I began looking through my university's' database for texts centering around Black people in art museums with conversations revolving around representation for African Americans to see if there were any significant differences between then and now. I have come to understand that many of the nuances that exist today, existed then and not much has changed on a rudimentary level. From my observations, the nuances that currently exist are presented in similar ways by way of texts and how those terms are used to describe but also shape how Black people perceive themselves in these spaces.
I came across this book available via PDF entitled, "Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and American Art Museum," by Bridget R. Cooks. In the text, she notes the descriptors of how Black people self identify and the ever evolution of what these terms mean in varying time periods. I think this is important to consider for those that are non Black to learn to allow those that are Black to self-identify themselves first than to begin labeling and to also not project discomfort for terms that do not apply to non Black people. It also reflects how white Americans in the art sphere informed how Black people viewed themselves and methods they used in order to garner approval paralleled with rebellion by existing in spaces creatively.
NEGRO- COLORED- BLACK
"...the subtitle of the exhibition announced the modern art of Negroes as distinct from the “primitive” sculpture of Africa, distinguishing the New Negro as a contributing and productive member of society clearly evolved from what was widely perceived as an uncivilized and undeveloped African past..."
I found this excerpt to be interesting because if I were to consider myself a "New Negro" today it would align with what I currently believe in: disassociating from the white gaze while also considering how history has intentionally been curated to omit my presences as a Negro. As a 2020 "New Negro," my existence is not rooted in aligning myself with whiteness to consider myself a "productive member of society," while affirming African works as primitive in comparison to Western and European works. I find my rooting in redirecting my thoughts to not consider ideologies perpetuated by political whiteness and agendas rooted in aiming to help me forget who I am.
Terms and phrases have the capacity to become culturally exclusive which allows a culture to place importance, meaning, and subject itself to a parallel language.
Cooks, Bridget R.. Exhibiting Blackness : African Americans and the American Art Museum, University of Massachusetts Press, 2003. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/otis-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4532902.
Created from otis-ebooks on 2020-09-01 01:56:30.
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