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Who do you think you are? What do you think you are? These questions of gender, religion, race, nationality, class, culture, and all our polarizing, contradictory natures permeate Kwame Anthony Appiah’s newest book. In The Lies That Bind, Appiah, the author of the Ethicist column for the New York Times, challenges our assumptions of identities—or rather mistaken identities. Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a MacArthur Award-winning Nigerian born visual artist who lives in Los Angeles, meshes painting, printmaking, photography, and collage to create large-scale mixed media works bursting with multinational perspectives. Speaking with the Hammer Museum’s Erin Christovale about 21st century identity politics and the appropriation of culture, Appiah and Crosby will share from their own work to consider how our collective identities shape—and can bring together—our divisive world.

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah pens the Ethicist column for the New York Times, and is the author of the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism, among many other works. A professor of philosophy and law at New York University, Appiah lives in New York.


Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Njideka Akunyili Crosby draws on art historical, political and personal references to create densely layered figurative compositions that, precise in style, nonetheless conjure the complexity of contemporary experience. Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria, where she lived until the age of sixteen. In 1999 she moved to the United States, where she currently lives. Her cultural identity combines strong attachments to the country of her birth and to her adopted home, a hybrid identity that is reflected in her work.

Crosby is the recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and was awarded Financial Times‘ Women of the Year, 2016. Recent solo exhibitions include Front Room: Njideka Akunyili Crosby, The Baltimore Museum of Art, alongside Prospect.4, curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, New Orleans. Among her current projects is an an outdoor mural for LA MOCA Grand Avenue, on view until December 31, 2018. She lives in Los Angeles.


Erin Christovale

Erin Christovale is the Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She is also the curator of Black Radical Imagination with Amir George, which has screened both nationally and internationally in spaces such as MoMA PS1, MOCA Los Angeles, and the Museo Taller José Clemente Orozco. Exhibitions include a/wake in the water: Meditations on Disaster (2014) at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Memoirs of A Watermelon Woman (2016) and A Subtle Likeness (2016) at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, and S/Election: Democracy, Citizenship, Freedom (2016) at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and baby boy (2017) at Transmission Glasgow. She recently organized the 28th anniversary of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS with Vivian Crockett as part of Visual AIDS’ project, A Day With(Out) Art and Made in L.A. 2018, the Hammer Museum’s biennial showcasing artists from the greater Los Angeles area with Anne Ellegood.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7:15 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main Image:
Dwell: Aso Ebi, 2017
Acrylic, transfers, colored pencil, collage and commemorative fabric on paper
243.8 x 315 cm
96 x 124 in
© Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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