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As part of the opening celebrations for Kahlil Robert Irving: Archaeology of the Present, artist Kahlil Robert Irving will be in conversation with Hamza Walker, director of LAXART, an independent, nonprofit art space in Los Angeles. Irving is known for his ceramic assemblages made of layered images and replicas of everyday objects often considered detritus but that are representative of a historical moment, a way of life, or even specific individuals. Irving and Walker will discuss topics ranging from Black life and collective memory to urban landscapes, as well as how the mining of contemporary artifacts begins to tell a fragmented story of American history.

Free and open to the public. Registration is requested.

American Sign Language interpretation can be arranged for public events upon request. This service is free, but we ask for two weeks' notice. Requests can be made by contacting

This event is part of the Sam Fox School Public Lecture Series.

Watch the video recording.

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Kemper Art Museum members and WashU faculty are invited to preview the exhibition at 4:30 pm prior to the Q&A. The public opening follows the Q&A from 6:30 to 8 pm. 


Free parking is available in the East End Garage after 5 pm. Enter at the intersection of Forsyth Blvd and Wrighton Way. View a map and complete parking information here.

About the Speakers

Kahlil Robert Irving was born in San Diego in 1992. He currently lives and works in St. Louis. He attended the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis (MFA 2017), and the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA, art history and ceramics, 2015). Recent solo and group exhibitions include Projects: Kahlil Robert Irving, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2021); Social Works II, Gagosian, London (2021); Soft Water Hard Stone, New Museum Triennial, New York (2021); Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2019); and the Singapore Biennale (2019). Irving was an artist in residence at Art Omi in summer 2018. He was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award in 2019 and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2020. Irving’s work is in the collections of the Ken Ferguson Teaching Collection at the Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri; JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; RISD Museum, Providence; Riga Porcelain Museum, Latvia; Foundation for Contemporary Ceramic Art, Kecskemét, Hungary; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Hamza Walker is director of LAXART, a nonprofit art space in Los Angeles. Prior to joining LAXART in 2016, he was director of education and associate curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, a non-collecting contemporary art museum. Recent exhibitions at LAXART include Nikita Gale, Takers, 2022; Kandis Williams/Cassandra Press, The Absolute Right to Exclude (2021); and Postcommodity, Some Reach While Others Clap (2020).

Photo of Kahlil Robert Irving by Whitney Curtis; photo of Hamza Walker by Todd Gray.