Brother Hammons, an elder, 2018

My heart goes out to George Floyd and his family for the horrific crime in which he lost his life that took place on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s been a lot to take in as the media shifted from Covid-19 related news to racial inequality and police brutality/reform. I don’t have an in-depth response to the situation now, but everything that’s going on reminded me of some words spoken by Kerry James Marshall, which I posted on Instagram. As many friends and colleagues have seen a heightened interest in their work from publications and museums, I still can’t abandon the position of carefully considering one’s own stake in the art world such as David Hammons, especially with stories from the last few months and year’s where black artist have been suing galleries and collectors about their works: 1, 2345 .

I think artist Nina Chanel Abney had a fantastic response to the recent spike in interest of work here.

Antwaun Sarget and Legacy Russell also added a much-needed perspective on the situation, especially concerning the art world, holding museums accountable and advice on the struggle of sustaining an art practice without having generational wealth.

Pissed Off performance by David Hammons

Titus Kaphar’s Time Magazine Cover: “I cannot sell you this painting….”

I grew up in a small missionary Baptist church in Marion, Arkansas, and one phrase I remember always hearing is “watch and pray.” As artists in this hour, we have to remain vigilant and watchful as things unfold and take notes from our elders on how to move and navigate these uncertain waters. Though there are interests in what black artists are producing, we should respond with directed demands in exchange and as always “question everything.” 

I always return to music in almost every situation, so here is a video of the artist Noname and her NPR Tiny Desk concert. I’ve been watching this over and over, particularly starting at the 11:24 mark, and it’s the song “Yesterday,” which has the same feeling of a gospel song. 

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