From the Blanton Museum of Art, Assembly: New Acquisitions by Contemporary Black Artists
EXHIBITION OPEN THROUGH MAY 8, 2022
The title of the presentation, Assembly, embraces the heterogeneity of work made by Black artists, refusing generalization, essentialization, and definitive interpretation. As theorized by the late British cultural critic Stuart Hall and expanded on by American philosopher Paul C. Taylor, with “assembly” comes the potential for disassembly and reassembly. In this gathering, we encounter acts of representation, resilience, reclamation, and resistance.
The installation includes works by Emma Amos, Kevin Beasley, Genevieve Gaignard, James “Yaya” Hough, Arie Pettway, Sally Pettway Mixon, Robert Pruitt, Noah Purifoy, Deborah Roberts, Lorna Simpson, Cauleen Smith, and Nari Ward. View the presentation in the Huntington gallery, located on the second museum floor of the museum.
Organized by Veronica Roberts, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Los Angeles-based artist Cauleen Smith’s flashing neon sculpture Light Up Your Life (For Sandra Bland) alternates between “I will light you up,” the words shouted to Sandra Bland by a Texas State Trooper, and “I will light up your life,” lyrics from the 1970s hit famously sung by Debby Boone and later Whitney Houston. About the artwork, Smith said: “I wanted to play with this threat, ‘I will light you up,’ by finding a response that neutralized it… And so, this flashing neon is a dance off, a sing-a-thon, a battle, a protest, a memento mori that collectivizes Sandra Bland’s resistance, reclaims her sovereignty, and reifies the ways in which Black culture is inextricably woven into national identities and cultures.”
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