Black Light

March 16 - May 14, 2018

Curated by CCA's Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2017: Megan Franz, Magdalena J. Härtelova Barret Lybbert, Qianjin Montoya, Amanda Nudelman

Black Light converts the gallery space into a forum for conversation and exchange, taking form as a series of events that address the relationship between cultural institutions and black artists. Presented in a purpose-built amphitheater, invited participants draw on their experiences as artists, art historians, and founders of institutions. Lectures, screenings and workshops are introduced and moderated by the graduating students of the CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice. 

Key participants in these events included: Karon Davis (The Underground Museum, Los Angeles), Dale Brockman Davis (Brockman Gallery, Los Angeles), Duane Deterville (art historian and author, Oakland), Jacqueline Francis (art historian, San Francisco), Robyn Hillman-Harrigan (Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, New York), Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Chief of Program and Pedagogy at YBCA, San Francisco), and Rasheedah Phillips (Community Futures Lab, Philadelphia).

 
 Black Light, 2017; installation view, showing work by Rodney McMillian, Wattis Institute. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Black Light, 2017; installation view, showing work by Rodney McMillian, Wattis Institute. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

 

Black Light converts the gallery space into a forum for conversation and exchange, taking form as a series of events that address the relationship between cultural institutions and black artists. Presented in a purpose-built amphitheater, invited participants draw on their experiences as artists, art historians, and founders of institutions. Lectures, screenings and workshops are introduced and moderated by the graduating students of the CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice. Key participants in these events include:

Karon Davis (The Underground Museum, Los Angeles), Dale Brockman Davis (Brockman Gallery, Los Angeles), Duane Deterville (art historian and author, Oakland), Jacqueline Francis (art historian, San Francisco), Robyn Hillman-Harrigan (Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, New York),Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Chief of Program and Pedagogy at YBCA, San Francisco), and Rasheedah Phillips (Community Futures Lab, Philadelphia).

The project draws its title from a series of paintings created by the artist Faith Ringgold during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s (Black Light, 1967–71). Informed by Ringgold’s legacy as well as the current political climate,Black Light poses questions about how to re-conceptualize cultural representation, engagement, and critique: What spaces for agency are available to black artists today, and by what means have they produced spaces for themselves? What models does history offer artists working now? What role do institutions play? How do communities make themselves visible? Can artists dream the sociopolitical landscape differently, and what forms does this dreaming take?

The events are anchored by a single, large-scale abstract painting, red dust between (2017), by the Los Angeles-based artist Rodney McMillian. Painted on a discarded bed sheet, the work imagines contemporary society—and especially the conditions of black life in America today—as a disorienting and dark fairytale. At the same time, the painting offers glimmers of hope not only in its evocation of sleep, dreaming, and transcendence, but also in its suggestion of the redemptive possibilities of reclaiming and repurposing abandoned materials.

An accompanying publication gathers new interviews with Dale Brockman Davis, Karon Davis, Rasheedah Phillips, and a conversation between representatives of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter. The publication also features commissioned artwork by Robyn Hillman-Harrigan of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter in the form of annotated texts and images.

This exhibition is dedicated to Leigh Markopoulos, who continues to guide us.

 

Press: KQED