Deadline Detroit | Gallery: Detroit Art Museum’s Exhibit, “The New Black Vanguard,” Defies Photographic Stereotypes



Untitled Still Life from 2017 by Awol Erizku, 33, an Ethiopian-American artist who lives in New York and Los Angeles. Eight other works are below. (Photo / s: Detroit Institute of Arts)

More than 100 photographs by 15 young artist photographers from around the world were on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts on Friday in “The New Black Vanguard” – a “four-month exhibition that fuses the genres of art and fashion photography. ‘in a way that breaks their long established boundaries,’ one description reads.


DIA sells catalog for $ 50 (link on the left above).

The traveling exhibition made its pre-Covid debut for three months in Manhattan at the Aperture Gallery, which has released a hardcover collection of the works with text by exhibition curator Antwaun Sargent, an artistic writer from Brooklyn. The DIA show also features some images from local artists.

“What links [these creators] together is their desire to think about black identity in photography and what has been missing, ”explains Sargent in a video below. stereotypes. ”

The exhibition of artists aged 25 to 35 attracted international attention last summer at the Rencontres d’Arles in Provence, France, one of the largest and most prestigious photography festivals in the world.

The DIA presentation, free to residents of the metro Detroit area until April 17, includes a final “New Gazes” section with work by Detroit photographers Bre’Ann White, Mishira Davis and Ray Rogers.


Jamal Nxedlana, 36, shot this in Johannesburg, South Africa two years ago.

Aperture Gallery, where “The New Black Vanguard” premiered in October 2019, describes its intention:

The images open conversations about the roles of the black body and black lives as a subject. Collectively, they celebrate black creativity and the cross-pollination between art, fashion and culture in building an image.

Seeking to challenge the idea that darkness is homogeneous, the works serve as a form of visual activism. It’s a perspective often seen from this free movement of emerging talents, who create photography in very different contexts – New York and Johannesburg, Lagos and London. The findings, often produced in collaboration with black stylists and fashion designers, present new perspectives on the medium of photography and notions of race and beauty, gender and power.

This exhibition includes selected works of groundbreaking contemporary photographers … [who are] offering a brilliantly redesigned future.


“These photographers … are fighting photography with photography.” (Photo: screenshot from French television)

Essentially, “these photographers are fighting photography with photography,” says Sargent, the 33-year-old New York curator. In the three-minute video embedded under our mini-gallery, he adds:

“What is happening now with these very young artists is important. It has changed our culture, it has changed the way we think about photography, it has changed who can take pictures. It will be the photographers who will define this generation in pictures. “

7 other exhibition images from DIA:


“Elevated”, shot by Dana Scruggs in Death Valley, Calif., Three years ago.

“Joy as an act of resistance”, a 2018 image (cropped) by London photographer Nadine Ijewere, 29, whose parents are Nigerian and Jamaican.


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