The cover of Robin Coste Lewis’ book, Voyage of the Sable Venus features a Harlem Renaissance era photo of a slim black woman standing on a sidewalk deep in thought. With one hand resting on her hip and the other cradling her chin, the woman is pondering what lies behind the glass window in front … Continue reading Poems and Portraits: Revealing and Reclaiming Blackness in Western Art
When artists leave us too soon we are reminded of their greatness in the items they left behind. Musicians have libraries of unreleased tracks or compositions, photographers leave behind negatives, contact sheets and undeveloped film, painters have hidden canvases or incomplete work and writers leave behind their words—ideas that weren’t fully developed, concepts that never came to … Continue reading Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories
James Baldwin, 1945. Portrait by Richard Avedon. Photo Credit, National Portrait Gallery Yesterday’s post about Dawoud Bey took a close look at his 2013 Birmingham Project, a photographic examination of church bombings and deaths that took place in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963. Bey’s work was an attempt to reconcile the present through an examination … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge (15): James Baldwin
“It’s a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eye of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk In yesterday’s post we placed a spotlight on Theaster Gates … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge (10): W.E.B Du Bois, Writer, Scholar, Artist?
Theaster Gates puts viewers to work when they experience his art, and this is precisely what drew me to a particular group of paintings at his current show Regen Projects in L.A. The exhibition titled But to Be a Poor Race is an homage to W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 book, The Souls of Black Folk, the seminal series of essays … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge (9): Theaster Gates at Regen Projects
I am not so blinded by my own history that I cannot see, appreciate or understand the complex journeys of others. What’s happening now was foreshadowed so very long ago but only now some have chosen to wake up. I know this realization doesn’t make today less hurtful, but I find myself wondering how and why the decisions … Continue reading Ellis Island- 125 Years Later
Yesterday’s post on Radio Imagination at the Armory Center for the Arts focused on one artists creative interpretation of Octavia Butler’s famous novels, Kindred. The show also featured digital snapshots of Butler’s papers currently catalogued at the Huntington Library in Pasadena. Manuscripts, character sketches, childhood stories, and journal entries all provide us with an expositive look into Butler’s creative process including … Continue reading “So Be It, See To It.”