How can Black British artists’ practices be more insightfully read, when they have been subject to erasure and a willful curatorial quarantining? On far too many occasions, Black British artists’ work has been corralled into group exhibitions that have often clumsily prioritized ‘race’ or ethnicity over the particular content or the formal aspects of an artwork. It’s not difficult to be critical of certain histories that have amplified certain aspects of an artist’s identity, while seemingly downplaying other, equally, or indeed more, important dimensions. It is though, perhaps more difficult to ascertain how best we can reflect on such matters, in this moment in time. Utilizing four texts, related to these questions, the seminar will be an opportunity to reflect on these considerations.
Re-reading Black British Artists' PracticesMon, May 10, 2021
Tue, May 11, 2021
Wed, May 12, 2021
Eddie Chambers was born in Wolverhampton, England. He gained his PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1998, for his study of press and other responses to the work of a new generation of Black artists in Britain, active during the 1980s. Following periods of teaching at Emory University, Atlanta, he joined the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2010 where he is now a Professor, teaching classes and seminars relating to art history of the African Diaspora. He has guest-edited several issues of journals, namely Critical Interventions, NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art (two issues), and the International review of African American Art. His peer review texts have appeared in journals such as Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, and Visual Culture in Britain. His books include Things Done Change: The Cultural Politics of Recent Black Artists in Britain (Rodopi Editions, Amsterdam and New York, 2012), Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s, (I. B. Tauris, London and New York, 2014, reissued 2015), and Roots & Culture: Cultural Politics in the Making of Black Britain, published 2017 (I. B. Tauris/Bloomsbury). He is the editor of the recently-published 40-essay volume, the Routledge Companion to African American Art History. His forthcoming book is World is Africa: Writings on Diaspora Art (Bloomsbury, London and New York, 2021), which brings together a range of texts written over the past two decades. In 2021 he will assume the position of Editor-in-Chief of Art Journal.
“The Jamaican 1970s and Its Influence on the Making of Black Britain”, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, No. 58, March 2019: 134-149.
Book chapter, “Black-British Artists and Problems of Systemic Invisibility and Erasure: Creating exhibition histories of that which is not there”, The Curatorial Conundrum: What to Study? What to Research? What to Practice? Bard College Symposium papers, MIT Press/Copublished with the Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College/Luma Foundation, 2016.
“Iniva: Everything Crash”, Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, Issue 39, Summer 2015: 50-59 – ‘In light of Iniva’s current crisis, Eddie Chambers looks back at the Black activism that led to its foundation in the 1990s.’
“The Difficulties of Naming White Things”, an appraisal of Kobena Mercer’s Annotating Art’s Histories book series, published by inIVA, London and MIT Press, for Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism (Duke University Press), #38, July 2012, 186 – 197.