Brooklyn Republic recently closed the exhibition Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, a mid-career retrospective, going back 14 years, from Kehinde's early styles to the more well-known mix of young black men in casual attire, recreating traditional portrait scenes, with a backdrop of vivid patterns, as seen in the National Portrait Gallery, among other settings. More recently, he has expanded his street-casting to include African American women, as captured in the PBS Arts documentary, Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace. More videos and critical commentary below the break. [more inside]
“African Americans,” he wrote in one of his section introductions for Hokum, “like any other Americans, are an angry people with fragile egos. Humor is vengeance. Sometimes you laugh to keep from crying. Sometimes you laugh to keep from shooting … black folk are mad at everybody, so duck, because you’re bound to be in someone’s line of fire.” Paul Beatty on Satire, Racism and Writing for "Weirdos", from the Paris Review.
Unsung Heroines provides bite-sized biographies of Black women who changed the world, and is a great way to learn history you were deliberately not taught in school. Women profiled include Fannie Lou Hamer, the civil rights hero who first said "I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired;" Mary Church Terrell, an early advocate for civil rights and the suffrage movement; Melba Roy Mouton, a NASA mathmatician; as well as: [more inside]
"[In] the face of a culture that would deny them, it becomes necessary for an artist of color in the west to defiantly announce to the world: I am a fact." In April 2014, at the first ever Yale Asian Alumni Reunion, Vijay Iyer delivered a powerful speech "on two intertwined issues: the role of Asian Americans as upwardly mobile minorities and the role of the artist as a potential transgressor within elite institutions."
It's been over two years since Hennessy Youngman's made an Art Thoughtz video, but that doesn't change the relevance of what he's posted and the deeper meaning behind them all. (NSFW SLYT) [more inside]
Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes." [more inside]
How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
The Tumblr blog People of Color in European Art History, or medievalpoc for short, has a simple mission: to showcase works of art from European history that feature People of Color. All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. [more inside]
Black Gynaecologist (2008), 'I love the white middle class ...' (2008), Say! if you speak English... (2008).
The works and life of Anton Kannemeyer.
The works and life of Anton Kannemeyer.
Yosimar Reyes, a champion slam poet has collaborated with artist Julio Salgado, who is "out and proud" as gay and undocumented, on a new set of works called "Five Tips for Queer Boys" (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and extra). [more inside]
In Do the Right Thing, the subject is not simply a race riot, but the tragic dynamic of racism, racial tension, and miscommunication, seen in microcosm. The film is a virtuoso act of creation, a movie at once realistic and symbolic, lighthearted and tragic, funny and savage... I have written here more about Lee’s ideas than about his style. To an unusual degree, you could not have one without the other: style is the magician’s left hand, distracting and entertaining us while the right hand produces the rabbit from the hat. It’s not what Lee does that makes his film so devastating, but how he does it. Do the Right Thing is one of the best-directed, best-made films of our time, a film in which the technical credits, the acting, and Lee’s brazenly fresh visual style all work together to make a statement about race in America that is all the more powerful because it blindsides us. - Roger Ebert (SPOILER) [more inside]
With Marvel Comics hinting that Black Panther will become "American Panther", a typical storm of controversy and speculation has occurred over the supposed Americanization of an African character. The artists over at The Temple of Cartoon Mojo on the other hand, wondered what would happen if MORE iconic characters were made patriotic. The results range from the silly, to the utterly awesome.
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children's ethnicity. (via Wonkette)
Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party's Minister of Culture from 1967 to 1979. Douglas is still alive and making posters for the cause, in this case the San Francisco 8, who were arrested earlier this year for the murder of a police officer in 1971 -- despite the fact that evidence was thrown out of federal court in 1976 because "officers stripped the men, blindfolded them, beat them and covered them in blankets soaked in boiling water," and "used electric prods on their genitals." The SF Weekly published a detailed 5-page story about the case in November 2006.
When he's not writing for The Adventures of Chico and Guapo or MadTV, Colin Quashie is creating his own brand of political art (with some help from elementary school kids on that last one). He has even put together a free coloring book to help you sort out the civil rights movement. What does it all mean? He'll tell you.