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By RoseLee Goldberg
With Anthology, his current exhibition at MoMA PS1, Clifford Owens invited 26 artists to provide him with written scores for performances. The result: twice as many works as those listed. This “two for one” model—the artist’s proposal, and Owens’s interpretation of it—in some cases doubled the emotional content as well as the aesthetic layers of the original, making for an especially rich combination.
Lyle Ashton Harris
Memoirs of Hadrian #1, 2008
Archival pigment print on Hahnemühle satin paper
30 × 34 inches
Courtesy the artist and CRG Gallery, New York
"For some reason society likes to peg someone. A girl with short hair is gonna be gay, a guy with long hair is gonna be gay…people are playing around with their identities more and more, and they’re just saying things about themselves…" - photographer Lola Flash discusses her work, film by Nono Osuji
”And one of the things straight culture hates most is a sign that the different parts of the package might be recombined in an infinite number of ways. But experience shows that this is just what tends to happen. If heterosexuality requires the entire sequence, then it is very fragile. No wonder it needs so much terror to induce compliance.” - from Michael Warner’s The Trouble With Normal, p.38
Lola Flash, Sadako, New York City, from [sur]passing, 2007
Joy Gregory’s artistic practice is concerned with notions of identity and gender, often resulting in projects that reference 19th century photographic techniques.
In this series of nine self-portraits, Joy Gregory depicts fragments of her upper body, face and hands, playfully moving in and out of the frame. Through close-up confrontation with the photographic lens, she investigates concepts of beauty, femininity and politics associated with the portrayal of identity. The artist applied a special photographic technique to these black and white portraits in order to achieve ‘clear whites, velvety matt blacks and pink/brown colour in the mid-skin tones’.
At the time that these photographs were made, images of women from culturally diverse backgrounds were largely absent from lifestyle magazines, advertising campaigns and newspapers. The work directly addresses issues of absence, visibility and self-representation within society. (via Autograph ABP)
Image: Joy Gregory, Autoportraits, 1990
Bandele ‘Tex’ Ajetunmobi, East End Portraits, 1950s - 1980s
Nka represents a step forward in that direction. The field of contemporary African and African Diaspora art has been neglected within the art historical debate. Despite growing interest in the field and the modernist and postmodernist experience, most mainstream art periodicals have marginalized African and Diaspora arts in general, let alone the contemporary forms. The few journals that exist in the field of African art either focus primarily on the ethnographic and the so-called traditional or authentic art forms, or give a cursory and mostly superficial look at the contemporary forms. Hence, Nka serves as an urgently needed platform, filling a serious gap in the field. It would be right to say that it has in a short period placed contemporary African art in a global perspective and brought significant aspects of contemporary African culture to the awareness of the world.