In the Absence of Light”

'untitled, club couple', kerry james marshall, hbo, black art in the absence of light

‘Untitled, (Club Couple)’, Kerry James Marshall, 2014HBO

The new HBO documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light highlights the development of art over the past two centuries, using modern Black art scholar David C. Driskell’s landmark 1976 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as a point of departure. Executive produced by Henry Louis Gates with consulting by Thelma Golden, the film retroactively examines the history of Black art making that has long been dismissed by the white mainstream. The light in the title can be read as a euphemism for the white gaze, as well as the journey from private art making and disregard to success and visibility.

The arc of works discussed ranges from David Drake’s pottery from the early 19th century to Theaster Gates’s conceptual approaches to pottery and his impact on place keeping in the highly gentrified Chicago, one of America’s

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