Kori Newkirk (b. 1970) Solon 6:12, 2000 Plastic pony beads, artificial hair, and metal brackets 83 × 73 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Dean Valentine & Amy Adelson 2009.16
In African-American culture, the plastic pony bead is a functional and ornamental accessory for braided hair, and can also be used as decoration in the home. Kori Newkirk was prompted to include pony beads in his work after viewing the sensationalized coverage of tennis player Venus Williams at the U.S. Open in 1997, when the press criticized Williams’s beaded hair as a distraction during matches. By incorporating pony beads into abstract compositions, Newkirk presents them as bridging popular culture and high art.