[Andrea offers brief reviews of two books she recently enjoyed, each very different. One focuses on how light–in its many incarnations–appears and is used as a tool in African Diaspora visual practices; the other on artists’ interest in history and its artifacts. — the artblog editors] Krista Thompson, Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (Duke University Press, Durham: 2015) ISBN 978-0-8223-5807-7 Krista Thompson explores the common use of light, shine, and “bling bling” as a means of self-fashioning and collective agency by African-American, Bahamian, and Jamaican youth culture. She also traces these effects in the work of contemporary ... More » »
[Marvin reviews a show of printmaking and collage work that both achieves a breadth of artistic approaches, and captures the artists’ personal takes on the theme of “memory”. — the artblog editors] As a young print enthusiast, it is always my pleasure to stumble across a show dedicated to the medium. Renderings: New Narratives and Reinterpretations, on view in the Mechanical Hall Gallery at the University of Delaware, is a perfect example of an exhibition that highlights works from a recognized collection and brings to light new scholarship in the printmaking field. Repeat, rework, reprint Drawn from the Philadelphia-based Brandywine Workshop, Renderings ... More » »
The show White Boys, curated by artist Hank Willis Thomas and co-curator Natasha L. Logan at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is a lively reminder that a wide range of art is social and that arguably all art is social. The show of work by 17 artists serves as an addendum to the previous show at the gallery of work by Thomas, whose own conceptual photography explores images of African-American men in popular culture. The current show’s name is a bit of a red herring. Fortunately the art is strong enough to push well beyond stereotypes. And it’s worth noting ... More » »
After winding through an unknown campus in a snowstorm, I walked into Haverford’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and found the space packed with students, professors, and gallery assistants, bodies producing enough heat to do away with the furnace. In the middle of the room, encircled by all of those bodies, eagerly engaging in a walk-through and public conversation about Other People’s Property, a survey of artist Hank Willis Thomas’ work, stood Thomas and curator Kalia Brooks, thinkers, collaborators and cousins. The conversation at this shows opening on Jan. 25 was a kinetic one, moving through the histories, concepts, and intentions – words trumping ... More » »
Stargazers; Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation with 21 Contemporary Artists, on view at the Bronx Museum of Art through May 29, 2011, exhibits forty of Catlett’s sculptures and graphic works juxtaposed with work by two younger generations of artists who share her concerns with the roles and images of African-Americans, particularly African-American women, and with broader questions of social (in)justice. Catlett is a major figure whose work is referenced more often than seen, and unless you caught the retrospective that toured in 1998 you’ve not likely seen this much of her work. She is also a living connection with seventy years’ ... More » »
The concrete beach was empty — not too many beachballs in play — when Cate, Steve and I arrived in Queens to see Greater New York at PS1. But an hour and a half later when we left, the place was packed for one of the museum’s summer WarmUp concerts. With the music and beer, hammocks and lounge-like atmosphere, the place was festive as a beach club.
First is not necessarily best. We went to the Armory and slogged around and saw some great stuff but mostly we were struck by the low energy of the displays and the conservatism of what was on view. It’s the economy stupid — a lot of small scale stuff, serious stuff (no humor) and a fair deal of secondary market work even in the contemporary zone. (Armory was divided into “contemporary” and “modern” piers, the “modern” specifically to deal with secondary market….but we saw secondary market everywhere. We missed much of the modern section so these comments are directed to ... More » »
Hiroto Kitigawa, full-size figure of a woman, at Tokyo Gallery + BTAP at Scope. My best New York moment last weekend didn’t have much to do with the art fairs. A street vendor, a purveyor of hummus, baklava, and more, whipped out his prayer rug, tenderly brushed it off with his hand, and bent toward Mecca to pray. I didn’t take a picture. It seemed rude.
Pepon Osorio, Mangual, 2007, video a short video loop of a dark-skinned man vigorously, but unsuccessfully rubbing off white-face makeup–referencing identity and culture and art history all at once. There’s some terrific work included in the exhibit From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout, an exhibit currently at the Ice Box, a group show of about 70 works that grew out of a series of symposia at Temple University last year. The symposia, African Impressions/Contemporary Art, explored African influences in modern and contemporary art. They pondered the meanings behind the experiences of artists of color, especially when they used Africanist imagery. ... More » »
Just a quick post with some eye candy photos and links to more at flickr. We’ll do more deconstructing of what we saw at Pulse, Scope, Red Dot and the Armory in another post. Here’s my flickr Armory set, Scope set, Red Dot and Pulse. See Libby’s set here. Folkert de Jong’s The Death March: Drummer, Piper, Dancer. James Cohan Gallery, NY, at the Armory show. One of the most colorful installations. Weirdly anti-war with the figures sporting the heads of Abe Lincoln and what looks like Ben Franklin. Alex Baker, PAFA curator, and pink painting at the Armory show. ... More » »