“In the beginning there were only a few marked instances of such an outlook, but at the end of the 1990s, it seemed that post-black had fully entered the art world’s consciousness. Post-black was the new black.”
— Thelma Golden
A safe place for art about and by artists of the diaspora. This tumblelog does not claim the rights to any of these images.This tumbelog is moderated by blackqueerdo, ranaa, lurkinglate, deperles and blueberryplatitudes (occasionally).
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— Thelma Golden
Man’s Country I-II, 2004
Oil on linen 78 x 96 in. (198.1 x 243.8 cm)
— In memory of José Esteban Muñoz, from his book, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (via nyupress)
San Antônio de Jesus, Bahia, Brazil, b. 1970
Cabeca Acustica (Acoustic Head), 1996. Assembled from two aluminum basins that are commonly used in Bahia for washing laundry.
Marepe combined the two basins, creating a hollow volume, and connected another simple kitchen utensil, a funnel of sorts to one end. At the other end, he cut an opening into the volume, large enough for a human head to fit. The object’s immediate use is to amplify sounds, like a megaphone. It is activated in a performative gesture, requiring one person to place the head inside the hollow enclosure, while another person may sing or speak into the funnel. Its transformative potential resides not only in the performative requirement necessary for the work’s success but also in the way in which it enables thinking about a very different use of the most simple of materials.
Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, 2008
Prepared Bechstein piano, pianist (Amir Khosrowpour), 81 inches long. Photo by David Regen. Copyright Allora & Calzadilla and Gladstone Gallery, New York.
"We have talked in the past about the monstrous dimension of art. By that we mean the potential in an artwork to exceed the plans and purposes of its creators. For example, in the case of the piano, which is formed in such a precise manner, we are interested in the things that are unmeasurable and unformed in the work, which can go beyond our intentions, and can make the work mean something we couldn’t anticipate."
Allora & Calzadilla
Returning A Sound, 2004
Color video with sound.
Anthology (Maren Hassinger) (detail), 2011
Clifford Owens: Anthology at MoMA PS1
Photo courtesy On Stellar Rays
This is an Imaginary Border, 2009.
A roll of black duct tape was used to separate the North and South sides of Chicago.
adrian piper, catalysis VI (new york, 1970 performance)
“Piper’s Catalysis was a series of conceptual performances in Manhattan that violated social norms of public behaviour. Photographs document the artist bearing a WET PAINT sign in a crowded street, stuffing her mouth with a towel on public transportation, wearing smelly clothes inside a store, and playing a recording of belching sounds inside a library. Piper never announced that she was performing; unlike televised pranks, the interventions offered no moment of revelation for the strangers who witnessed her behaviour. By escaping the confines of the art context, Piper risked appearing repellent, if not crazy. Acting as a catalytic agent for chance reactions, she dissolved the boundary between art and life.”
"Coco Fusco: When we created this piece, our original intent was not to convince people that the fiction of our being Amerindians was a reality. We understood it to be a satirical commentary both on the Quincentenary celebrations and on the history of this practice of exhibiting human beings from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in Europe and the United States in zoos, theaters, and museums. When we got to Spain, more than half the people thought we really were Amerindians. Then there were others who came to watch those who were taking us seriously. There were people who were not sure whether to believe that we were real. Other people were absolutely convinced that they understood Guillermo’s language, which is virtually impossible because it’s a nonsense language. One man in London stood there and translated Guillermo’s story for another visitor. We had a lot of sexualized reactions to us. Men in Spain put coins in the donation box to get me to dance because, as they said, they wanted to see my tits. There was a woman in Irvine who asked for a rubber glove in order to touch Guillermo and started to fondle him in a sexual manner. There were several instances where people crossed the boundaries of expected sexual behavior. I think that was provoked by us being presented as objects, by their sense of having power over us …”
The Year of the White Bear and Two Undiscovered Amerindians visit the West |Performance | 1992-1994
Sri Lankan natives stare at a woman dressed in culturally scandalous clothing, riding a crowded train. Her wide tank top and knee-length shorts might as well have been lacy lingerie. Soon, her travel partner also becomes anxious in response to her outfit. Reacting to the anxiety-ridden train, artist Xaviera Simmons opens her suitcase and begins pulling on extra layers. But no sooner than the tension is resolved does she begin to undress, shedding the layers and returning to her American shirt and shorts.
"I needed to figure out how to diffuse that energy and not just take it in," Simmons says of the experience.
This was in 2012. During her trip to Sri Lanka, Simmons sporadically did what artists do best: react. She trained in photography and acting, although now incorporates performance, sound and sculpture into her practice. But in thinking cyclically rather than linearly, Simmons’ photography did not evolve into sculpture and sculpture did not evolve into performances. Rather than one primary platform, each medium continually informs the others.
"I couldn’t make photographs without knowing performative works, and I couldn’t make performances without thinking about sculpture," Simmons says. "I need them. They’re all anchors."
While installing her current show at the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut, Simmons broke her arm. “I’m alive. It’ll heal,” she says while laughing. “Underscore” allowed Simmons to experiment and incorporate photography, performance, and sound to examine how artists draw from other practitioners in order to make their works.
Starting this week during Art Basel, Simmons has a solo exhibition, “Open,” on view at the David Castillo gallery in Miami. Before she escaped the New York winter for Miami sun, Simmons told us about her upcoming shows, beliefs, and practice as an artist.
Toyin Odutola and the public struggle
3 December 2013
Last week, 28-year-old artist Toyin Odutola was home for Thanksgiving, back in her childhood bedroom, where, as she recently posted on Instagram, “My past efforts haunt me. Ha!” Odutola isn’t afraid to blog about her failures, successes, and everything in between; indeed, she says that her work is all about process. Now, 13 of her arresting pen-and-ink portraits, which caught the art world’s attention after a sold-out show in Chelsea last spring, are the focus of Odutola’s first solo museum exhibition, “The Constant Struggle,” opening at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art on December 6.Born in Nigeria, raised in Alabama, and trained at the Bay Area’s California College of the Arts, Odutola draws on references as diverse as her upbringing, from animated Japanese serials and African carvings to the sinews of anatomical diagrams. But the blank white backgrounds on which she’ll place a disembodied arm or head, the subject’s dark skin radiating with flashes of disco-colored strobe light, strip away any context, preventing viewers from creating narratives about who’s pictured. Instead, with their open expressions, these figures look back at us, shifting power away from the audience by reflecting our own gaze, and calling into question ideas of identity and race.
At Art Basel Miami Beach this week, Jack Shainman Gallery presents Odutola’s most ambitious work to date, a five-foot tall portrait from her latest series, while earlier pieces are currently on view in group shows at Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) and the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco. Effusive, gracious—and quick to slip on an accent (Southern or Nigerian, depending on the story)—Odutola spoke over the holiday weekend about what’s ahead and knowing when to let go of the past.