A Student’s Dream
by Wayne Northcross
In contemporary art, portraits of black men by black artists are rare, their inner lives hidden, their subjectivity overshadowed by the realities of race in America. A few notable exhibitions have changed that. In 1994, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Thelma Golden curated Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art. This explosive exhibition explored the social and cultural history of the black male body in contemporary art and media after the Civil Rights era. Since that time, artists like Lorna Simpson, Barkley Hendricks, and Glenn Ligon have opened up the idea of blackness or black identity, exposing the viewer and the public to a black body contextualized not only by race and history but also by sexuality, gender and class.
Mario Moore is an heir to the legacy of Black Male, and one of its most dynamic, young standard-bearers. With a painting practice based in figurative realism, Moore teases out complex and psychological transactions between himself in the positions of artist, subject and viewer through contemporary interpretations of black male identity and the history of Western painting. His new exhibition, Recovery, at the David Klein Gallery in Detroit, explores the idea of the black male body at rest.Read More