Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kehinde Wiley at Deitch, Emory Douglas at The New Museum
The poster matches one from the family archive I gave to MoMA.

Players vs Slackers again. That is, slacker culture as represented by the culture of and around The New Museum and Deitch and players by the black representation of blackness in relation to that. Also popular and commercial culture in relation to self-styled serious culture and entertainment in relation to art, and LA/Miami in relation to New York, or at least Manhattan. From there it gets much more complex and the allegiances twisted since the slackers and the Panthers are defined by a modernist sense of sincerity and seriousness. But the slackers have all the indulgence but none of the risk. They got no skin in the game. Modernism as hope vs Modernism as nostalgia, the latter not even as memory.

What makes Wiley's photographs interesting is the performance of the men. In the one picture where his sensibility is unaccompanied, a reclining nude facing away, all that's left is reference and pretension. In the works face forward it's the faces and then the figures that hold the page, as some actors hold the screen.
Both Wiley and Douglas are overpowered by their collaborators, Wiley perhaps against his plan, but all are overshadowed by something else.

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