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SPARE BEATS: Happenings Near You

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art> MARGARET ROSE VENDRYES’ new African Diva series 33 1/3: Pushing the Needle, a series of the hottest and sexiest divas from 70s and 80s (pictured above); offers up a radical commentary on and comparison of the gender in African Culture and contemporary society. The show opens this week May 29th  through June 16th, 2012, at the Gelabert Studios Gallery, 255 West 86th St NYC (212) 874-7188. Stop by for the opening reception on Saturday, June 2, 4‐7pm. For more information contact: Tucker Contemporary Art website at http://tuckercontemporaryart.com.

11,541 red chairs set up in Sarajevo as a memorial to the victims of the Bosnian War.

urbanism>Did you know that pirates were once hanged from the gallows on the island where the Statue of Liberty now stands? Want to unearth more  unusual or wacky facts about NYC then you’ll love learning about Angela Riechers countless stories on her new website Sites of Memory, a map-based website accompanied by smartphone tours that reattach the stories of New York City’s forgotten dead to the urban landscape. Best of all are the audio narration by Kurt Andersen, Lewis H. Lapham, and Luc Sante. Did I mention that Angela Riechers a designer and writer, and D-Crittert buddy from School of Visual Arts.  

food> More D-Critters on the up and up, Hala Abdulmalak launches Kettle Falafel, at the Hester Street Fair on the lower eastside in Manhattan this coming Saturday June 2, stop by to try out the best Falafel sandwiches in the city. I love my falafel topped off with hot sauce. Kettle Falafel is stuffed in thinly rolled whole-wheat pita dripping with tangy mint sauce, homemade made from scratch with the freshest of organic ingredients.




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30

05 2012

The Afro Talks Back

Present Tense: The 2011 D-Crit Conference: Michele Washington, Untangling the Naps: The Afro Talks Back from D-Crit on Vimeo.

“Untangling the Naps” investigates the cultural and historical significance of the Afro, and how the afro is expressed today. I explore images of the Afro/’fro/Natural and how they were used to define blackness, racial pride, and ultimately, the black design aesthetic.

The themes for this work focus on identity, hair, blackness and power, ideas expressed in the statement by Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC College.

“No matter what we might think about culture and style as a terrain of struggle, hairstyle politics, particularly in the Black community, reveal a great deal about power—the power of white over black, men over women, employer over workers, state over citizens.” — By Robin D. G. Kelley, Nap Time: Historicizing the Afro

 

My field of enquiry is based on my long-term research into the black aesthetic influence on graphic design in the twentieth century. The title, “Untangling the Naps,” suggests how I have used the Afro as a graphic narrative, in the next phase of my quest to understand the black aesthetic. In my research I investigate the historical and cultural significance of the Afro in the past, and in its current expressions. I have also researched the struggles that describe the “politics of style,” and explore the images and signifiers of the Afro/’fro/Natural that are used to define blackness, racial pride, and the new black design aesthetic of hip. My objective is to illustrate the ways this natural hairstyle has been used as a significant graphic element in the black vernacular narrative and in social media to brand black hipness.

 




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Parsons Challenge: The Dearth of African-American Artists, Designers

Architect Craig L. Wilkins, design scholar Carol Tulloch, and art historian Kymberly Pinder at the Parsons conference (photos by Jonathan Grassi, courtesy of Parsons

Last weekend March 26 Parsons School of Design presented Black Studies in Art and Design Education addressed arguably the the disproportionate number of students and faculty of color in Design Schools not just in the United States but across the globe in countries likes England, Canada and South Africa. This major event was organized by Coco Fusco and Yvonne Watson professors at Parsons School of Design. I was not only in attendance, but I also spoke on a panel addressing the troubling gap that persist within the classrooms of design and art schools. Bill Gaskin, of Parsons moderated my panel Curricular Reform in the Foundation and Advanced Studio Courses presenters included Janice Cheddie, from UK, Van Dyke Lewis from Canada,  Mabel O. Wilson of Columbia University and myself. It was such an exhilarating experience for me to interface with some of the best black scholars in design, architecture, art history and fashion, it is not often that such opportunities happen in one setting.  I must commend Coco Fusco and Yvonne Watsons for taking a strident position and challenging the needs for an overhaul in the academe of design and art schools which is seriously long overdue for revision. Many of the big design and art schools had major showing of faculty and administrators from Pratt Institute, Yale University and MICA.

As reported  in the Chronicle of Higher Education by By W. Ian Bourland

Why are there so few black artists and designers?  The conference, Black Studies in Art and Design Education: Past Gains, Present Resistance, Future Challenges, held last weekend at Parsons The New School for design, investigated both the causes and possible solutions for what is arguably a disproportionate paucity of students and instructors of color in the fields of art, architecture, and design.

Although many of the themes discussed by panels composed of veteran educators and practitioners were not new, Black Studies was notable for its emphasis on concrete and pragmatic solutions for educators.  The timing, moreover, could not be better: On the one hand, humanities and arts budgets within higher education have been roiled by recent economic challenges; on the other, the wider marketplace has capitalized on work by black and other minority practitioners during the past five years. The Phillips de Pury’s 2010 “Africa Auction” was highly lucrative for the auction house, and artists such as Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Yinka Shonibare, and Julie Mehretu have been the subject of marquee exhibitions in major global institutions, including the Whitney and Smithsonian museums.

For more checkout chronicle.com

Van Dyke Lewis standing, Mabel Wilson, (seated) and Michele Y.Washington.


 

 

 

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Masterful Chef Ferran Adriá Flips the Switch and Caters to a Mass Market

Ferran Adriá gastronimic bubbles has burst,  and El Bulli his world class restaurant is turning into a research foundation that will reach out to the masses via daily internet postings. Stay tune for more fab food creations from the world’s number 1 chef.

excerpt from Guaradian

The world’s greatest chef has had enough. “I don’t care now whether I have three stars, or however many. Or whether I am No 1 or No 28,” explains Ferran Adrià, the former plate-washer who has revolutionised high cuisine over the past 20 years.

“You can’t stay at number one forever. Imagine if Barcelona won the Champions League for 15 seasons,” he adds. “The system couldn’t handle it.”

Adrià’s words may sound world-weary, but in fact they are the opposite. Having reached the top, and stayed there for so long, he is closing his world-famous El Bulli restaurant and turning its location, in a charming Mediterranean cove, into a research foundation that will reach out to the masses by publishing daily on the internet. For more read the Guardian

 

 

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01

04 2011

Black Studies in Art & Design Education Conference

Coming in March
Black Studies in Art & Design Education Conference at the The New School

March 26th-27th 2011. Two Day Conference on interdisciplinary conference on Black Studies in Art and Design Education, featuring speakers from art, fashion. architecture, urban planning, art and design history and theory. Organised by Coco Fusco and Yvonne Watkins, Parsons The New School for Design, New York. Presenters include: Craig Wilkins, University of Michigan; Mabel Wilson, Columbia University; Noel Mayo, Ohio State; Carol Tulloch, Chelsea College of Art and Design; Jennifer Gonzales, North Carolina State University; Michele Y. Washington, School of Visual Arts; Kim Piner, School of the Arts Institute of Chicago; Noliwe Rooks, Princeton University; Clyde Johnson MICA are amongst the list of designers, cultural and design critics, and educators presenters.

The conference is intended to be a forum for reflection on the troubling gap between the notable significance of Black creativity in global culture and its lack of presence in art and design education. The goal of the conference is to elaborate and assess strategies of reform that would diversify curricular offerings and thus improve education for all art and design students while simultaneously generating a more supportive environment for Black students and faculty.

Scholars and practitioners in Fine Arts, Industrial Design, Fashion Design, Architecture, Urban Planning and Art and Design History and Theory will engage in an interdisciplinary discussion about the challenges involved in rethinking  curriculum, engaging with historically disenfranchised communities, and recruiting and retaining Black students and faculty. The conference will also feature two keynote speeches by prominent members of the fields under  figures whose efforts have been central to diversifying the many fields that comprise art and design studies. Panels will address the following topics: rethinking art and design theory and history courses in light of the global influence of cultures of the African diaspora; curricular reform in practical courses of art and design; strategies of engagement with black communities; Black student experiences in art and design schools; and the specific challenges of recruiting and retaining Black students and faculty in school of art and design.

photo credit: http://www.blackstudies.ucsb.edu


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JAMES BALDWIN’S GLOBAL IMAGINATION

James Baldwin Global Imagination:

February 17 to 20, Thursday to Sunday
Contact baldwinconference@gmail.com for information

Check out their website for Conference schedule, location and other details: http://www.csgsnyu.org

Staged in the context of global economic insecurity, a planet gripped by the ravages of war and climate change, ever-increasing gaps in wealth, as well as rampant fundamentalism (East and West), “James Baldwin’s Global Imagination” is intended as an examination of globality not simply as a matter of demography but as an urgent call to re-consider the contemporary utility of Baldwin’s expansive injunction to William Faulkner (and, in fact, to us all), “[t]hat any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.” These proceedings are thus proposed as an opportunity to take seriously Baldwin’s consistent and insistent proposal that categories of difference represent an early misnaming, a dangerous and cowardly misrecognition of the moral imagination required to confront not only our mortality but also the brutal legacies of our collective histories.

Confirmed plenary speakers, respondents, and musicians:
M. Jacqui Alexander, University of Toronto
Awam Amkpa, New York University
Eshter Armah, journalist, playwright
Rich Blint, New York University
Marcellus Blount, Columbia University
Nicholas Boggs, Columbia University
Herb Boyd, Baldwin Biographer
Jennifer Brody, Duke University



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18

01 2011

Beauty and Fashion: The Black Portrait Symposium

This coming spring make sure to check-out another spectacular symposium by the photographer/Historian Debra Willis, chair of the Photography department of New York University, she’s planned another informative two-day symposium. How she does I’ll never know, but I’m grateful for Debra Willis’s non-stop commitment in keeping the dialog of black visual culture in the forefront. The Beauty and Fashion: The Portrait Symposium will take place at New York University/Tisch School of the Arts in 02-03, April 2011. Presenters include a stellar group of black scholars, artist, cultural critics, curators and writers all in one setting to discuss what is sure to be an intellectually stimulating conversation on race, sex, gender and the body. And best of all it’s free.

For more information contact: POSINGBEAUTY2011@GMAIL.COM




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23

12 2010


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