“Everyone says I got a Golden Ticket,” says Lee, narrating the introduction. When he was nine, his father left the family, leaving his mother to raise both him and his sister; his intelligence and penchant for talking and reading rather than fighting or playing sports marked him as different from a young age. Though he would come to receive a free tuition at Germantown Friends, he says, ”there was still a great cost. As soon as I set foot in [Germantown Friends] I started to go in a different direction from my family.”
“The assimilation process is very, very difficult,” explains 1989 graduate Marcella Travagline. “No one tried to get to know me … I came and felt invisible, and still do, and that’s why no one even remembers I was here.” Lee admits that even with his popularity, he still felt lonely the entire time he attended the school. Despite receiving the same caliber of education and having access to the same resources as other students at the school, the “guest” mentality is still present, and becomes more obvious when you realize that the majority of people you were at school with for three or four years don’t even remember you were there.
Though, while they may not remember you individually, the whole–the splash of melanin in an otherwise white community–is enough to garner notice. The idea that, in some respects, students of color are clumped together in one large amorphous blob is one of the reasons I appreciated listening to the interviews Lee conducted for the film. I remember the feeling during my own prep-school experience, wondering whether or not anyone will remember if you, individually, were at the school. On the other, you know that as a group people certainly remember because the group stuck out. The group was often seen as homogenous: brown kids who all came from the same background and all sat at the same table in the dining hall for meals. However, as Lee shows us throughout Prep School, that isn’t ever the case.
I’m always up for a good documentary, so guest contributor Kendra James’ review of The Prep School Negro means another one I’m putting in my queue. Check out the rest of her review at the R today! (via racialicious)
Reblogging this older post with an update: It’s just been announced that The Prep School Negro will air on PBS’ America Reframed series on February 11th. The version of the documentary airing is longer than the one reviewed over a year ago and I’m looking forward to checking out Andre Robert Lee’s final version.
In related news, the documentary American Promise (which follows two students of color attending NYC’s The Dalton School from kindergarten through high school) will also air on PBS thanks to their POV series and the National Consortium of Black Programming. The air date is February 3rd, but be sure to check your local listings for both documentaries.
The treatment of POC students inside the walls of prestigious independent schools is a topic near and dear to my heart. There’s already been some great discussion brought about by American Promise, and we invite our readers to continue in that vein during the airings of both documentaries. You can catch us on twitter @Racialicious. -KJ
6:46 am • 27 January 2014 • 285 notes
Get Ready for the Marvelous: Simone Leigh
This week, The Performa Institute presents Get Ready for the Marvelous: Black Surrealism in Dakar, Fort-de-France, Havana, Johannesburg, New York City, Paris, Port-au-Prince, 1932-2013, a two-day symposium focusing on international black artists who were directly or tangentially involved in…
6:39 am • 27 January 2014 • 31 notes
Futurism in Egypt: Nelson Morpurgo and The Cairo Group
By Przemyslaw Strozek
The leader and founder of the Futurist Movement, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, was born in Alexandria in 1876, of Italian descent. He spent his early school years in Egypt, and, as a teenager, he founded a small literary review, Le Papyrus: revue bi-mensuelle litteraire, artistique, fantaisiste et mondaine (1894-1895), in which he published poems and articles in defense of naturalism and modern literature. In this eclectic periodical, of which he published 21 issues, Marinetti showed a keen interest not only in the newest French poetry, but also an early fascination with politics, and especially anarchism, that marked his later writings, including the first manifesto of Futurism. The manifesto, published on February 20, 1909, led to the launching of a Futurist group, which had during its 35 years of activity far-reaching representatives in various parts of Italy and abroad. Marinetti was certain that a radical condemnation of tradition and the transformation of provincial Italian towns into large industrial centers would lead to a strengthening of the country in the international arena and would make the country a fully modern one, governed by the “proletariat of geniuses.” Marinetti believed that the proclamation of a futurist Italy would take place simultaneously by means of political as well as a literary and artistic upheaval. It was not without reason, therefore, that the Futurists were the first to call for Italy to participate in the First World War, as it was the War which paved the way for political fights, culminating in the March of the Blackshirts on Rome and the establishment of the Fascist government in 1922.
6:38 am • 27 January 2014 • 34 notes
“Curating, it seems to me, might best be understood as a kind of relationship – a friendship – that is both committed and somehow capricious enough to be, in any product of the relation, altruistic. There’s a very real possibility that artists and curators are the same and the other to one another.”
— Ed Atkins on “Being Curated”
6:35 am • 27 January 2014 • 211 notes
A History Waiting To Be Written: Ed Clark’s High-Spirited, Abstract Paintings
Clark’s oeuvre is as distinctive and particular, and, in that regard, comparable to the work of other artists who belong to the so-called “Second Generation” — Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis, and Norman Bluhm, for example. He is certainly due the close attention that Mitchell and Francis have received. Clark is an important figure in the history of postwar abstract art, a history that includes African American practitioners, whose work ranges across time and style — from Norman Lewis and Alma Thomas to Sam Gilliam, Howardena Pindell, Stanley Whitney and Jack Whitten. It is a rich, complex and little-known history that requires further research and scholarship, not to mention exhibitions and monographs.
Hammons selected eight large paintings that Clark did between 2001 and 2012. They were all done after the artist turned seventy-five. What an eye-popping revelation and joy to see them hung in three spacious rooms of an Upper East Side townhouse. Their enthusiasm is unrivaled and catching.
by John Yau for Hyperallergic
6:30 am • 27 January 2014 • 14 notes
Campaign Against Superstition in 1927
[oil on masonite]
5:32 pm • 26 January 2014 • 125 notes