Consider some sad facts of contemporary life in the United States. Violence has replaced communicable diseases as the leading cause of death among young people in the United States during the past generation. Young African-American men are about nine times as likely as European Americans to be victims of homicide. About nine out of ten of African-American victims are killed by other African-American youths. Moreover, the prison population of African-American youths has been mushrooming. Because of such statistics, social commentators have been concerned about “the vanishing African-American male.”
Voodoo traditions and New Orleans’ strongly Roman Catholic heritage go some way toward explaining the city’s bizarre emotional energy. New Orleanians, while they love earthly excesses-witness Mardi Gras-also lead exotic spiritual lives.
John Alexander: Grand Illusions by Jane Livingston John Alexander is a painter whose ambitions have always been heroic, all encompassing. He has consciously taken a stance in a tradition of paint that at first we identify as expressionist, but that reaches back before revolutionary artists of the early twentieth century, to the narrative and religious…
Seattle is a low-key, convivial town, but when the Robert Colescott retrospective opens at the Seattle Art Museum next week, it may put some acid in the placid rain. In Cincinnati, a woman marched into the museum before the show opened and vociferously declared the artist’s work to be insulting to blacks.
Robert Colescott is a black artist, born in Oakland, Calif., in 1925, who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in drawing and painting, went on to study with Fernand Leger in Paris (1949-50) and in the 1960’s spent two years in Cairo, first as artist in residence at the American Research Center and later on the faculty of the American University.
Armed with nothing but a camera, Deborah Luster gained access in 1998 to the East Carroll Parish Prison Farm in Transylvania and spent the next three and a half years taking pictures of inmates there and in two other Louisiana state prisons.
Photography can do powerful things. Deborah Luster, for example, tells a story of how one of her photographs reunited a family: A mother, who had spent 15 years in an Louisana prison without seeing her children, requested that Luster take her portrait — thinking that if she sent the image to her children, it might “soften their hearts.” It did. A few months later, when Luster followed up, four of the woman’s children had come to see her.
Time is frozen behind the gate, even as one slide follows another on the screen.
There’s Gumby and Cornbread. No, that’s not Cornbread; his nickname is Padu. He lives in the Main Prison now.
Deborah Luster: One Big Self by The Kitchen Sisters, npr “My mom… It’s hard to talk about your mom. She was very glamorous but she never put on any airs. There was no saditty with her. She was infected with that southern ancestor worship thing, all into the arts of dress and manners and home…
I can’t really say that there’s a unifying theme,” says New Orleans-born sculptor Ersy about the works in her first exhibit in more than six years, now at the Arthur Roger Gallery.