13 Dec

Wangechi Mutu and Carrie Mae Weems on the Profound Impulse to Make Art

Courtesy the Artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York Brussels. Photo credit Cynthia Edorh. by Carrie Mae Weems | Interview Magazine Wangechi Mutu builds worlds. In fact, the 48-year-old multimedia artistdoesn’t stop with terrestrial concerns such as material and form—she creates whole new mythologies for her vivid, ever-expanding artistic domain, in- venting radical cosmological creatures that can be seductive, monstrous, secretive, triumphant, and all-powerful, as if mating folklore with sci-fi cyborgian fantasy. Mutu has often been linked with Afrofuturism—the cultural movement that welds the iconography...
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30 Nov

ICONS: Ideals of Black Masculinity | CCH Pounder’s Collection

Mario Moore, Red, Black and Green Armor, 2017 Imagine how I felt when my Aunt Meigan revealed that one of my favorite actresses of all time is also a family member! (Guyana is a small country, after all!) Icons: Ideals of Black Masculinity An Exhibition from the Collection of CCH Pounder at Xavier University Art Gallery The opening reception for ICONS is free and open to the public. The Xavier University and Greater New Orleans Community are invited to experience this extraordinary collection of works by...
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7 Feb

The Playful, Political Art of Sanford Biggers

Photograph by Eric Helgas for The New Yorker An under-sung artist upends received ideas about race and history. by Vinson Cunningham | The New Yorker Biggers’s art, layered with references to race and history, is sincere and ironic at once. Audio: Listen to this story. Three years ago, on a Saturday in spring, I wandered into a humid gallery just south of Canal Street. On display was a group exhibition called “Black Eye,” which included works by an impressive roster of established and emerging artists—Kehinde Wiley,...
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15 Jan

20 Dope Black Comics Set to Takeover in 2018

by Terrence Sage* | AfroPunk The following is a list of comics either ongoing or releasing this year. It is focused on either Black creative teams penning the adventures of superheroes, or comics that star Black superheroes in a prominent light!   1. Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands (DC Comics) = Writer: Tony Isabella, Artist: Clayton Henry, Colorist: Pete Pantazis, Letterer: Josh Reed   Black Lightning aka Jefferson Pierce returns to the spotlight in a six-issue miniseries that gives Cleveland a hero to cheer for. During the day, Jefferson is...
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11 Jan

Carrie Mae Weems on Her Favorite Books

Carrie Mae Weems in her library. Photo: David Paul Broda   by Jo Steffens | The Paris Review The following is excerpted from Unpacking My Library: Artists and Their Books, a collection of interviews with contemporary artists about their personal libraries, to be published by Yale University Press in November.   INTERVIEWER Your photographic work incorporates family stories, autobiography, documentary, and other narrative forms. What do you consider to be your role as a storyteller? CARRIE MAE WEEMS In the past I’ve employed elements of text in and around my work,...
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11 Jan


LORNA SIMPSON IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, JULY 2016. PHOTOS: VICTORIA STEVENS. HAIR: EDRIS FOR EDRIS SALON. MAKEUP: AMENAWON GREEN FOR SGRAYUNLIMITED THE AGENCY.  (Another one of the groundbreaking artists in my life; we were in the same class together at Art & Design HS.  She was always a star. <3) by William J. Simmons | INTERVIEW This summer, during group shows and ahead of fall exhibition openings, we’re visiting New York-based artists in their studios. Lorna Simpson has been at the forefront of conceptual art for over...
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1 Nov

“Club 57: Film, Performance & Art in the East Village, ’78–’83” @Museum of Modern Art

“We were all about being very silly at Club 57,” Min Sanchez, one of the regulars, said recently.  ALDEN PROJECTS (One of my favorite haunts. And yes, rents were under $200 a month in those days.) by Brett Sokol | NY Times Club 57, Late-Night Home of Basquiat and Haring Gets a Museum-Worthy Revival.   Kenny Scharf is one of the artists whose early work is being featured in “Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983,” at the Museum of Modern...
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11 Oct

Chris Ofili’s Frustrating, Profound ‘Paradise Lost’

The artist’s new exhibition, at the David Zwirner gallery in New York, is a controlling show, one that minimizes the viewer’s ability to walk around the gallery’s space freely. Photograph by Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio courtesy the artist and David Zwirner New York / London   by Doreen St. Félix | The New Yorker To approach a Chris Ofili painting is to make peace with one’s own smallness. For the last twenty or so years, the British artist has accumulated entire universes on his canvases,...
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5 Oct

‘Sunrise, Sunset’ by Edwidge Danticat

Illustration by Bianca Bagnarelli The New Yorker It comes on again on her grandson’s christening day. A lost moment, a blank spot, one that Carole does not know how to measure. She is there one second, then she is not. She knows exactly where she is, then she does not. Her older church friends tell similar stories about their surgeries, how they count backward from ten with an oxygen mask over their faces, then wake up before reaching one, only to find...
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4 Oct

Massive ‘David Bowie IS’ Exhibit @ the B’klyn Museum in 2018

'David Bowie is' exhibit in Barcelona. Photo via David Bowis IS BCN by Craig Hubert | Brownstoner The Brooklyn Museum posted a bright orange square to all of their social media accounts Tuesday, teasing a big announcement they would be making the following day. As many speculated, the cryptic message was a sign that “David Bowie is,” the vast international touring-exhibition about the famed glam-rock singer, who passed away in January 2016, would be coming to the museum in March, 2018. David Bowie is… coming...
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2 Sep

First Black Shakespearean Actor Ira Aldridge is Honoured

Ira Aldridge, stage name F.W. Keene, died in 1867 Coventry & Warwickshire, BBC The UK's first black Shakespearean actor is to be honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque in Coventry. Ira Aldridge was given the job of manager at Coventry Theatre after impressing the people of the city with his acting during a tour in 1828. The impression he made during his time there is credited with inspiring Coventry's petition to Parliament for the abolition of slavery. His life, 150 years after his...
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19 Aug

‘Loving Vincent’ Film Painted Entirely by Hand w/ New Trailer

by Jordan Mintzer | Hollywood Review Directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman worked for 7 years on this entirely hand-painted film, which played in competition at Annecy. There have already been quite a few films about Vincent van Gogh, ranging from the heroic (Lust for Life) to the dramatic (Vincent & Theo) to the enigmatic (Maurice Pialat’s masterly Van Gogh). All of them offer up their own interpretations of the artist’s brief and tumultuous life, which ended abruptly from suicide at the...
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11 Aug

‘A Girl Without a Sound’ by Buhle Ngaba

by Mbali Phala | The Daily Vox As an act of restoring power and agency to young black girls in South Africa, Buhle Ngaba wrote a story about a voiceless girl of colour in search of her own sound. For it to be the catalyst that reminds black girls of the power of the sounds trapped inside them. She describes the journey of her book, A Girl Without a Sound to Mbali Zwane. "The book was born out of defiance and as a response...
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11 Aug

Basquiat Before He Was Famous

(I met Alexis Adler around 1979 walking down St. Mark's Place, the hub of the East Village. I was wearing an English Beat t-shirt and she stopped me, pointing at the shirt exclaiming "My friend Malu Halasa is married to the guitarist!"  That was all it took to make lifelong friends in those days. It was in that 12th Street apartment I befriended Jean, heard Fela Kuti for the first time and fell asleep to the lullaby of Bowie's 'Low'....
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5 Aug

The Digital and Black Hair: Technology & African Material Culture

Screenprinted floor tiles. I reproduced two patterns in Adobe Illustrator, one straight, one curved. These module allow me to create infinite braided designs. NM   NONTSIKELELO MUTITI: THE DIGITAL AND BLACK HAIR  The term Ruka in the Shona language is used to describe the processes of braiding whilst also being assigned to the production methods of weaving and knitting. These analogous processes are closely related to the development of coding languages and computation. As an artist and educator I situate African Hair Braiding within...
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2 Aug

My Buddy: Patti Smith Remembers Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard and Patti Smith at the Hotel Chelsea in 1971. Photo David Gahr/Getty by Patti Smith | The New Yorker He would call me late in the night from somewhere on the road, a ghost town in Texas, a rest stop near Pittsburgh, or from Santa Fe, where he was parked in the desert, listening to the coyotes howling. But most often he would call from his place in Kentucky, on a cold, still night, when one could hear the stars breathing. Just...
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30 Jul

‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’ Children’s Book

Author/illustrator/filmmaker Vashti Harrison: "I sat down for an interview with Anna Sterling from AJ+ about my new book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. We chatted about the origins of the project, why representation matters and some of the most inspiring stories from the whole experience! *There is one little teaser in there: My book will feature 40 American women, so my Hatshepsut drawing will hopefully make into another book! ;-)   ...
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18 Jul

Junot Díaz’s New Picture Book ‘Island Born’

Islandborn is about a girl who lives in Washington Heights, learning more about the Dominican Republic, which she left when she was a baby. by Alexandra Alter | NY Times An illustration from Junot Díaz’s “Islandborn,” a picture book to be published next spring. Credit Illustrations by Leo Espinosa By his own admission, the novelist Junot Díaz is an agonizingly slow writer and a chronic procrastinator. Over the past two-plus decades, he has published just three books: two short-story collections and his 2007 novel, “The Brief...
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11 Jul

Aneka & Ayo: My Dora Milaje Research Continues…

It is unsurprising that we at Black Nerd Problems are here for Wakanda. We have well developed theories about it, have imagined our favorite barbershops and corner bodegas. Even those of us who aren’t walking comic book encyclopedias have a soft spot for it, not as it has always been portrayed — which, let’s be honest, has had a heavy dose of deepest darkest exotic AFRICA — but as it could be, as an imaginary place where the past and...
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