Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays from

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fisk Art News from CultureGrrl

In its 2007 petition seeking court permission to sell a half-share of its Stieglitz Collection to Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum, Fisk University gave the following (now outdated) justification for the proposed transaction:

If Fisk's current financial condition doesn't improve, there is a high likelihood that it may lose its accreditation. Fisk is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which will review the University's accreditation status in 2009. In its current condition, Fisk will fail to satisfy the criteria established by SACS to establish financial viability.
The petition goes on to enumerate all the dire misfortunes that would hobble or destroy Fisk if accreditation were lost, including the likelihood of being "forced to declare bankruptcy, and/or dramatically scale back or cease operations." The university asserted that it needed to accept Walton's $30-million offer to convince SACS of its financial viability.

That was 2007. Now, this just in from Fisk:

Ligon @ the White House and in LA

Compared to the conservative choices of previous administrations, the art that the Obamas selected for the walls of the White House living quarters was mostly contemporary art by mostly living artists. Among them was New York-based Glenn Ligon, who, at 49, was the youngest artist to have his work chosen.

The news took a while to reach Ligon.

"No one called me so when I heard about it, I thought it might be a rumor," he said Wednesday, as he helped install his work for a show at Regen Projects in West Hollywood that opens Saturday. "Then I saw my work in a list of images in Smithsonian Magazine."

The 49-year-old Conceptual painter considers it an honor, and, he says, "I'm glad to think it is in the living quarters, to be where they sleep, eat dinner, where they will be able to see it. That part, I was thrilled about."

Ligon, who is African American, is known for texts stenciled in paint on canvas. The text in the 1992 painting selected by the Obamas is from John Howard Griffin's 1961 memoir "Black Like Me," the account of a white man's experiences traveling through the South after he had his skin artificially darkened.

The words "All traces of the Griffin I had been were wiped from existence" are repeated in capital letters that progressively overlap until they coalesce as a field of black paint. The picture belongs to the Hirshhorn Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution, which loans art to the White House.

Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, N.Y., has organized many exhibitions that have included Ligon's art.

"I think Glenn Ligon is one of the most important artists working today," she said. "In his work, I am constantly amazed and inspired by his ability to operate on the level of deep thought and real feeling."

Ligon, who will have a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2011, is exhibiting his most recent art at Regen on the occasion of the gallery's 20th anniversary.
Read the Rest of the Story Here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What do you Think?

Can the black family catch a break in the movies? That's what many African-Americans in the Twin Cities and elsewhere are asking in the wake of two recent films: the critically acclaimed "Precious" and "The Blind Side," a No. 1 box-office hit that has grossed nearly $130 million since its Nov. 20 release.

• In "Precious," based on Sapphire's wrenching novel "Push," an obese, illiterate black teenager is pregnant again by her father while her also-abusive welfare-recipient mother scorns her for stealing her man.

• In "The Blind Side," which stars Sandra Bullock, an illiterate, homeless black teen is taken in by a kind white family. Under their care, he blossoms into a football star.

"I'm not saying that these things don't happen and that they are not good movies," said Brenda Anderson, 59, a law firm manager in Minneapolis. "It's just that at a time when the Obamas are in the White House, it seems like there's nothing [on screen] to reflect our proud reality. Instead, we have stories that show the black family as a total failure."

Read the rest of the story here.