My biggest regret is that I tried a little too hard to fit in when I first began writing art reviews for Art in America in 1977, as if I could actually pass as a member of the “model minority.” If I had had the right gyroscope and had known when I should have acted cool and well bred instead of sullen, I might have had a smoother time. Was it because I knew deep down that if I had acted like a polite — or inscrutable — Asian, I would never have been able to pull it off? Why did I keep trying?
Should I have yelled when people mistook me for David Diao, who once told me that the art world wasn’t ready for two Asians? I later realized he was only half-joking.
After I started writing reviews for Art in America, it became obvious that I would only be assigned exhibitions that none of the other critics wanted to review. That might have made sense in the beginning, but not after five years, which is why I left and started writing for Arts and later Artforum.
And yet this first taste of editorial rejection convinced me to continue my habit of frequenting galleries such as Allan Frumkin, Robert Elkon, Cordier & Ekstrom, Robert Schoelkopf, A. M. Sachs, and others whose names I have forgotten, all of which were far from Soho, where it was all happening.
Even after recognizing the context of these professional constraints, however, I still did — or, more precisely, didn’t do — things that I regret. In the mid-1980s, after I first found out about the paintings of Matsumi “Mike” Kanemitsu, an under-known “Second Generation” Abstract Expressionist, why didn’t I take the time to go to the Donnell Library and dig deeper into his work, as I had for so many neglected white artists? After my pitch to write about Susan Rothenberg was rejected, why didn’t I instead investigate the beguiling painter Miyoko Ito, who at the time showed mostly in Chicago, and try to put her work in front of a broader public?
A few years after I left Art in America, I wrote about Wifredo Lam for Arts and Hiroshi Sugimoto for Artforum. By this time, nearly a decade had passed since I first started writing art criticism. In the face of resistance, why didn’t I take an alternative path right from the beginning? Why did it take me so long to embrace my otherness and realize that fitting in had always been a fool’s errand?
Black American Portraits features over two centuries of artworks centering Black artists and subjects.
A love of Black art and history was the bedrock of the friendship between Dell Marie Hamilton and Susan Denker, who had markedly different racial, economic, and generational subject positions.
With what he says is his final museum bow, Fitzpatrick shines a light on the colorful diversity that composes his city.
The question of race — however hidden, however camouflaged by the shouts of the crowds — is a constant theme and an unanswered challenge.
Weisman Museum of Art Presents Highlights From the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection
An exhibition at Pepperdine University in Malibu chronicles the achievements and contributions of African Americans over the last five centuries.
Brink is not a fun book, and it shouldn’t be.
Those who want to visit the museum muse have a surgical, KN95, N95, or KF94 face mask.
The residency program awards 17 visual artists a year of rent-free studio space in New York City. Applications are due by February 15.
This week, another Benin bronze is returned to Nigeria, looking at the Black Arts Movement in the US South, Senegal’s vibrant new architecture, why films are more gray, and much more.
It is precisely Moon’s openness to using any source that makes her work flamboyant, captivating, odd, funny, smart, uncanny, comically monstrous, and unsettling. And, most of all, over the top.
Tensions between resistance to Surrealism as cultural imperialism and the embrace of it as a universalist vision of freedom unfettered run through the show.