Last week I read about William Pope L.'s national spring performance tour, The Black Factory, on Art Fag City. I'm not sure what this is or what they do, but I hope they will consider a stop in Richmond.
THE POPULATION OF RICHMOND IS ALMOST 60% BLACK, but where are the black artists?
- at the crowded opening reception of the current Anderson Gallery exhibitions the only black person I saw was also the only uniformed person I saw - the guy pouring the wine.
- did you see Clarke Bustard's short February 15th round-up of the February black shows? Did it make you feel queasy too?
- the only black staff or faculty I can recall meeting in three years of visiting VCU's Fine Arts Building have been uniformed security and custodial staff, and one departmental secretary. As far as I know, none of the four departments in that building had a single recent black faculty member, adjunct or otherwise, until this school year's hiring of Sanford Biggers in the Sculpture Department and Sonya Clark as head(!) of the Crafts Department. Okay, so that now makes two black faculty members out of about fifty-four total.
- also can't think of a single black graduate student in the 2004, 2005, or 2006 graduating classes, of any of those departments. Were there any? Are there any amongst the current group of first-year grad students, the class of 2007?
The painting department is the department I am most familiar with and I'm pretty sure that for the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 classes there are no black students at all, out of a total of maybe thirty-two kids. Somebody please tell me I am mistaken.
Something is very wrong here, or maybe not just here but everywhere. How many black painters have been featured on PainterNYC? Laylah Ali is the only one that I know of, and does she even live in NYC? I'm NOT trying to pick on VCU and definitely not the excellent PainterNYC with this post, but Edna's righteous anger at gender disparity has got me wondering about who is really really really missing.
These are probably the only local black artists that have been featured on this blog - this anonymous artist and Hylah Wright, neither in gallery shows and I don't even know for sure if either one of them is black. If they aren't black then there have been probably ZERO local black artists looked at in almost eighteen months of doing this blog, in a city that is almost 60% black.
What is going on? How fucked up are we?
Emma Amos - "I think it's a political statement for an artist, for a black artist, to walk into the studio, because basically, nobody gives a damn."