New Thoughts on Performativity, Race and Art at the Driskell Center, University of Maryland, College Park
What happens when we exhibit ourselves? In this moment in history, why is there a particular taste for abstract artwork? What is it about the black body in motion that is so enticing for the American public? These were the questions that presenters tackled at the annual Driskell Center Symposium: Performing Race in African American Visual Culture on Thursday, September 16th. Amongst panelists and audience members were artists, art historians, museum professionals and graduate students from across the country.
The Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize
The Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, now in its fifth year, is one of the Studio Museum’s most exciting initiatives. The prize, established by jazz impresario, musician, and philanthropist George Wein in memory of his wife Joyce, is an unrestricted $50,000 award to an African-American artist of great innovation and promise. At last month's Gala, the 2010 Wein Prize was awarded to Leslie Hewitt.
Day by Day
For this season's issue of Studio magazine, writer and scholar Amanda Alexander contributes a wonderful essay reflecting on Zwelethu Mthethwa's photographic portraiture, and the South African political backdrop.
South Africa’s first decade of democracy brimmed with the language of betrayal. Progressive commentators and representatives of new social movements denounced the administrations of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki for their broken promises—and for good reason. By 1999, the African National Congress (ANC) had made little headway in rectifying the material outcomes of colonialism, segregation, and apartheid; instead their own neoliberal economic policies were deepening racialized and gendered inequality.1 For these reasons, commentators have constantly reflected back on the early 1990s, obsessed with a lost moment, with what this democracy could have been and what the revolution might have brought. Social movements have continuously reminded the government that this is not the democracy they struggled for and have argued that it is up to the poorest South Africans to salvage the revolution, to make good on the insurrectionary promises made between comrades in trenches and jail cells.
Catching Up with a Young Designer
The two-hour trip from Harlem to St. Albans, Queens, is a trek and a pilgrimage that takes you from the brownstone bustle to quaint tree-lined streets. St. Albans is fabled for the black luminaries who called it home—from W.E.B. DuBois to Lena Horne to LL Cool J. Budding fashion designer and autodidact LaQuan Smith intends to add his name to this list.