Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
From its initial pages, We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World, makes it clear that this isn’t an art book for the elite.
As the founder of Gallery Gurls, a website that highlights “womxn and BIPOC in the art world,” author Jasmin Hernandez continually focuses on the art and artists that move her — no need to couch things in fancy “art speak.”
We Are Here highlights 50 influential figures in the art world, from artists to curators to museum educators. With photography by Sunny Leerasanthanah and Jasmine Durhal, the book offers readers a peek into the creative minds of its subjects, as well as their vibrant studios and homes.
Hernandez says that reaching new audiences and spotlighting the work of BIPOC is all about collective effort. “We take care of our own,” she explained to Hyperallergic in a phone interview. “We can’t wait for white institutions to make room for us, or to realize that we’re so vital. We’re not waiting on you. We are organizing. We are collecting. We are advocating for us.”
Artist KT Pe Benito talks about their involvement with Queer|Art (where they are a programs and operations assistant) as a way of affirming queer, trans and nonbinary communities. “Historically, we have been the forerunners of art and culture-making, fashion, movement-building, and real social change.”
Hernandez explains that We Are Here features people she had existing relationships with, as well as others she found through Instagram and her own research. She sent a group of questions to each person, some of which overlapped to create connections, while others stayed specific to the individual’s background. The Q&A format of the book makes it “not so steeped in academia,” Hernandez notes, so that the volume reads with “open, accessible language.”
“I kept the tone very conversational, very light,” Hernandez says. “I didn’t want to focus on pain and trauma. As Black and Brown folks, we go through enough.”
An interview with Rick Garzon, founder and director of Residency Art Gallery in South Central LA, covers everything from the challenges of establishing the space — “I had non-POC gallerists request meetings with me to ‘pick my brain’ about artists,” Garzon notes — to his favorite fictional character (Static, “what Spiderman was supposed to be.”) Meanwhile, artist, filmmaker, and activist Tourmaline responds to the question of how she’s changing the art world in a few different ways, including how she’s “bringing representation of transgender nonconforming people of color who are disabled, who move through incarcreation […] who are unruly to the status quo […]” Artist Felipe Baeza explains how the queer narratives in his work are a means of creating visibility: “When we are front and center, we are not only able to creatively reimagine our queer past, but can also develop expansive visions of our queer futures…”
During a time when public health crises keep many of us indoors, Hernandez sees the book as even more vital. “The book is like 50 studio visits waiting to happen, at your disposal.”
And while the author seeks to engage readers from a variety of backgrounds — including “white allies that align themselves with Black and Brown people for diversity clout” — she is especially focused on future generations. “This book is also for young Black and Brown Gen Z creatives that are coming up,” Hernandez says. “There’s space for you. There’s no single definitive way to make it.”
New works by one of Bangladesh’s most prominent photojournalists, writers, and activists are on view at the Chicago art space through November 27.
Council often uses humor as a political tool to expose systems of power and inequality in a society in which even death carries a high price tag.
An exhibition at the San Francisco Opera House pairs the work of incarcerated artists with Beethoven’s story of unjust imprisonment.
Many works take disruption and repetition as their themes, and many artists resurface in different sections, creating multiple affinities.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
In Cooking with Paris, Hilton capitalizes on her portrayal of being a competent woman, while highlighting its anachronism through her absurd performance. Rosler manipulates the camera in the same way.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
A man says Blue Bayou took details of his life without his permission. Several women who appear in the documentary Sabaya say they did not consent to be filmed. How can filmmakers avoid these ethical pitfalls?
Ursula Biemann, Nicolas Bourriaud, and others said they will no longer participate in the event.
There is an official ban against the public mourning of Tiananmen Square victims in Hong Kong and mainland China.