Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York

Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York

RICO GATSON: POWER LINES, POWER MINDS

NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

“Decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a program of complete disorder.” – Franz Fanon

When I think of Rico Gatson’s work, the piece Family #3 (2013) comes to mind. There are many other drawings, painting, and sculptures which are so powerful and captivating, but there’s something so simple and eloquent about this photograph. A woman sits on what appears as a hallway, leaning on a desk, wearing a white apron, she looks right at you–colorful aura brilliance surround her, purple, red, yellow and green surround her body – leading you back to her eyes filled with wisdom and power – this power and light is the spine to Gatson’s work, old and new respectfully.

 
© The Artist, 2019. Photo by Melissa Blackall

© The Artist, 2019. Photo by Melissa Blackall

Dell M. Hamilton: All Languages Welcomed HERE

NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

The wounds of the Spirit heal and leave no scars behind. —G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit

Dell Marie Hamilton is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, scholar, and independent curator. Working in the intersection of performance, video, painting, and photography, she uses the body to investigate the social and geopolitical constructions of memory, gender, history, and citizenship. Her lectures, solo performances, and collaborative projects have been presented to a wide variety of audiences as catalysts for social justice and equity. With roots in Belize, Honduras, and the Caribbean, she frequently draws upon the personal experiences of her family, as well as the history and folkloric traditions of her homelands, in the research and conception of her work.

 
© The Artist, 2018. Courtesy of Meliksetian | Briggs, Los Angeles

© The Artist, 2018. Courtesy of Meliksetian | Briggs, Los Angeles

Artists at Work: Todd Gray

East of Borneo, Los Angeles, CA

I met Todd Gray in 2015 when I served as assistant curator at Samson (Boston, MA) and presented his solo exhibition: Caliban in the Mirror 2.0: Exquisite Terribleness. Gray’s studio practice, which extends across continents, is fueled by cultural hybridity, body politics, and utilizing pop-culture to comment on culture at large. Working with his extensive archive photographs of Michael Jackson, West and South Africa, and his personal archives, Gray produces temporal and sculptural photographic works, which juxtapose decontextualized images and offer, reconstructed histories. In combining photography and sculpture, Gray presents us with the multiplicity of perspectives that rethink issues of singularity.

 
Installation view[s], Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo[s]by Charles Mayer Photography. © 2017 Nari Ward

Installation view[s], Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo[s]by Charles Mayer Photography. © 2017 Nari Ward

 

Nari Ward: Neutralize Naturalization

Big Red & Shiny, Boston, MA

Sun SplashedNari Ward, the artist’s largest survey to date, is now on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Organized by Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator, with Jessica Hong, Curatorial Associate, this show couldn’t have come at a more appropriate socio-political time while our country is being separated. The monumental works presented here investigate social justice, immigration, memory, oppression, and power while engaging in local sites, history, and many different communities. The exhibition, comprised of works spanning across 20 years, has traveled the last three years, first at the Perez Art Museum, then at the Barnes Foundation, and finally at the ICA Boston.

 
“The Shape of Things” from the Africa series (1993) Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

“The Shape of Things” from the Africa series (1993) Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

ISSUES OF POWER: The Space Between Ignorance & Acknowledgement

“I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.”-Zora Neale Hurston

As a byproduct of a conversation with my dear friend and fellow artist Chanel Thervil, this essay grapples with issues of power presented within Carrie Mae Weems’ exhibition  “I once knew a girl...”  at the Cooper Gallery at Harvard University. Entering the exhibition, it feels like you are walking through halls of Nefertiti’s tomb, with offerings and images for an afterlife and sounds that guide us through history.

Throughout her work, Weems queries how power is propagated by and relates to architecture, gender, and race in Western art practices. Weems disrupts the divisions caused by being ignored, acknowledged, and being the frontrunner in her tableaus exploring black womanhood and femininity. Here, Thervil and I discuss Weem’s work in connection to our experiences and art making. --Silvi Naci

 

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