In the aftermath of recent tumultuous events we want to take the opportunity to recognize and honor some exceptional black artists that truly transcend the boundaries of race and enter a stratosphere of sublime art all their own.
London-born Lina Iris Viktor’s Midas touch brings a reminiscent, ancient glamour to our present day. Using her own form to transport along all who enter her space, we slip into her bold blue, white and gold universe of all that glitters, hanging balanced in her fearlessly forged geometric continuum.
Yale MFA-wielding Awol Erizku seems to be the name on everybody’s lips. Using his remarkable know-how to employ technology with ease, he cleverly promotes his photography with an ultra singular touch–with his highly curated Tumblr and his Instagram only made public during Monday-Friday business hours. His conceptually swift work depicting black women in alarmingly simple marriages from traditional art history (like his Girl with a Bamboo Earring) challenges his very influencers.
Kehinde Wiley’s large-scale portraiture blends his subjects with traditional works by Old Masters, filling in the empty spaces of history where black subjects are largely missing. Glorifying them with precise technique and hero angles, he employs an expert understanding of the “language of black skin.” Wiley tackles questions of inclusion and black identity through a paradoxical confronting and luring vis a vis the beauty of his works, disallowing the message to be glazed over.
Kalup Linzy, a multi-media performance artist inspired by daytime soap operas, creates riotous characters embodying various lustful, listless, melancholy ids divulging decadence and desire. Never losing his southern charm, he takes on a variety of personas–Taiwan, Patience, Labisha–all facets of himself that reach into the deeper, darker places within us all. His Cindy Sherman meets John Waters videos are in the permanent collection of major museums including the MoMA.
Mickalene Thomas is most famous for her bejeweled, enameled mixed-media paintings but her incredible range of photography and installations equally depict her exploration of femininity, sexuality and the identity defined within said realms and perceptions. Carrying influences from her grandmother’s home into her designs, Thomas’ retro rooms stir a collective nostalgia in the American psyche.
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