo exhibitions by Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Akeem Smith, and Stacy Lynn Waddell. In 2021, Darla founded the curatorial venture Variable Terms and Philosophy for Artists, an independent online course. Currently, she is a fellow at the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her writing on the conditions of contemporary art and visual culture can be read in Art in America, Artnet News, The Brooklyn Rail, Cultured, Spike, Sugarcane Magazine, and Texte Zur Kunst