#WhileBlack
Race relations in America

John Akomfrah / Purple (still)

America has had its complicated history. From its early colonialist exchanges with the natives, through the history of slavery of Africans, the McCarthy era, the Cold War, diversity and segregation, racism and its love of arms, and now the rise of a new populism which seems to appeal to the base instincts of our humanity, or the lack thereof.

At once a great nation and an enigma of the highest order, America is a thing of extremes as seldom seen elsewhere, a contradiction unto itself, and a force to contend with.

100 years ago this month America saw what some consider one of the worst lynching incidents in its history: a mob killing 13 people, including Mary Turner and her unborn baby.

These past few weeks the movement of #WhileBlack has been on the rise on social media, on the coat tails of the #MeToo mobilization which was finally granted a small closure this week as the disgraced Harvey Weinstein was charged after dozens of victims had come forth speaking out against him.

As if the institutionalized violence against the black population were not enough, we have survived a swift succession of incidents these past few weeks where the police were summoned to intervene on individuals doing perfectly ordinary things: sitting on a porch, jogging in their neighborhood, driving a car, taking a nap in their dormitory lounge, doing mundane things, simply while black. Calling the police on these individuals must have required a fear and mistrust of others and a curious brand of courage which may clinically deserve a name. We commend the police on the many of these incidences where they found no wrong doing on the part of the suspects, who in reality were the actual victims of racial discrimination, or simply being human, while black.

From National Geographic’s launch of The Race Issue this year to the photo essay in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the exposé on Haitian Art following the U.S. President’s disparaging remarks on black majority nations, to James Baldwin’s collaboration with Richard Avedon in Nothing Personal recently reissued by Taschen, we continue the conversation on race relations. Today we survey some artists, in America and beyond, who have created, inspired, and engaged, while black.

 

Gordon Parks

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Julie Mehretu

John Akomfrah

Lorna Simpson

Camille Norment

James Baldwin & Richard Avedon / Nothing Personal

Lawrence Jacob / Studio Museum Harlem

Tyler Mitchell, Idyllic Space (still)
Museum Motus Mori
September 13 – October 27, 2019
Body parts are isolated, mechanically brought into motion, the hips tilted, the leg lifted, driven across the space where...
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Andrei Tarkovsky / The Exhibition
September 14 – December 6, 2019
The masterpieces of Andrei Tarkovsky weave together dreams and memories, past and present. The painterly beauty of his images...
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London Design Festival
September 14–22, 2019
The annual citywide event brings together a global community of designers, artists, architects and the creative industries with a...
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Visionary Color / Ernst Haas
September 6 – November 9 2019
Taken between 1952 and 1981, the photographs of Ernst Haas presented on display show an ambiguity bordering on the...
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Twilight Zone
September 7, 2019 – January 12, 2020
"It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between...
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Subjects of Life
Photography in the Mudam Collection
This selection encourages a reflection on the medium through questions of representation and the effects of the image on...
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ARTPIL / Prescription .100
Escape Into the Beautiful
"As imperceptibly as Grief the Summer lapsed away. Too imperceptible at last to seem like Perfidy. A Quietness distilled...
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The Art of Being Good
June 22 – September 1, 2019
Although tackling the ecological, social and economic components of crisis is normal in art, artworks and exhibitions rarely direct...
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Museum Motus Mori
September 13 – October 27, 2019
Body parts are isolated, mechanically brought into motion, the hips tilted, the leg lifted, driven across the space where...
+
Andrei Tarkovsky / The Exhibition
September 14 – December 6, 2019
The masterpieces of Andrei Tarkovsky weave together dreams and memories, past and present. The painterly beauty of his images...
+
London Design Festival
September 14–22, 2019
The annual citywide event brings together a global community of designers, artists, architects and the creative industries with a...
+
Visionary Color / Ernst Haas
September 6 – November 9 2019
Taken between 1952 and 1981, the photographs of Ernst Haas presented on display show an ambiguity bordering on the...
+
Twilight Zone
September 7, 2019 – January 12, 2020
"It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between...
+
Subjects of Life
Photography in the Mudam Collection
This selection encourages a reflection on the medium through questions of representation and the effects of the image on...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .100
Escape Into the Beautiful
"As imperceptibly as Grief the Summer lapsed away. Too imperceptible at last to seem like Perfidy. A Quietness distilled...
+
The Art of Being Good
June 22 – September 1, 2019
Although tackling the ecological, social and economic components of crisis is normal in art, artworks and exhibitions rarely direct...
+