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The Black Index

The Black Index


The artists featured in The Black IndexDennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas—build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. Using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to transform the recorded image, these artists question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding. Their works offer an alternative practice—a Black index—that still serves as a finding aid for information about Black subjects, but also challenges viewers’ desire for classification. A catalogue is available.

The works in The Black Index make viewers aware of their own expectations of Black figuration by interrupting traditional epistemologies of portraiture through unexpected and unconventional depictions. These works image the Black body through a conceptual lens that acknowledges the legacy of Black containment that is always present in viewing strategies. The approaches used by Delgado, Henry, Hinkle, Kaphar, Lovell, and Thomas suggest understandings of Blackness and the racial terms of our neo-liberal condition that counter legal and popular interpretations and, in turn, offer a paradigmatic shift within Black visual culture.

This exhibition is dedicated to David C. Driskell.

University Art Galleries at University of California, Irvine — CAC Gallery

Online Only; Jan 14, 2021 to Mar 20, 2021.

Palo Alto Art Center; May 01, 2021 to Aug 22, 2021.

Art Galleries at Black Studies — University of Texas at Austin; Fall 2021.

Hunter College Art Galleries — Leubsdorf Gallery; Jan 27, 2022 to April 3, 2022.

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