Tight Rope, Oil on canvas, 40″ x30″, 2014, by Arvie Smith

Black Man in a Black World

September 2 – November 18, 2017

artwork | about the artist’s | film | music | press

Black Man in a Black World features works by Wesley Clark, Larry Cook, Johnnie Lee Gray, and Arvie Smith. Through internal ruminations and visual explorations of historical perspectives and contemporary realities of blackness this exhibition offers individual and collective visions of the multi-faceted intersections of black male identity. Through multimedia presentations of painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography Black Man in a Black World aims to center the black male perspective through the agency and distinctiveness of their own voices. The reclamation of ownership of the visual representations of black male consciousness and identity, by black male artists, requires the kind of boldness, passion, and honesty that has the power to viscerally ignite the soul and spark a transformation of self and community.

This exhibition experience will be enhanced by an artists’ talk, panel discussion, musical selections, and a curated schedule of film screenings inclusive of the black male experience within the United States and abroad.

Programming Schedule:

The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973), 102 mins.
November 11, 2017
2:00 – 4:00 pm
“The Spook Who Sat by the Door” is the second of two films selected to screen in tandem with our current exhibition “Black Man in a Black World.” Following the screening there will be a panel discussion.

Synopsis:The film tells a credible tale of a Black CIA agent who rebels against his role as a racial token and uses his training in counterrevolutionary tactics to organize a guerrilla group in Chicago to fight racism. The story proved so controversial that United Artists was content to let The Spook Who Sat by the Door sink out of sight, although it did attract an avid following among scholars and fans of African-American cinema. 
view trailer

Artists’ Talk
October 14, 2017
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Join Wesley Clark, Larry Cook and Arvie Smith for a lively discussion about their inspiration and thoughts about their artwork.
view past talks in our video library

Nothing But a Man (1964), 92 mins
October 8, 2017
2:00 – 4:00 pm

“Nothing But A Man” is the first of two films selected to screen in tandem with the exhibition “Black Man in a Black World.” Following the screening there will be a panel discussion with guest panelist Raél Jero Salley, and film curators Sterling Warren and Alexander Hyman, about the role of cinema in the historical and contemporary portrayal of black male identity.

Synopsis: A young black man in 1963 Alabama loves a minister’s daughter, works hard, and is put upon, oppressed, and called boy by everyone with whom he comes in contact; he wants to be nothing but a man. view trailer

Myrtis Bedolla, Curator; Khadija Nia Adell, Co-curator; Alexander Hyman and Sterling Warren, Curators of Film & Music.