"In terms of representation and volume, we have to work on both fronts," says Henry Louis Gates, Jr., director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and board member of the Whitney Museum of Art. "The Whitney is never going to have only black art in it or the Met. For American culture to be represented, it must be integrated."
Kasseem Dean, known in the music world as Swizz Beats, was used to seeing Gordon Parks’ photographs in meetings with business partners and at the homes of friends who were not African American. It was far more unusual to see the artwork in front of the people Parks represented.
Launched to consider the roles of art and culture in establishing the narratives of people of color, the conference was inspired by a course taught by Sarah Lewis ’97, assistant professor of history of art and architecture and African and African American studies, who also moderated parts of the event.
The operatic opening notes in “Nine Moments for Now,” a sweeping exhibition about democracy, race, and society at Harvard’s Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, are grounded in violence and grief.
Wole Soyinka is someone to celebrate. Africa's most acclaimed writer, dramatist, poet, novelist, "writer of genius", politico activist who spent 22 months as prisoner of conscience and, for the most part has transcended negativity in a host of camps. He’s been iconic across the board, with his mad hair, quick, hip wit, and his work, which will be along …a long time. His is uncommon work, perhaps monumental.
‘ReSignifications,” at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, is a pointed object lesson. What can we learn from blackamoors, the servile black figures in art history?
Thirty-six blackamoor statues, mostly made in the 18th and 19th centuries, reside in New York University’s Villa La Pietra, a historic home housing an art collection in Florence. Curator Awam Amkpa invited an international slate of artists to respond to these figures for a 2015 exhibition there.
The Cooper Gallery’s spring 2018 exhibition “ReSignifications” links classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture and history as it interprets and interrogates the “Blackamoor” trope in Western culture that emerged at the intersection of cross-cultural encounters shaped by centuries of migration, exchange, conquest, servitude and exile.
Through May 5, the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art presents “ReSignifications,” a reimagined slice of a 2015 exhibit staged at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy. Guest curator Awam Amkpa has whittled down the most poignant pieces of work, which completely overhaul the depiction of black bodies over time.