Blending cotton, Black hair, rice paper, and shades of blue, Adebunmi Gbadebo considers the materiality of lineage. Her impressive solo exhibition at Claire Oliver Gallery, A Dilemma of Inheritance, focuses on her True Blue portraits. The series gathers artifacts from two South Carolina plantations (both also named True Blue), including one in Fort Motte, back to which Gbadebo traces her family.
True Blue‘s first 21 portraits subsume the architectural plans of the other plantation — now a golf course on Pawley’s Island. Cotton pigmentation, hair dye, pulverized denim, and indigo yield a warm blue gradient among portraits bearing coiled and loc’ed hair donated from around the world. The remaining 21 are named for enslaved individuals, whose assigned names have been reclaimed from plantation owner George Pawley’s will.
Gbadebo deepens her textual exploration of memory in the large-scale work, “A New and Accurate Map of the Land Formerly Known as Negroland” (2020). Black hair overtakes salvaged maps of “the New World” and the True Blue plantation, drawn by cartographer Emanuel Bowen, collapsing the problematic histories of the West African slave trade with 18th century mappings of the New World. Here, Gbadebo allows for a new map to emerge.
Adebumni Gbadebo: A Dilemma of Inheritance continues through November 14 at Claire Oliver Gallery (2288 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, Harlem, Manhattan).
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Finally Spicing Up
In the penultimate episode, the show’s editors managed to ignite the spark of mindless reality TV.
Guggenheim Museum Union Rallies at VIP Opening
The museum’s commitment to diversity in exhibitions rings hollow to workers who say they are not receiving a fair wage.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
Quieter Artworks Stand Out At a New York Photo Fair
At this year’s Association of International Photography Art Dealers show, the best works offer glimpses into the personal lives of photographers and their subjects.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.