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Thursday, June 5, 2008

In/Visible is Up: Sandra Jackson-Dumont’s Black Art Show

posted by on June 5 at 16:52 PM

Laylah Ali’s Untitled (from the Greenhead series) (1999), gouache on paper, 10 by 11 1/4 inches

A few months ago, I wondered what Seattle Art Museum planned to do with its gallery devoted to artists of African descent. There was talk of residencies? Group shows?

The new group show, Black Art, is not only the first broadly themed effort in the small gallery, it’s also a self-reflexive exhibition about the function of the gallery itself. It asks, how useful is the term “black art”? What if blackness were looked at as broadly as possible?

The show is a harvesting of SAM’s permanent collection for “black art,” plus a handful of loans. The results are sometimes surprising.

Listen to Jackson-Dumont tell it by clicking here.

Here are more of the images in the show:

Randy Hayes’s Victor/Victim (1982), pastel on paper, 83 1/4 by 50 7/8 inches

Halford Lembke’s Crouching Negress (1932), wood, 6 3/8 by 3 1/16 by 2 7/8 inches

Max Beckmann’s Jahrmarkt (Annual Fair): Der Neger (The Negro) (1921), drypoint, 29 by 26 cm

Mark Tobey’s Broadway Girl, Head (1957), sumi ink on paper, 23 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches

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Great. I love Laylah Ali's stuff!

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2008 5:11 PM

Finally, a chance for me to appreciate your perspective argument. W7ngman and I went to SAM last Saturday, and saw this exhibit, and Victor/Victim is considerably more impressive in person. It's huge, and the pastels give it a vibrancy that is not conveyed at all in jpeg. The figures are also cut-out, not against a white backdrop, so they're more in-your face. It was my favorite piece in the room.

Posted by Aislinn | June 5, 2008 5:52 PM

Aislinn: EXACTLY! It makes me crazy. You are a good woman.

Posted by Jen Graves | June 6, 2008 8:36 AM

i commented on this the other day when you blogged the kara walker piece in the show.

can the art stand alone without its artist's identity, be it african american, lesbian, etc.? no? then it's not great art.

my intense boredom with jacob lawrence aside, many of the pieces in that gallery can. creating a segregated "black art" ghetto is offensive.

and what museum in its right mind puts DeKooning's "Pink Woman" in storage? are you fucking insane, SAM curators?

Posted by max solomon | June 6, 2008 9:39 AM

max solomon:

If you want to get worked up over something not being out, de Kooning's fairly good woman painting is not the one: Gorky's amazing mother's apron painting is the one.

But on the subject of "Black Art." I assume you're taking offense not at the temporary exhibition called "Black Art" but the whole idea of having a gallery that hosts the work of artists of African descent? Because I just want to be sure you understand that this thing is a temporary exhibition.

Carry on.

Posted by Jen Graves | June 6, 2008 12:09 PM

Well, that first one is awful. The rest are interesting.

Posted by MR. Language Person | June 6, 2008 1:01 PM

AIEE! Pointy negress titties! NSFW! NSFW!

Posted by CP | June 6, 2008 9:15 PM

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