Curated by Erika Hirugami, MAAB
Throughout the history of mankind, art has served to democratize knowledge. In the middle ages, for instance, art served to proselytize as the common people were not trained to read and write. Pigment creation in the Aztec tradition came from every day found materials, and ensured that weavers, artists, artisans and even early cosmetology had equal access to resources. Contemporary global economies today, however, have generated entirely different structures when it comes to art practices. We live in a world in which everything becomes monetized, and everything turns into a commodity worth fighting for.
VantaBlack is a man-made chemical compound that recently emerged as the darkest material on the planet (The Blackest Black), with the unique ability to absorb 99.96% of the light around it. Artist Anish Kapoor legally secured the sole rights to work with VantaBlack, making this medium the first ever to be off limits to artists everywhere. In response, The Pinkest of Pink emerged and its creators will only distribute it under the legal clause that Anish Kapoor is excluded from usage, and of course, the world's most glittery glitter soon followed under the same legal agenda. Thus what was once a democratizing field, which allowed millions to gain knowledge, is slowly transforming into a members only club in which only a selected few can gain access to certain resources.
Glitter is a unique medium within today's art cannon. Collections managers at most museums, as well as contemporary conservators, repudiate the material, curators everywhere stay clear of it, and meanwhile, artist such as those featured in this exhibition use the medium to challenge contemporary art history and the craft notions that this medium has carried with it for decades.
Kelly Brumfield-Woods explores the materiality of the medium in response to perception, as well as provokes the male dominated light and space movement. Robert Charles Dunahay is exploring the reflective abstraction of color through the medium. Juan Logan is challenging contemporary notions of place, race, and power, and Abdul Mazid is analyzing the underlying complexities of identity as determined by micro and macro economic systems.
Black glitter unites these intersectionalities while serving as a democratizing medium to inform every single one of the artist's practices. Will these conversations cease to converge in a world of exclusive medium usage rights? Is legal exclusivity the latest in art censorship? So much time is spent looking at art history, why is there no forecasting the future of our field before legally censoring creation?