In Dialogue: A Question of Color – Sold Out

November 12, 2020 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Virtual program

This event is sold out.

In Dialogue is an occasional series of interdisciplinary, discussion-based sessions that explore art on view at the Museum in relation to works in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. This fall, we will take inspiration from Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott to consider timely and key exhibition themes that explore the dynamics between race and gender, as well as the function of satire within the work. This In Dialogue series is supported by Cheryl and Rena Tonkin, and Marv Tonkin Leasing Company, In Memory of Alan Baron Tonkin.

Facilitated by Dr. Ethan Johnson, this In Dialogue will center discussion around the film, A Question of Color, and the ways in which colorism occurs within the Colescott exhibition. Ethan Johnson is an associate professor in and chair of the Black Studies Department in the School of Gender, Race and Nations at Portland State University.  He received his doctorate from the Social and Cultural Studies in Education Program at the University of California, Berkeley.  He has published in various journals such as Race, Ethnicity and EducationThe International Journal of Qualitative Studies in EducationSouls, Ethnography and Education and The Oregon Historical Quarterly.  He has also co-edited the book called Education and the Black Diaspora: Educational Perspectives, Challenges and Prospects.

He works across multiple fields of study related to the experiences of people of African descent: education, popular culture, race and racism, history and African Diaspora Studies.  Currently, he is working on a number of projects.  One examines the educational experiences of Afro-Latin@s in Spain and the other focuses on the significance of complexion and phenotype in the lives of Black males living in Portland for which he has an article coming out this year.  Professor Johnson is the host and organizer of the Black Bag Speaker Series whose mission is to create a space on campus in which scholars and/or activists doing work that relates to people of African descent in Portland and the nation can engage with the university and community.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.

Robert Colescott, Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: Upside Down Jesus and the Politics of Survival, 1987.
Robert Colescott (American, 1925-2009), Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: Upside Down Jesus and the Politics of Survival, 1987, acrylic on canvas, Museum purchase: Robert Hale Ellis Jr. Fund for the Blanche Eloise Day Ellis and Robert Hale Ellis Memorial Collection, © 1987 Robert Colescott.