Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
The New Museum, New York City
At 6pm there was a line coming out of The New Museum that went down Bowery and Stanton nearly meeting Chrystie. We were here to see the one-night pop-up event Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter (BWAforBLM). As part of her residency, artist Simone Leigh invited BWAforBLM, a collective she organized this past July, for an evening of solidarity.
We were all in line waiting to see Black women artists. We were essentially waiting for them.
Through September 18th, Leigh is exhibiting The Waiting Room, a statement and response to what institutions do to the female Black body. She honors Esmin Elizabeth Green who died after lingering for 24 hours in a hospital waiting room.
“Obedience is one of the main threats to black women’s health; it was a survival mechanism that Green waited 24 hours before collapsing,” says Leigh. “What happened to Green is an example of the lack of empathy people have towards the pain of black women.”
For her exhibit, Leigh centralizes the care of the body, and asserts disobedience as a form of self-determination. There are stations for healing and time for healers.
Waiting or not waiting is a form of privilege choosing. I saw the waiting of us, the diverse formation of folks standing in line, as a kind of belated honor to Black women artists. As I stood with friends, young people of color who work in museums, there was a patience in the statement our collective waiting body said to institutions of art that evening, We value Black women, the bodies and spaces they inhabit, and the art they create. Give them your time, space, and attention. Continue reading
Poets Morgan Parker, Angel Nafis, and Danez Smith are on tour in Paris this month!
Roxane Gay on the murder of Alton Sterling and America’s continued racist violence: “It’s overwhelming to see what we are up against, to live in a world where too many people have their fingers on the triggers of guns aimed directly at black people. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to allow myself to feel grief and outrage while also thinking about change. I don’t know how to believe change is possible when there is so much evidence to the contrary. I don’t know how to feel that my life matters when there is so much evidence to the contrary.”
If you live in Brooklyn/NYC or thereabouts, you are in the for a treat tomorrow! Popsickle 2016 features readings by Naomi Jackson, Wo Chan, our own WS editor Marisa Crawford, Joey De Jesus, Jami Attenberg and many more.
For those of you on the West Coast (Los Angeles, specifically), This Will Hurt Me More Than You opens at Last Projects tomorrow, feat. work by Ciriza, Michael Dee, and Cynthia Herrera; tomorrow night’s opening features a (not to be missed) a performance by Ciriza.
Alice Bag is interviewed at Bitch about her new solo album, how teaching informs her work, and more: “But when I go out on book tours and speak to students, it feels like I’m teaching again. It’s wonderful to get into discussions with college students who’ve read my book. As artists, we sometimes have opportunities to spark discussions about the changes we’d like to see. I’ve been able to do that through my music and touring, so in a way, I guess I’m still teaching, I’m just not in a classroom anymore.” Continue reading
“Sexist attitudes and simple lust may fuel some men’s desire to become a sexual predator, but impunity allows them to act on that desire. If the goal is for women to be able to operate in the music industry (or anywhere) free of harassment, assaults, discrimination, and predation, removing that impunity would seem like a good place to start. And that might—might—be what’s happening right now.”–From “Breaking the Silence in the Music Industry”
Claire Vaye Watkins wrote a powerful meditation on pandering, privilege, and the patriarchy for Tin House: “If you like my book I’m grateful. But I remind you that people at the periphery will travel to accept and even love things not made for or toward them: we have been trained to do so our entire lives. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of their readerly response, only to confess to what went on in my mind when I made the book, to assemble an honest inventory of people I have not been writing toward (though I thought I was): women, young women, people of color, the rural poor, the American West, my dead mother.”
“African-Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendants of alien abductees…Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of 20th century technoculture — and, more generally, African-American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future — might, for want of a better term, be called Afrofuturism.” – Mark Dery, “Black to the Future: Afro-Futurism 1.0”
Still from Frances Bodomo’s “Afronauts”
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. What will I do, who will I be, how will I love, will everything be okay. I’ve been thinking about the planet and how it is not doing very well. I am thinking about marches and earthquakes and The Book of Revelation. I am thinking a lot about death. I am starting to understand I’m not welcome. In my ear I hear Sun Ra whisper “space is the place.” In my other ear I hear Kanye say “we wasn’t supposed to make it past twenty-five.” This is what Black American women are wondering: What’s up to us?