Hey everyone. Today you have the opportunity to see me in flesh and blood and wild hair—I'm giving a My Favorite Things tour during SAM Remix at the Seattle Art Museum. I'll be "in my element" as they say, surrounded by art and tipsy guests, leading a giggly cohort of people through the museum like some proud child playing a game of show and tell. I'll admit it, I'm a little nervous! But it's a short tour and we can all dance together afterwards.
To whet your appetite, briefly, here are some things I'll be talking about tonight:
Augusta Savage, a Black sculptor who was hugely influential during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and was the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center. She taught and mentored a lot of important Black artist like Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, and Norman Lewis, showing at the 1939 New York World's Fair. We've lost a lot of her work to time and/or destruction but SAM has a bust that we'll congregate around tonight:
I'll also be talking about contemporary artist Toyin Ojih Odutola who is part of and gives name to the exhibition In This Imperfect Present Moment. I remember first seeing her drawings in college on Instagram and being immediately drawn to the way she renders skin. I had a chance to see her present some of her work at a conference and I think she talked about Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks. I still need to go back through my journals, clearly:
We'll also be touching on Nick Cave—not of the Bad Seeds, but the Soundsuits. Cave makes these garments out of the most random and spectacular materials. They are creature-like, beautiful. I want one. That is not the point of art—to want it—but sometimes that's the first and most true reaction:
Finally, I'm going to talk about a farming animal headdress from the Kala region of Mali that reminds me of the art found in my grandmother's apartment. I won't cry I promise.
My tour starts at 10 pm and is 15 minutes long. Hope to see you there!