My Daddy’s Generation

Kerry James Marshall’s work, specifically his Black Painting currently on display at the Blanton Museum of Art has made me think of my Daddy’s generation (yes, I call my father Daddy) . Black Painting is a black on black painting on fiberglass. Through the use of cool and warm blacks, Marshall constructs an image of a  bedroom. I watch viewers wrestle with this painting. Some don’t take the time to look twice and some spend up to 10-15 minutes (which is a lot for museum viewers) actively searching the surface for hints as to the subject matter. First, the heels off center in the foreground of the painting are “picked out” first. Then the books on the night stand, one being Angela Davis’ If They Come In The Morning and then the figures in the bed. Are the figures having sex? Are the figures awake? Are they rising or laying down? The Black Panther Banner that hangs in the upper right of the canvas is usually one of the last items identified before the semi-interested viewer walks away. This is in part due to the ignorance, fear and construction of the Black Panthers as militant and the “black version of the KKK” (yes, I heard escape someone’s ignorant mouth). Not many people take the time to know the history of the Black Panthers and their involvement pass the infamous quote “The Revolution will not be televised”. Nor do many know that Huey Newton is actually Dr. Huey P. Newton with a Ph.D in Social Philosophy or that Bobby Seale is still alive and kicking or that Angela Davis absolutely HATES the fact that the Black Panther/Black Power Movement is often reduced to a hairstyle (i.e the Afro).

But back to the painting. Black Painting is a depiction of the home of Fred Hampton. Killed at the young age of 21 years old, Hampton was the deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. On December 4, 1969, the Chicago Police (with help from Cook County Attorney General and FBI), raided Hampton’s apartment. With over 6 police officers from 4:45 am to 4:52 am, each fired into the home Killing Hampton and Mark Clark. Hampton’s body was then dragged outside where he was shot two more times at point blank range in the head for “safe measure”. I found out from Chicago native and artist John Yancy, that the Black Panthers opened to apartment for tours days later and he actually saw the bullet riddle home and  the blood soaked mattress with his very own eyes.

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My Daddy was born October 30, 1962. Before he was ten years old a multitude of black leaders and activist were imprisoned, beaten and killed. And don’t forget that all of these leaders had varying approaches of how to liberate black people within U.S. In other words, not all were preaching Jesus, or Islam. Some wanted to educate people of their “inalienable rights” as U.S. citizens.  Can you imagine the state of mind of Black people at the time, when their major leaders were being assassinated with a 10 year span? The question What do we do now?? is an understatement! And after these leaders, who were the next set of role models? Gangsta Rap? NWA? TuPac Shakur? The minister?

For the past two months, Black Painting has been more than a painting to me… and this blog is the best way to explain what or perhaps how I think about it.

A few weeks ago, my Daddy came to visit me and I didn’t tell him what the painting was about or who it was by and within 2 minutes of looking at it he said “Its Fred Hampton”.

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CHICAGO BOUND!

I  know I’ve been a way for a minute. My apologies. It was not my intent to neglect my wordpress baby, however graduation, work, senior-itis and the sheer lack of anything “goings-on” in Austin that tickles pickle results in me not writing too much. But THATS ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE! Cuz I’m moving to the CHI!

Now. I know the title pulled you in and you thought, “Ohmylord! She’s goin’ to the Chi?!” Yes, I’m going to Chi-town, but not for the weekend… for 2 years!!!!! Yep. That’s right.

Black girl in Austin will be moving to Chicago for Grad school so the title of this here blog may have to change… A very good friend of mine said, “Why don’t you just change it to Black girl??” and me being me said, “Oh my god, I never thought of that!” Needless to say, I am incredibly excited and incredibly nervous, similar to how a hooker must feel in church . It will be a good change to say the least. New city, new people and MORE ART. ART coming out the ying yang! Art on the subway, art on the bus, art from the homeless man, art in the park, art art art!

So as I make this transition to a new city, new experiences are bound to happen and new blogs are going to sprout like Texas weeds. In the meantime, there are plenty of art exhibitions coming up in the summer (and some current exhibitions I have yet to see) that I plan to attend, marvel over and meet new folks:

 

CAMH _Zilkha Gallery

Perspectives 182: LaToya Ruby Frazier

On View: June 21 – October 13, 2013

Opening Reception:  Thursday, June 20, 2013 | 7-9PM

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I’M SO EXCITED! LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work explores the psychological connections of intergenerational relationships within her family and community through photographs and videos that blur the line between self-portraiture and social documentary. Frazier’s work is informed by late 19th- and early 20th-century modes of representation in documentary practice with an emphasis on postmodern conditions, class, and capitalism.

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Mar 31, 2013 – Jun 02, 2013

The city provides the context for the visually packed work of San Francisco native Barry McGee. Since the mid-1980s, when McGee was a teenager, he has lived in the city’s oldest neighborhood, the Mission District. At that time, the Mission held a colorful, somewhat seedy, antiestablishment atmosphere with a thriving culture of youth, alternative musicians, artists, and thinkers. The vibe of the Mission influenced the artist early on, and he began to infiltrate the area’s flourishing graffiti boom with images that he created to reflect his surroundings.

 
México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990
 
Sep 15, 2013 – Jan 05, 2014

México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, one of the largest and most ambitious exhibitions in over a decade examines contemporary art of central Mexico and Mexico City from the 1990s to the present day. Organized by curator Andrea Karnes, the exhibition is the first of its kind to be presented in North Texas.

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Cindy Sherman

March 17–June 9, 2013
Barrel Vault and Hanley, Lamont, Rachofsky, and Stoffel Galleries

The Dallas Museum of Art will present the exhibition Cindy Sherman, a retrospective survey tracing the groundbreaking artist’s career from the mid-1970s to the present. The touring exhibition, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, brings together some 160 key photographs from a variety of the artist’s acclaimed bodies of work, for which she created myriad constructed characters and tableaus. The first comprehensive museum survey of Sherman’s career in the United States since 1997, the exhibition draws widely from public and private collections, including the DMA.

*** If I can scrounge up a few extra dollars to travel and live the art viewing life of luxury.

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Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video is a major retrospective that is composed of more than 200 objects–primarily photographs but also written texts, audio recordings, fabric banners and videos–that will provide an opportunity to trace the evolution of Weems’s career over the last thirty years.

Schedule

  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts
  • 21 September 2012 to 13 January 2013
    • Cantor Center for Visual Arts
    • Stanford University
    • Stanford, California
    • 16 October 2013 to 5 January 2014
    • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    • New York, New York
    • 24 January to 23 April 2014

 

 

 

 

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