Employing Voice, Embracing Agency: Celebrating Contemporary African-American Artists
Employing Voice, Embracing Agency is an exhibition honoring African American History Month. This exhibition is significantly comprised of influential contemporary African American artists from the collection of Darrell Walker. Mr. Walker [1969— ] is a former University of Arkansas basketball player and former NBA player for such teams as the Chicago Bulls. His collection contains many of the most important and influential present-day African American artists to-date. Moreover, Walker is bravely committed in expanding his catalogue with noted cutting-edge artists who address conceptions of history, culture, and identity in previously unforeseen lights laden with diversity. With each acquisition Walker is attracted to the manners in which the artist challenges the viewer in a recontextualized society. This pronounced collection is extensive and ranges from: the photographic imagery of Wardell Milan; the sculptural paintings of Radcliffe Bailey; and the powerful photographic imagery of Xaviera Simmons, among others. These holdings reference Walker’s cultural heritage and clearly illustrate his dedication to its preservation and further topical explorations. Moreover, Mr. Walker became an influential mentor to many, providing inspiration for the development of many other prominent collectors such as that of Elliot Perry. Additional loans included in the exhibition are works by Radcliffe Bailey, Michael Ray Charles, Willie Cole, and a video by renowned artist Kara Walker.
February will present a month of dynamic, interdisciplinary programming orchestrated for the university and the community-at-large. The African and African American Studies Department have been invited to collaborate in this programming as well as the Multicultural and Diversity Center— aligning the academic outcomes of our respective departments— Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, the Dean of Graduate Studies and founding Director of the Center of Race and Culture at Maryland Institute College of Art, will lecture on Thursday, February 7 at 6:00pm. Dr. Hammond has garnered such awards as Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Studio Museum among many others and has curated numerous exhibitions including The Global Africa Project at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City which explored the impact of African visual culture on contemporary art, craft and design around the world.
Kara Walker, till from 8 Possible Beginnings or: The Creation of African-America, Moving picture. Variable dimensions. Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co, NYC
Xaviera Simmons, High Season Brown, 2004. Courtesy of David Castillo Gallery, Miami
Willie Cole, Silex Male: Ritual, Digital print on Epson 9600 using Ultra Chrome Archival Inks, edition of 12, 2004