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MAM Conversations
MAM conversations intro text
Grab a drink and join us for an evening of conversation!

MAM Conversations presented by the Babson Lecture Series give you the unique opportunity to virtually engage with diverse contemporary artists, see their studio spaces, and learn more about their work all from the comfort of your home. Closed captioning is provided.

After registration, you should receive a confirmation email containing the link to access the event online. MAM Conversations presented by the Babson Lecture Series will take place on Thursdays from June 11 through August 28 at 6 p.m. via Zoom Webinars.
Willie Cole

Thursday, July 9, 6 p.m.

Join MAM Conversations and moderator Rosalind Murphy, of the Museum’s African American Cultural Committee, for a discussion with renowned local artist Willie Cole.  Cole’s imaginative assemblages and prints turning mundane consumer items into powerful vehicles for social critique. Using found objects such as irons, ironing boards, and high-heeled shoes, Cole transforms these items through repetitive use to address issues of cultural appropriation and identity.

a headshot of willie cole
Alexis Rockman

Thursday, July 16, 6 p.m.

Alexis Rockman blends reality and fantasy to examine humanity’s relationship with the environment.  His eerily dystopian canvases are both recognizable and disorienting, and express concern about global warming, the fragility of the world’s ecosystems, and the impact of human activity on earth. Come with MAM Conversations as we talk with Rockman about his recent watercolors and how his monumental painting Pond Life has inspired new work.  Pond Life will be on view when the museum reopens as part of the permanent collection exhibition Uncaged: Animals in the Collection.

Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

a headshot of Alexis Rockman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Joyce Scott

Thursday, July 23, 6 p.m.

Joyce Scott is best known for creating intricately beaded sculptures and jewelry that draw inspiration from West African Yoruba weaving techniques and Native American beadwork. Scott confronts issues of racism, sexism, and cultural stereotypes with work that is often personal, and seeks to provide spiritual healing in the face of all that divides us. Join MAM Conversations as we visit Scott in her Baltimore studio to find out what she’s been working on over the past few months.  We’ll also discuss her recent exhibition at Grounds for Sculpture, Harriet Tubman and Other Truths, as well as the Museum’s acquisition of one of her iconic beaded sculptures, Harriett Tubman as Buddha (2017). 

Joyce Scott's work in Montclair Art Museum's permanent collection, Harriet Tubman as Buddha.
Upcoming Speakers

●    July 30, 6 p.m. – Vik Muniz ➜

●    August 6, 6 p.m. – Duane Michals

●    August 13, 6 p.m. – Scholastic National Winners from the Northern New Jersey Region

●    August 20, 6 p.m. – Vanessa German

●    August 27, 6 p.m. – Cara Romero

Become a member to attend MAM Conversations events for free!

Join today

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For more information, contact Alison Van Denend, Assistant Curator, at

This series is funded, in part, by a generous perpetual gift from the Julia Norton Babson Memorial Fund.
Recent artist speakers
I'm an image! Federico Uribe in front of one of his works: an installation of Plastic Coral Reef.

Federico Uribe

On June 11, 2020, the first evening of MAM Conversations featured Miami-based artist, Federico Uribe in conversation with Adam Adelson, Director of Adelson Galleries. Uribe invited us into his studio, showing us where he turns bullet shells, coat hangers, books, and other objects into magically life-like sculptures. We were among the first to see one of Uribe’s newest works, The Veteran, comprised of hundreds of medical instruments. 

I'm an image! Portrait of Philemona Williamson in her studio. She is looking off to the right with her chin resting on her hand.

Philemona Williamson

On June 18, 2020, we virtually visited Philemona Williamson in her studio, discovering her inspiration, motivation, and next works. Williamson’s colorful, enigmatic paintings explore moments of transition and ambiguous spaces. Suspended on large canvases, Williamson’s figures float between childhood and adulthood, and along the sliding spectrum of race and gender.

Tom Nussbaum sitting in his home

Tom Nussbaum

Tom Nussbaum’s sculpture Listen is one of the most recognizable works in MAM’s collection – and one you can still see if you take a socially-distanced stroll through the museum grounds. Nussbaum used fiberglass to create Listen and has recently experimented with welded steel and epoxy to create colorful, energetic 2D and 3D sculptures. On June 25, MAM Conversations virtually traveled to Nussbaum’s studio in East Orange and explored the new work he’s been creating over the past few months, as well as earlier works from his Home Sweet Home exhibition at MAM in 2003.


I'm an image! Virgil Ortiz sculpting clay by hand in his studio. Ortiz is focused on his work and not looking at the camera.

Virgil Ortiz 

Revolutionary multi-media artist Virgil Ortiz is the current artist in residence at MAM. Especially once the sun sets, his installation Odyssey of the Venutian Soldiers illuminates the Laurie Art Stairway, which is visible from outside the museum building at the corner of Bloomfield Ave. and St. Luke’s Place.  On Juny 2, MAM Conversations virtually visited Ortiz in New Mexico to discuss his ever-growing, futuristic retelling of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt and how he is adding to the story. Curator Emeritus of Virgil Ortiz: Odyssey of the Venutian Soldiers, Pamela Jardine, will provide an introduction.