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The Romantic edge


Post by Cinque Hicks


Hello, regular reader here. In response to the work of Richard Watson (see post below), Watson skates just on the edge between the kind of postmodern contemporary art that is embraced in a largely white art world and the kind of romantic realism that rules the roost in many mainstream black art contexts. That makes Watson a rare bird.

I’m commenting here because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this subject and in fact am in the middle of a 3-part post on this subject.

[Ed. note– Hicks produces the blog, bare and bitter sleep, and just started a new online news source, electric skin, which rounds up interesting news about visual art from a variety of sources and delivers it link by link].

Unfortunately, the lack of infrastructure in black contemporary art circles means that most of the artists supported within the black art world are those that can command some version of that romantic quality that you picked up on. These artists then have to contend with how to find success outside of the black art world (if they want that), which is usually hostile to that same romanticism. It’s easy to see that many black artists would end up caught between a rock and a hard place.

(For more, see Roberta’s review of “Contemporary Romanticism” at the African American Museum in Philadelphia which featured Watson, Howardena Pindell, Louis Delsarte and Betye Saar. Image above is “Autobiography: The Search” by Pindell)

–Cinque Hicks is an artist, writer and blogger who joins us from Austin Texas.