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CDP Highlights

The CAA Committee on Diversity Practices highlights exhibitions, events, and activities that support the development of global perspectives on art and visual culture and deepen our appreciation of political and cultural heterogeneity as educational and professional values. Current highlights are listed below; browse past highlights through links at the bottom of this page.

May/June 2015

Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience
Museum of Contemporary Art
Los Angeles, California
March 20, 2015–August 16, 2015

Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience is MOCA’s presentation of Kahlil Joseph’s m.A.A.d, a double screen projection that is a lush portrait of contemporary Los Angeles. The camera sinuously glides through predominantly African American neighborhoods, pausing to capture quotidian moments—driving in a car, a marching band, the barbershop—that are suffused with creativity, joy, and sadness. The split screen divides the viewer’s attention, and alludes to the history of auteur cinema—a form of filmmaking pioneered by French director Jean Luc Godard—which sacrificed linear narrative for experimentation with the formal and political possibilities of filmmaking. m.A.A.d extends this tradition of formal experimentation by crossing the wires of music videos, amateur film footage, and moments of magical realism. The two-part projection may also slyly evoke philosopher W.E.B. Dubois’s early twentieth century concept of “double consciousness,” a psychological description of Black life in America. The film’s verbally dense and thick booming soundtrack, provided by hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, adds yet another layer to this prismatic account of contemporary life in Los Angeles.” (http://www.moca.org/museum/exhibitiondetail.php?&id=503)

More information: http://www.moca.org

UNDER THE MEXICAN SKY: Gabriel Figueroa—Art and Film
Museo El Barrio
New York, New York
March 4, 2015–June 27, 2015

“From the early 1930s through the early 1980s, the Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907–1997) helped forge an evocative and enduring image of Mexico. Among the most important cinematographers of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, Figueroa worked with leading directors from Mexico, the United States and Europe, traversing a wide range of genres while maintaining his distinctive and vivid visual style.

In the 1930s, Figueroa was part of a vibrant community of artists in many media, including Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Edward Weston and Manuel Alvarez Bravo, who sought to convey the country’s transformation following the trauma of the Mexican Revolution. Later, he adapted his approach to the very different sensibilities of directors Luis Buñuel and John Huston, among others. Figueroa spoke of creating una imágen mexicana, a Mexican image. His films are an essential part of the network of appropriations, exchanges and reinterpretations that formed Mexican visual identity and visual culture in the mid-twentieth century and beyond.

The exhibition features film clips, paintings by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Manuel Rodriguez Lozano and José Chavez Morado, photographs, prints, posters and documents, many of which are drawn from Figueroa’s archive, the Televisa Foundation collection, the collections of the Museo de la Estampa and the Museo Nacional in Mexico. In addition, the exhibition includes work by other artists and filmmakers from the period such as Luis Buñuel, Sergei Eisenstein, Edward Weston, and Tina Modotti that draw from the vast inventory of distinctly Mexican imagery associated with Figueroa’s cinematography or were heavily influenced by his vision.” (http://www.elmuseo.org/under-the-mexican-sky/)

More information: http://www.elmuseo.org

Imagining New Worlds: Wilfredo Lam, Jose Parla, Fahamu Pecou
High Museum of Art
Atlanta, Georgia
February 14, 2015–May 24, 2015

“Imagining New Worlds traces the lengthy career of Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), perhaps best remembered as a member of the Surrealist group in the 1940s. Born in Cuba to a Chinese father and mother of African and Spanish descent, Lam gave expression to his multiracial and cultural ancestry through a signature hybrid style of painting that blended Surrealism, magical realism, modernism, and postmodernism. The exhibition begins with the academic work made while studying painting in Madrid, and includes the fantastical mid-century canvases that incorporate figures from the syncretic religion Santéria. His work is informed by a cross-cultural fusion of influences such as Afro-Cuban symbolism and Negritude, a movement that rejected the French colonial framing of African identity.” (http://www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Imagining-New-Worlds.aspx)

More information: http://www.high.org

Kehinde Wiley:  A New Republic
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn, New York
February 20, 2015–May 24, 2015

“The works presented in Kehinde Wiley: A New Republicraise questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist’s prolific fourteen-year career and features sixty paintings and sculptures.
Wiley’s signature portraits of everyday men and women riff on specific paintings by Old Masters, replacing the European aristocrats depicted in those paintings with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives. The subjects in Wiley’s paintings often wear sneakers, hoodies, and baseball caps, gear associated with hip-hop culture, and are set against contrasting ornate decorative backgrounds that evoke earlier eras and a range of cultures. Through the process of “street casting,” Wiley invites individuals, often strangers he encounters on the street, to sit for portraits. In this collaborative process, the model chooses a reproduction of a painting from a book and reenacts the pose of the painting’s figure. By inviting the subjects to select a work of art, Wiley gives them a measure of control over the way they’re portrayed. The exhibition includes a selection of Wiley’s World Stagepaintings, begun in 2006, in which he takes his street casting process to other countries, widening the scope of his collaboration. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic is organized by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum. A fully illustrated catalogue published by the Brooklyn Museum and DelMonico Books • Prestel accompanies the exhibition.” (http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/kehinde_wiley_new_republic/)

More information: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/home.php

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit
Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit, Michigan
March 15, 2015–July 12, 2015

“Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were an explosive couple. He carried a pistol. She carried a flask. He romanticized Detroit. She rejected it. But what they shared was a belief in communism, a thirst for tequila and a passion for each other. Discover how they left their mark on Detroit. And how Detroit left its mark on their art. Exclusively on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit brings together nearly 70 works of art that depict the evolution of these two extraordinary artists’ careers, including eight of Rivera’s epic preparatory drawings for the Detroit Industry murals and 23 pieces by Kahlo, whose work has never before been shown at the DIA.” (http://www.dia.org/calendar/event.aspx?id=4608&iid=)

More information: http://www.dia.org

Filed under: CDP Highlights