Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do you think?

What do you think about this recent letter to the Chicago Tribune? It reminds me of conversations that I'm constantly having with Black artists and performers about developing audiences of color and how we are often lacking in coverage of the arts. Hmmm . . . What do you think?

Art coverage complaint
April 28, 2009
Art coverage complaintWhen I saw the cover of the April 19 Chicago Tribune Magazine, I was happy to see it was titled "Art in Chicago." My eyes and ears are always tuned to buzz about my fellow creative travelers. Being an African-American artist, in a city where black folks comprise a third of the population, I assumed there would be at least token mention of the vibrant scene of black artists, galleries and collectors. But after browsing the pages for some visual evidence of our existence, I started again, more carefully, looking for at least some typed reference to that fact. After going back a few more times, I reluctantly concluded the Trib had managed to do something I thought impossible in the year 2009 in the city of Michelle and Barack. Its staffers had written a whole magazine titled "Art in Chicago" without a single image of or by a black artist. In fact, even the ads, which can usually be counted on for some token of diversity, were curiously for this issue "uncolored" (if you know what I mean). (To be totally accurate, there was, in a listing of shows, the name of Richard Hunt, the internationally known sculptor "of color." But there was no clue for the uninitiated that he was black, if only in hue.)
-- Lowell Thompson, Chicago


Lowell said...

I just ran across your blog while Googling myself (don't try that at home). Anyway, thanks for picking up on my letter in the Trib. And for doing such a great job on your blog in general. I have a few blogs of my own, but I'm embarrassed by mine compared to yours. (But I do warn folks upfront by calling it a "slog" not a blog).
Stay strong. It won't be long.
Lowell Thompson

JHM said...

Thanks for the comment. I totally agree with the letter. Sometimes you look around and it's like we're in an alternate reality, one in which we just don't exist.