Recent books by Tim Lawrence and Douglas Crimp underline the close relationship between the New York art scene of the 1970s and ’80s and that most unjustly maligned of musical movements, disco.
Last summer, at The Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records Vinyl Archive at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New Yorkers had the unprecedented opportunity to participate in the cataloging of one of the world’s most historically significant record archives. Currently on view at 80WSE Gallery, the exhibition DEVOTION: Excavating Bob Mizer mines photographer Bob Mizer’s massive personal collection of negatives, documents, props and costumes.
One part a literary subgenre of sci-fi, pioneered by the likes of Samuel R. Delany and Octavia E. Butler, and one part cross-cultural, interdisciplinary aesthetic movement, Afrofuturism — a term coined by cultural critic Mark Dery in his 1994 essay “Black to the Future”— can be tricky to describe.
When you walk into the main gallery of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s current exhibition The Shadows Took Shape, which explores contemporary art through the lens of Afrofuturist aesthetics, one of the first pieces to catch the eye is a glittering procession of black astronauts fanned across a faded landscape.