30 Americans: Rubbell Family Collection

“Thirty Americans” contains a near-comprehensive repertoire of the tropes of black postmodernism and the African-American sublime, in which the negativities of slavery, Jim Crow, blackface minstrelsy, racism, sexism and sexual slavery are constantly invoked and interrogated for the rich, dark spaces and designs that their still-warm undersides may reveal. Every African-American artist I can think of whose work I admire finds some way to signal his or her existential outsiderness. In a dominant visual culture in which blackness is often viewed as a negation of both culture and worth, the outside holds as much interest and cachet as the inside. We black people always want to know, regardless of our education and family background: What relation does your work have to the outside where most black people continue to be found everywhere you can look?

30 Americans: Rubbell Family Collection, Miami, Florida: 2008.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
I am a writer and a professor of English at the City College of New York, and the CUNY Graduate Center. My books include Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1979), Invisibility Blues (1990), Black Popular Culture (1992), and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (2005). I write cultural criticism frequently and am currently working on a project on creativity and feminism among the women in my family, some of which is posted on the Soul Pictures blog.