It is the best of times and it is the worst of times. A time in which the “whitelash” to multiculturalism is becoming increasingly violent. But also a period in which art and culture present a more inclusive alternative to the executive orders emerging from the White House.
“As long as culture keeps producing these moments, where actual debate can happen without devolving, it becomes a sort of proxy,” says art critic Aruna D’Souza, author of “Whitewalling: Art, Race, & Protest in 3 Acts.” “Those conversations become proxies for conversations we can’t have elsewhere.”
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As Ms. D’Souza points out in an accompanying publication, “Dialectics of Isolation” was purposefully heterogeneous, a celebration of difference. This gave it a dynamism that carries through into the present, prompting the viewer to seek out connections among the artworks.
Photo: Janet Henry, “The Studio Visit” (1982) in the show “Dialectics of Entanglement: Do We Exist Together?” at A.I.R. Gallery
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“It's a problem with how we teach and practice art history — that we want to carve out that space of art as a sort of autonomous realm," said Aruna D'Souza, author of "Whitewalling: Art, Race and Protest in 3 Acts."
"There can be no fiction of the autonomous realm anymore. We have to see everything we're doing as part of this vast structure that upholds a continuing oppression of Black people and people of color," D'Souza added.