Last Call! Signifying Form at the Landing Gallery

To signify means, “to make a sign or signal”.  In a NYT book review penned by professor John Wideman in 1988, the writer explains how the practice of “signifying” assumes a more nuanced connotation within the black community. “In black vernacular, Signifying is a sign that words cannot be trusted, that even the most literal utterance … Continue reading Last Call! Signifying Form at the Landing Gallery

New Definitions (and Questions) of Power Emerge in a Show Featuring Black Women Artists

For 3 years I have dedicated the month of February to daily posts that celebrate black artists. It was a personal writing challenge as much as it was an artistic one because I wanted to expand my knowledge of black contemporary artists that were underrepresented in traditional arts publications.  The artists I featured have greatly influenced the work that … Continue reading New Definitions (and Questions) of Power Emerge in a Show Featuring Black Women Artists

Artist a Day Challenge (3) Elizabeth Catlett

I hear Shakespeare’s “what’s past is prologue” on a regular basis these days.  When we study history with the unique privledge of time and ideological distance, it’s too easy to criticize what we once considered unfathomable. The atrocities of the past would not dare repeat themselves in the present, because the scars and the pain remain fresh–they never … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge (3) Elizabeth Catlett

Artist a Day Challenge (2) Samella Lewis

In 1920’s New Orleans a young Samella Lewis first picked up a paint brush and through it she found her voice in an environment that didn’t encourage speaking one’s mind. “It might get me in trouble”, Lewis explains in a 2006 interview, “and so I had to find a way to express my feelings.” What originally began as a private expression, Samella … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge (2) Samella Lewis

Artist a Day Challenge 2016-20-21: Kadir Nelson & His Tribute to the Schomburg Center

The latest cover of the New Yorker features the work of artist/illustrator Kadir Nelson who pays homage to the artists, writers, performers and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance.  This piece also celebrates the Schomburg Research Center in Harlem. The Schomburg is a branch of the New York Public Library that is dedicated to the documentation, preservation … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge 2016-20-21: Kadir Nelson & His Tribute to the Schomburg Center

Artist a Day Challenge No. 15: Samella Sanders Lewis

Artist and historian Samella Sanders Lewis does not shy away from confrontation.  As a child she found her voice through artistic expression and she was staunchly protective of her voice, fighting any force that tried to intimidate her into silence. Her career, particularly her art history education in the 1940’s was fraught with hostility and confrontation, but … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge No. 15: Samella Sanders Lewis

Artist a Day Challenge No.4: Elizabeth Catlett

In November I saw “Sharecropper” by Elizabeth Catlett at LACMA.  I loved the depiction of the duality of strength and despair shown as byproducts of exploitation in this piece.  As a graphic designer and sculptor in the 30’s and 40’s, much of Catlett’s art highlighted African-American and Mexican women as caretakers, patriarchs, workers and nurturers; her work was used as a platform … Continue reading Artist a Day Challenge No.4: Elizabeth Catlett