Great intro to Black American Art
We think of the Western canon of art-the Mona Lisa, Nighthawks, Grant Wood, but in the US there has been Black American art work for 250 years. In 1976, David Driskell curated Two Hundred Years of Black American Art at LACMA and this is the starting point for this documentary that moves through a few of the artists from that show, to the current superstars in the Black Art world. With so few Black artists in museums (< 2% from the film), it is an amazing renaissance for everyone when portrait artists like Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald drive increased volume at the National Portrait Gallery. Other museums are also mentioned-the High Museum in Atlanta, the Brooklyn Art Museum, and the Whitney among others. The art covered is not just painting, but clay and and silhouettes and even evocative carvings out of sugar. The team and the stories are so rich that Jean-Michel Basquiat (of the $110M+ sale in 2017) is only touched upon. About 10 artists are interviewed and with the help of a couple of curators, collectors, biographers, and professors, we get to know the context for their work beyond just a canvas or an object. I made the mistake of watching it with captions on, but that obscured several views of the art work, so just turn up the volume and let your eyes feast on the meal set before you. I walked away with a deeper understanding of the messages from these Black artists.
- Feb 27, 2021
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