‘The New Black Vanguard’ Highlights the Art of Fashion Photography – WWD

Instead of focusing on flimsy designer or model outfits, a new exhibition at the Detroit Institute of the Arts examines the artistry of fashion. photography as images of leading Black photographers.

Revealed Friday, “The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Talent and Fashion,” featuring work from 15 photographers, mostly under the age of 30 and from different regions of the world. Visitors will find more than 100 images, including portraits, concept images and editorial images, curated from magazines, advertising campaigns, museums and social media festival. The exhibition is on view at the DIA through April 17.

Some photographers, like Brooklyn-based Tyler Mitchell, who in 2018 became the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue with an image of Beyoncé, have gained global fame. Mitchell will lead a virtual talk for the DIA on February 24.

Another New York-based artist, Dana Scruggs, became the first Black female photographer to shoot the cover of Rolling Stone in 2019. There are also images by Arielle Bobb-Willis, Awol Erizku, Campbell Addy , Jamal Nxedlana, Micaiah Carter, Nadine Ijewere, Renell Medrano, Ruth Ossai, Adrienne Raquel, Quil Lemons, Stephen Tayo, Daniel Obasi and Namsa Leuba.

Many people start by taking pictures of friends, loved ones, unknown models, and strangers they encounter on the street or through social media.

Untitled, New York, 2018

Campbell Addy’s “Untitled,” New York, 2018
Campbell Addy / Courtesy the Detroit Institute of Talent

Nancy Barr, DIA’s James Pearson Duffy curator photography. number.

“All of them use the medium of fashion photography as a form of social justice, by imprinting the Black experience in new or traditional ways,” she said. “They are representing the vast scope of the Black experience and black identity in this day and age. I think that’s unprecedented.”

While each artist has a different approach, there are new stories emphasized in the work such as strange identities, body diversity and a range of skin tones, according to Barr. “There is not just one identity for the Black experience or Black representation. It’s one way that they use photography for social justice,” she said.

Regarding the age-old debate is-fashion-photography-art, Barr said fashion photography has a long trajectory in the history of photography as an art form. Citing Edward Steichen’s early work at Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as Harper’s Bazaar’s “great history” of using “great photographers” for editorials (including Man Ray and Louise Dahl-Wolfe), Barr says the magazines are “really preordered [where] photographers have to show what they can do with media aesthetically, in terms of composition or content. Magazines provide a vehicle for experimenting with fashion photography, as museums didn’t really display such work decades ago.

Writer and art critic Antwaun Sargent worked with the Aperture Foundation to organize “The New Black Vanguard” and publish a companion book. A virtual tour of the exhibition at the DIA is not offered. However, Aperture has released YouTube chats with a number of featured photographers. Pandemic concerns heralded an inaugural event, but Sargent will be at the DIA on March 10 to give a lecture. Sargent is also the director and curator at Gagosian.

Enthusiastic about Sargent’s involvement, Barr said, “I’m really excited about this. I can’t imagine anything better for Detroit, for photography in general, and for young Black artists.”

On how fashion photography can perpetuate stereotypes and racism, Barr said, “This show, and so many of the social justice messages in it, violate those stereotypes. . It also looks at some of them. It is doing a lot of different kinds of narrative explorations of Black identity and surrounding culture. A number of prominent artists hail from Nigeria and South Africa, and have photographed in Lagos and Johannesburg, among others.

Many of these photographers are trying to “expand the field and make Black expression and the Black experience universal and not marginalized,” says Barr. Some have published their own magazines and journals as needed and/or for greater creative licensing. Early in her career, Scruggs published Scruggs magazine, a print publication dedicated to her vision of the male figure. Campbell, an artist living in London, created Nii Journal.

Letting Black photographers “control who creates the images – creative control, editorial control over visual stories and maybe even text-based stories is very important.” unique,” ​​says Barr. “In a way, they’re making the fashion photography model at the forefront.”

“The New Black Vanguard” is connected to another DIA exhibit, “Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite,” located in an adjoining gallery from January 16. The linked layout is designed to offers visitors a more historic experience Black Beauty in Brathwaite’s Black Subject photographs in the 1960s. They can then step into “The New Black Vanguard” to admire the mausoleum. Contemporary glasses on black fashion, beauty and style. Work by six local photographers is also featured in the “New Gazes” section.

Barr hopes that librarians will consider how young photographers are shaping a new way of expressing Black identities in the print and digital worlds, and they will understand it “from a collection of brand new eyes.” While young people will see a lot of things they can identify with, older guests will see young people looking to change the landscape of expression and identity, Barr speculated.

Joy as an act of protest, 2018

“Joy as an act of protest” by Nadine Ijewere from 2018.
Nadine Ijewere / Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of the Arts

The exhibition builds on Detroit’s ongoing efforts to attract creatives to live and work in the city, or to appreciate the city’s cultural offerings. Detroit-based Shinola and fashion designer Tracy Reese continue to cement the city’s reputation for design and support local production. At the end of October, Bottega Veneta drew a celebrity crowd for its spring runway show at Detroit’s Michigan Building Theatre.

Fashion is also not a new goal for the DIA. In the fall of 2009, an exhibition of fashion photographs by Richard Avedon was held there. And Barr recalls André Leon Talley’s 2017 talk with Isabel and Ruben Toledo that won over, and drew a lot of, producers.

Golden Finger, New York, 2019

“Golden Finger” by Adrienne Raquel, New York, 2019
Adrienne Raquel / Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of the Arts

With “The New Black Vanguard,” DIA is reaching a new audience and pointing out that they take the design and the producers very seriously, Barr said. “For me, it is more important that Detroit is the city with the largest Black population in the country. This exhibition and the Kwame Brathwaite exhibition are helping to reach out to that community and the younger people in that community,” she added.

The average age of DIA visitors is 47 years old with 86% of them from Michigan, 12% from other parts of the country and 2% from other countries. The new exhibit is meant to show a younger, more diverse audience that the DIA is, according to Barr, “really open and accepting, and we’re here where they can go and really learn about new work.” , new photography, contemporary work and something they can really identify with. “

https://wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/new-black-vanguard-exhibition-detroit-institute-art-fashion-photography-1235021644/ ‘The New Black Vanguard’ Highlights the Art of Fashion Photography – WWD

Linh

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