Monday, February 24, 2014

Black History Month Los Angeles

ARTISTS VIEW THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY: An art exhibition, “RISE: Love. Revolution. The Black Panther Party,” opens this Friday, February 21 and runs through March 21, 2014 at Art Share L.A., 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90013. The exhibit spotlights over thirty artists whose work references the legacy of the Black Panther Party, and has been organized by RISE, a Los Angeles-based arts collective. Los Angeles is the first stop in the exhibit’s five-city tour, which will also include Oakland, New York, Chicago, and London. 

DuSable Museum of African America History BLACK HISYORY MONTH EXHIBIT


The Endangered Species:  A Visual Response to the Vanishing Black Man
Against the backdrop of exquisite beauty, this show interrogates masculinity, sexuality, slavery, vanity, mental poverty and the futility of aspiration. Each piece is a riotous installation—a visual treasure hunt. Bespoke top hats, gilded icons, and ancient timepieces knit together with vibrant butterflies, luscious flowers, and florid peacock eyes to tell the story of black folk. These collages in three-dimension represent archeology of black America—Welch’s tribute to a dying race.
“From within a fields of color and metaphor, black men lookout—beautiful but without hope-vanishing.”
Curated by Raub Welch
Artist Statement. – Raub Welch
To tell the truth is noble, but to evoke it—that’s art.

When I think about the purpose of my art —that is, how I want it to affect those who experience it— it always comes back to truth. Simple,unassuming, yet astoundingly poignant truth. This exhibit uses the unsettling power of juxtaposition to re-tell the truths of black manhood. We as a society have graduated to a misguided comfort when it comes to defining the black man: dutiful, aggressive, industrious, thoughtless, strong and most incorrectly, simple. As creatures, we (black men) carry a narrative too ghastly and nightmarish to ever qualify as merely “simple.” The larger issue (and perhaps the focus of my exhibit) is that we have completely divorced the concept of beauty from the black man. My exhibit aims to interrogate these prejudices, reassess our own predispositions, and redefine the black male as an entity that is beautifully complex, and longing for humanity. 

These various pieces are designed to provocatively reconnect the idea of beauty to the black male. I draw inspiration from seemingly arbitrary sources, and assemble them into what might initially seem to be a potpourri of unconnected themes. Upon further inspection and deliberation, the truths reveal themselves and the beauty resonates. Relics and rituals from the different “bits-and-pieces” are combined to create what feels like a distant dreamscape of ideas and concepts. I made sure to leave just enough creative room for each person to draw their own unique, and personal conclusion about how that piece operates—as an artistic entity, and as a liaison between their imagination and the unsightly truths. Highly imaginative and anchored in the deepest candor, this exhibit invites new perspectives and thoughts on the famed and infamous black male.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Odilon Redon

Until 18 May 14
The Chariot of Apollo, around 1910
Various shades of black characterised the work of the French artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916) until the 1890s. 

The Bordeaux-born painter, draughtsman and printmaker had made a name for himself with his charcoal and ink drawings of scenes from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe and fantastical creatures such as smiling spiders and disembodied heads. 

It was not until Redon was in his 50s that he turned to colour for inspiration—a move that was to influence other major colourists, including Matisse, who collected Redon’s works. 

Redon’s late interest in polychromy is at the heart of the exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, and one of its stars happens to be a work once owned by Matisse: The Death of Buddha, around 1899. 

The brightly coloured pastel, which was bought by Matisse in 1900, is on loan from a private collection and has not been on public view in more than 90 years. 

The show explores the recurring themes in Redon’s work and his links to Modernism, featuring 80 paintings, pastels, drawings and lithographs from public and private collections in Europe and the US. 

“The exhibition follows the Beyeler’s tradition of mounting shows on important forerunners of Modern art,” says the show’s curator, Raphaël Bouvier. 

Although Redon is not represented in the Beyeler’s collection, Bouvier says that the exhibition allows the museum to present works that fell outside Hildy and Ernst Beyeler’s view of Modernism. 

The exhibition opens with rooms devoted to Redon’s dark charcoal drawings and lithographs; visitors will then be able to view works demonstrating his transition to colour—a change that Bouvier describes as “exceptional”. 

Difficult childhood These works are arranged thematically, with sections on subjects such as flowers, boats, mythology and the spiritual and sacred. 

Included in the “sacred” section is another depiction of Buddha from around 1905 from the Musée ­d’Orsay—a work that also rarely travels. 

The Parisian museum has also lent five large wall panels of flowers and fauna, which suggest early forms of abstract painting. 

Redon created the ambitious cycle for the home of his friend and patron Baron Robert de Domecy. So what led Redon to embrace colour with such gusto after spending so many years working only in black? Bouvier says there are many different theories; one is that after a difficult and lonely childhood he found love in 1880 when he married Camille Falte.