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Tupac Amaru Shakur, " I'm Loosing It...We MUST Unite!"

Friday, September 1, 2023

Makers of Modern Art: The Black Artists You Need to Know

In a world saturated with art that often "forgets" to reflect the full spectrum of human experience, let's turn the spotlight onto those who've been in the shadows for far too long. Yes, I'm talking about the masters of modern art whose skin happens to be tinted with the beautiful hues of Blackness.

A Palette of Hidden Hues

So you think you know modern art? You can wax lyrical about Van Gogh's swirls, Picasso's angles, and Dali's surrealist mustache? Lovely. But how much can you say about Jacob Lawrence, Jean-Michel Basquiat, or Augusta Savage? Didn't think so. The irony is, if modern art was a big ol' American quilt, the threads of Black artists would be woven so deeply into it that removing them would unravel the whole darn thing.

The Breakfast of Art Champions

How do you start your mornings? Coffee, bagel, a side of The New York Times? Consider adding a splash of culture. No, not yogurt—art! Specifically, modern art by Black artists. Thanks to this wonderful thing called the internet, you can take a virtual tour of an art gallery while you munch on your avocado toast. Start with Alma Thomas' vibrant, abstract pieces, and let it set the mood for your day. Heck, make it a weekly habit—#MuralMondays, anyone?

A Brush with Awe

Now, let's kick it up a notch. Ever heard of Kara Walker's silhouette installations? If not, brace yourselves. Her pieces are like walking into a historical panorama that punches you right in the gut. You feel awe, excitement, discomfort, and, strangely, an urge to be better, do better. Not many artworks can inspire such a visceral blend of emotions. We're talking Michelangelo-level awe here, people. Except, instead of frescoes on a chapel ceiling, it's cut-paper silhouettes that speak a thousand words—each with the weight of history.

From the Canvas to the Culture

Picture this: It's the 1950s, a time when the U.S. is steeped in racial segregation. Enter Norman Lewis, a painter so extraordinary that critics couldn't ignore him—even if they wanted to. His masterpiece, "American Totem," depicts a Klan rally in abstract forms, so haunting that you can't look away. Fast-forward to today, and his work still echoes in our collective conscience. The point is, Black artists aren't just "making art." They're shaping dialogue, challenging norms, and yes, making history.

The Unveiling

So, as you sip your next espresso or scroll through LinkedIn during your "productive procrastination," remember this: Modern art isn't just a canvas painted with Eurocentric hues. It’s a kaleidoscope, a diverse melange, a cacophony of voices. And some of the most compelling ones come from Black artists. So, go ahead, diversify your palette. You’ll be richer for it, both in spirit and in cultural wealth.

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