Black Gay Men Gallery
Several years after the publication of God's Trombones, Douglas began translating the eight illustrations he had created to accompany Johnson's poems into large oil paintings. The Judgment Day, the final painting in the series of eight, was the first work by Douglas to enter the Gallery's collection. At the center of the composition a powerful black Gabriel stands astride earth and sea. With a trumpet call, the archangel summons the nations of the earth to judgment.
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This work is known by two titles: Mother and Awaiting His Return. The woman who dominates the composition stares into space, her strongly modeled figure a study in patience. Given the work's date (1945), the framed star in the background (a symbol of the US military), and the word mother inscribed in the lithograph's lower left corner, the two titles make equal sense. The woman's face is easily interpreted as that of a mother waiting for a loved one to return from service in World War II. Artist Charles White has chiseled her facial features with determination while infusing her expression with sadness. The cubist faceting of her figure imparts a feeling of solidity and strength in her that is reinforced by her imposing size and foreground placement. Her hands and face are nearly architectural, with their sharp edges and straight-line markings of light and shadow. Yet her tired eyes, her chin set into the palm of her hand, and the merest hint of doubt in her expression signal concern.In 1942 White, primarily known as a painter of historical murals, shifted his focus to portraits of everyday African Americans on the advice of Harry Sternberg, an instructor at the Art Students League, New York. White's portraits, including Mother, depict anonymous people dealing with situations common to the black experience. The meticulous draftsman used his skill to render human emotion and endurance in the face of such obstacles as discrimination. His works from the 1950s, the decade when the civil rights struggle exploded in the United States, show the cost of such perseverance in images of black men and women fighting for social justice.
Howardena Pindell, Untitled, #20, 1974, collage with hole-punched paper dots, pen and black ink, monofilament, and talcum powder on oak tag paper, Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection, 2007.6.303
In Untitled (Two Necklines), identical photographs of an unidentified African American woman, shown from mouth to breastbone, hang in circular frames, between them a list of words engraved on plaques. The double image suggests tranquility and composure: the woman's white shift is clean and simple, her mouth at ease, the curve of her breastbone elegantly arced. But the plaques feature words describing circularity and enclosure that are ominously electrified by text on the final plaque, which reads, "feel the ground sliding from under you."Such meticulous alignments of words and image fuel the subtle yet startling power of Lorna Simpson's work, which for more than two decades has probed the spectral issues of race, sex, and class. Like this one, her images are often truncated, replicated, and annotated with words that force the viewer to interpret. Here, the framed photographs and words inscribed on plaques are literally and metaphorically black and white; the background of the final plaque is a haunting blood red. One is hard pressed to deny the implications of this personal yet dehumanized image and its attendant language of racial pathology.Simpson's interest in the relationship between text and images began during her career as a documentary photographer. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. She is recognized as one of America's ranking masters of potent, poetic work in photography and film. Her works signal what is most personal about identity while simultaneously touching upon clichés and assumptions that can disfigure or destroy it.
The densely layered image of Slum Gardens No. 3 signals claustrophobia. A large tree with a thick, spiked vine winding its way up the trunk defines the right side of the work. Weeds and flowers blanket the bottom half of the image, almost obscuring the wooden shack (left) and the staircase. Plants invade a picket fence and piece of railing in the lower foreground. We sense that the vegetation will soon overtake the entire area, turning the "garden" into a neighborhood menace. The muscularity of the work, emboldened by thick, heavy lines of black charcoal, contributes to the intimidating quality of the plant life.Joseph Norman frequently uses landscape imagery to convey meaning. For this work he drew on his experiences growing up in Chicago and on a 1990 trip to Costa Rica, where he witnessed the effects of poverty on various neighborhoods. Slum Gardens No. 3 is not a view of a specific place; rather, it visualizes the concept of "slums" from regions around the world. Here, the overgrowing landscape serves as a metaphor for the lack of attention paid to impoverished neighborhoods. Not only are the physical environments of such areas neglected, but, as Norman's drawing suggests, its social and economic problems are ignored as well.Norman was born in Chicago in 1957. He received a BS in art education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1980 and an MFA six years later from the University of Cincinnati. After teaching drawing for nine years at the Rhode Island School of Design, he took a professorship at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in 2001.
Glenn Ligon, Untitled: Four Etchings [A], 1992, softground etching, aquatint, spitbite, and sugarlift aquatint in black on Rives BFK paper, Gift of Werner H. and Sarah-Ann Kramarsky and the Collectors Committee Fund, 2004.65.1.1
In Walker's cut-paper silhouettes, troubling narratives of violence, lust, and exoticism play out. Her work draws upon imagery common in the antebellum South and is controversial for its use of racial stereotypes of both blacks and whites. Walker focuses on the role of stereotypes in shaping history and their complex function in American race relations today. The abbreviation "Inc." in the work's title alludes to the institutionalization of racism and the implicit cultural approval of such degrading images. By suggesting narratives that complicate distinctions between fact and fantasy, victim and predator, black and white, Walker's work confronts the viewer with the uncomfortable challenge of self-reflection.
In this new acquisition, Weems responds to an American sculpture created a century earlier to honor one of the first Civil War regiments of African Americans formed in the North. Temporarily closed until early fall 2023 due to gallery renovations.
Encompassing the fluctuations and the flexibility of gender in genderfluid people, the flag features colors associated with femininity, masculinity, and everything in between. The pink stands for femininity. The white represents the lack of gender. The purple represents the combination of masculinity and femininity. The black symbolizes all genders, including third genders. The blue reflects masculinity.
This symbol is for members of the rubber and latex fetish community and is similar to its predecessor, the leather Pride flag. Peter Tolos and Scott Moats created the design in 1995 "as a means to identifying like-minded men and [it] reflects the sensory, sensual, and mental passion we have for rubber." They say the black color represents "our lust for the look and feel for shiny black rubber," the red symbolizes "our blood passion for rubber and rubbermen," while yellow highlights "our drive for intense rubber play and fantasies." It also features a literal kink, for obvious reasons.
While genderqueer people bend the rules of gender, agender people reject a gender completely. For their flag, the black and white stripes represent the absence of gender, while green, the inverse of the gender-heavy purple, represents nonbinary genders.
Created by 17-year-old Kye Rowan in 2014, this flag was a response to nonbinary people feeling improperly represented by the genderqueer flag. This symbol was not to replace Roxie's creation but sit beside it as an option. The yellow symbolizes gender outside a binary. The white, a mix of all colors, represents those with many or all genders. Purple stands in for those who feel both binary male and female or fluid between them. The black is for the agender community, without sexuality or color.
Pony play is a distinct fetish where people are treated like horses by wearing hooves, ears, and saddles and pulling carts. Carrie P created this flag in 2007; it uses black in solidarity with the leather community at large.
Cal State Long Beach art professor Diedrick Brackens uses a loom to weave stories about racial injustice and the intersectionality of his identity as a queer black man living in America. Read more at qvoicenews.com
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