Wounding the Black Male: Photographs from the Light Work Collection

Photographs from the Light Work Collection—Wounding the Black Male
Exhibition Dates: January 17–May 31, 2012
Gallery Reception: Thursday, February 23, 5–7 pm

Light Work is pleased to bring the exhibition Wounding the Black Male to Syracuse. The exhibition was curated by English Professor Cassandra Jackson and Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham, both from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The exhibition was on view in the TCNJ Art Gallery in 2011.

The central ideas of the exhibit are rooted in Jackson’s most recent book, Violence, Visual Culture, and the Black Male Body (Routledge, 2010). Her book deals with the ways in which the black male body has been visually exploited, and the ways in which contemporary artists have called into question the paradigmatic construction of the black body in American society. The exhibit displays thirty-one photographs by nineteen contemporary artists of African descent, seventeen are from the United States, two from Britain. Their work comments on the various representations of black bodies in Western visual culture. These artists confront stereotypes about black male appearance, sexuality, violence, and family, and highlight the ways that visual culture has contributed to the marginalization and exclusion of the black community.

Violence, and more specifically the ways in which wounds have been used to control black masculinity, is central to Jackson’s research. The wounding and modification of the black body is a theme which runs throughout many of the photographs in the exhibit, most notably in the striking photographs of New York City based artist Hank Willis Thomas. Featured in the exhibit, Branded Chest (2003) from his Br@nded series, is a photograph of an anonymous African American male torso, with a scar of the Nike symbol etched on its left pectoral. Willis Thomas is commenting on the appropriation of the black body in American advertisement and consumer culture, and the implied values that American society assigns to the male body.

Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday-Friday, 10am-6pm (except school holidays), and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in Booth Parking Garage.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a nonprofit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information, please contact Jessica Reed at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or jhreed01@syr.edu.

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