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Monday, February 24, 2014

Basquiat Stripped

(J-MB in Deep Thought, by DWats)
Take a moment to recall when you saw your first nude Black male whether in real life, in a painting, a photograph, sculpture, or any other medium. I’ve seen a number of unclothed men in private but never paid attention to them in the art form. That all changed when I had the opportunity to be up front and center with rare candid photos of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude, taken by Paige Powell, the ex-girlfriend of the Haitian-American artist. (see images nine paragraphs down)

The series of Basquiat's black & white 35mm, stark-naked portraits adorned the white walls of Suzanne Geiss Co. – an art gallery located on Grand Street in NYC. At first glance, my mouth dropped to the floor because Basquiat average body type was spread eagle from ceiling to floor, corner to corner. "Is that his scrotum? All-righty then," I thought to myself. I didn't go to the art gallery to judge and examine Basquiat's package, I was actually there for the panel discussion — Looking at the Black Male Nude in Art.

The panel was quite impressive.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Malcolm X: Remembering the Change

(TC taking in Malcolm X Vinyl by Lobyn Hamilton)

E&S Gallery had a piece of art work of Malcolm X that sparked my attention to write this blogpost. The artist, Lobyn Hamilton, used recycled vinyl records from what I assume to be a snippet from one of Malcolm's speeches to create the  image.

As I examined the broken pieces of vinyl records that made up the image of the human rights activist, I wondered what would our nation, our culture and our views of the Muslim religion be like if Malcolm was still with us today. And as I started to do the math, I realized that nearly 50 years had passed since his assassination. 

As a matter of fact, it was 49 years ago, Feb. 21, 1965, that Malcolm X was shot to death right before he was about to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom, which was located in the Washington Heights section of New York City.

Now I don't plan on getting into the specifics of who, what, when and why of Malcolm's death but I do want to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of change.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Behind the Canvas: Ti Jay

Peace Splash by Ti Jay
I'm amazed with what I've learned since covering the multicultural art world. I've seen multiple techniques blended on a canvas, learned art collectors habits, and I've been able to tap into what inspires artists – new and old.

It's only a matter of time that I'll be venturing outside of the tristate area to get a closer look into what makes artists want to pick up their creative tool of choice. For now I am satisfied meeting multicultural artists who are making some serious moves in the art world right here in the NYC area. 
Coming up is the first installation of 'Behind the Canvas'. This is where I pull artists out of their comfort zone, place them in front of the camera and have a conversation about ... well, them.

First up is Ti Jay. I sat down with the contemporary African artist to get the skinny on how his work is making a "splash" in the world.

Friday, February 7, 2014

View into Buying Art

HARLEM, NY – Volunteering for the Harlem Fine Arts Show was an experience. I learned a thing or two about multicultural art from the artist who were selling them but I also learned from the buyers who bought them. I was under the impression that only affluent people bought art but I was mistaken. The truth is, everyday people love and collect art just as much as the celebrities, politicians and those whose annual salaries are in the six figures.

People think of art not only as a decorative piece but as an investment. The artist may not be well known today but they might make a name for themselves in the future. If you have a piece of work from an artist who is making some noise in the art scene now, his or her work is probably priced anywhere from $500 up into the thousands. Hold on to that piece for 10 or more years, and you could be sitting on your retirement fund.

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