Since the reignition of the Black Lives Matter movement in early June, Black artists have been in high demand. Museums, art galleries, Fortune 500 corporations, local governments, and nonprofits have all rushed to embrace Black art. While this recalibration is extraordinarily overdue, too often these commissioning entities have merely prioritized the facade of artistic diversity overbuilding the foundations of genuine equity in the art world and beyond.
1. Where has the process of embracing Black artists failed, and where has it succeeded?
2. What does a truly equitable relationship look like, and what steps should commissioning entities take to build this?
3. What pitfalls should commissioned Black artists watch out for?
4. How do we commission Black art created specifically for the Black community instead of art made to be palatable for the white consumer?
Texas Isaiah is a visual narrator based in Los Angeles, Oakland, and NYC. The intimate works he creates center the possibilities that can emerge by inviting individuals to participate in the photographic process. He is attempting to shift the power dynamics rooted in photography to display different ways of accessing support in one’s own body. Texas Isaiah’s work has been exhibited in numerous spaces such as Fotografiska (NYC), Aperture Foundation Gallery (NYC), Charlie James Gallery (LA), Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), Residency (LA), Hammer Museum (LA), and The Kitchen (NYC). Selected interviews, articles, and commissions include British Vogue, The New York Times, LA Times, Adweek, Artforum, Them, The FADER, VSCO, Vice, LALA Magazine, WSJ Mag, and Cultured Magazine. He is one of the 2018 grant recipients of Art Matters and the 2019 recipient of the Getty Images: Where We Stand Creative Bursary grant.
Learn more about Texas Isaiah here: texasisaiah.com
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is a Black / Iranian visual artist and Oklahoma City native. She is a painter whose work ranges from the gallery to the streets, using visual art to address the daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people through beautifully drawn and painted portraits. Her street art series, “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” addressing sexual harassment in public spaces, can be found on walls across the globe. In 2019, she was the inaugural Public Artist in Residence for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Fazlalizadeh has been profiled by the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, the New Yorker, Time Magazine. She has lectured at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Brooklyn Museum, New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, several universities including Stanford, Brown, USC, and Pratt Institute. Fazlalizadeh’s work can be seen on Spike Lee’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, for which she is also served as the show’s art consultant. In 2020, Tatyana’s debut book Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We’re Taking Back Our Power released from Seal Press. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Learn more about Tatyana Fazlalizadeh here: tlynnfaz.com
Niama Safia Sandy is a New York-based curator, essayist and musician. Sandy’s curatorial practice delves into the human story – through the critical lenses of healing, history, migration, music, race and ritual. She is an agitator who calls into question and makes sense of the nature of modern life and to celebrate our shared humanity in the process. Her aim is to leverage history, the visual, written and performative arts to tell stories we know in ways we have not yet thought to tell them to lift us all to a higher state of historical, ontological and spiritual wholeness.
Learn more about Niama Safia Sandy here: youtube.com
Chaédria LaBouvier is a writer, curator and Basquiat scholar. She was a contributing writer for Elle, and has been published in Refinery 29, New York Magazine, Allure, Vice, and others. She is the first Black curator, first Black woman and the first curator of Cuban descent to organize a show for the Guggenheim Museum. She holds an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA’s Film School and has served as a consultant and script doctor in television.
Learn more about Chaédria LaBouvie here: observer.com