Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980Exhibition By Jason Bogdaneris
There may be nothing new under the sun, but there always seems to be novel discoveries under the gallery lights. PS 1's long overdue retrospective of West Coast African-American artists is an eye-opener. The work of over thirty artists isn't smoothly cohesive -- or is it meant to be -- but if it's bound by anything it's the grammar of the outsider looking in -- or inward. There's also a sense of palpable excitement at having to create a new language to express one's inarticulated place in the larger culture. Mauren Hasinger's A Place for Nature -- a steel rope installation makes a case for transforming un-pliable material into beautiful forms. Elsewhere the reaction to being ignored as a force for anything but violence and despair in the aftermath of the Watts Riots, is the post-minimalism of David Hammons' America the Beautiful and the masterfully realized dark joke 3 Spades. Charles White's Harriet Mississippi is a kind of proto-graphic novel depiction of an alternate version of history. Much of the artists/activists' initial inspiration was jailed UCLA professor Angela Davis, a recurrent Afro-Madonna figure that looms over much of the work. The range of media and tones is striking. John T. Riddle's metal sculptures of maimed manhood shout their intent, while Dale Brickman's compact work Swept transforms a broom into a powerful instrument of towering metaphorical significance. John Outerbridge and Noah Purifoy use assemblage like silent dynamite, creating Invisible Man installations for a Vietnam War-era America. These pieces have been hidden away too long.
Books List By Damian Van Denburgh
The vivid array of books and authors on this list… >>
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