Friday, June 20, 2008

She's So Articulate - Opens in Arlington, VA

If you are in the Arlington, Virginia area, do check out "She's So Articulate," and exhibit at the Arlington Arts Center featuring 11 contemporary African American women artists: Maya Asante, Renee Cox, Stephanie Dinkins, Djakarta, Nekisha Durrett, Torkwase Dyson, Faith Ringgold, Erika Ranee, Nadine Robinson, Renee Stout, and Lauren Woods. (If you click on the underlined names, you can see the sistah artists' artwork. Maya seems to incorporate fabrics in her work.).

Henry Thaggert curates this show. According to the Arlington Arts Center website, "Local collector and curator Henry Thaggert drew his inspiration for assembling these artists in part from the furor surrounding African-American artist Kara Walker—a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant winner who recently had a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art."

Today's Washington Post newspaper includes an extensive article about the "She's So Articulate" show. I look forward to seeing the exhibit!


Anonymous said...

This is Kara Walker's time. Renee Cox enjoyed the same controversial success, during the 80's and 90's in New York. Why do we keep worrying about the gaze of the white art world?

What negative stereotypes is Kara perpetuating? What happened during slavery is true. I think folks are more upset with Kara's success.

Kara doesn't own the narrative, it was already there. This is a generational problem. Older Black women artists need to get all this out of our system and make whites as uncomfortable as possible, so we can own and claim our bodies and sexuality. Bettye Saar has claimed success, in a medium (fiber), that really wasn't gazed upon until recently. Hey, there's room for all our different views, isn't there?

And what is the writer of the WashPost's issue with Cox's buff bodies? She's missing the point. There is no martyrdom in our so called modesty. Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben are being rescued from their stereotype trap––and hey, I identify with superwoman. If I scare whites anyway, just because of my existence, why not be buff and give them a REAL reason to be scared.

Art is supposed to make folks question. We need to deal. If one of us becomes successful holding a mirror up at the white populace, then hey––there was a time when we couldn't be negative at all, except to each other; how 'bout ending THAT stereotype?

Kyra said...


Thanks for your comments! Funny, I am supportive of Kara Walker's success, but am not crazy about many of her images. I haven't read her writings to see if she is purposely trying to make white folks upset - or just provoke everyone. (One can see images of her work at:

What I do like is the silhouette style - even have a couple books here on how to create silhouettes.

As an artist, or maybe it's the time spend stitching a quilt... I just don't want to spend that much concentrated time on such negative and distrubing images that Kara has been known to create. That's not how I'd like to focus my energy - to have as a lasting artistic contribution for my family and those who see my quilts. I'd like my own artistic efforts to be memorable and thought-provoking in other ways.

I'm seeing the "She's So Articulate" exhibit later this morning! Best, Kyra