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Review: tête-à-tête at Yancey Richardson Gallery

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, January 3, 2014

Curated by Mickalene Thomas

through August 24, 2012

[[3]]This group exhibition features the work African and African American photographers including Derrick Adams, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jayson Keeling, Deana Lawson, Zanele Muholi, Clifford Owens, Mahlot Sansosa, Malick Sidibe, Xaviera Simmons, Mickalene Thomas, and Hank Willis Thomas. Curated by Mickalene Thomas, the exhibition grew from a discussion between Derrick Adams, Clifford Owens, and Xaviera Simmons earlier this year at MOMA. The "Conversation: Among friends" inspired Thomas to gather work that asks us to consider the conceptual idea of the black body and what that means in todayʼs society.

With an inclusive show like this it is to the curators credit that the work runs the gamut- sensual to firm, stark to expansive, humorous, frank, delicate, strong. Thomas took particular interest in the performative role of the gaze- for males it is in relation to the viewer, for females the self or through the gaze of another, often male, figure. Owens inverts the western male gaze creating a "black male on male gaze," and Owen's work is more subtle, quietly watching through shadow. Muholi depicts black lesbians living in South Africa- these are of particular weight and beauty, and become a celebration of the women's lives. Personal ties are drawn in the frames of Lawson. We see lines of relation and the cycle it perpetuates. Thomas's polaroids are a view into the artist's process. A tase of the final work these images give insight, but make us hungry for more.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit Yancey Richardson Gallery

New Yorker Review

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