June 6, 2014
Even Morehouse College, one of the nation’s most iconic black institutions, isn’t immune to the overreaching influence of mainstream (read: white) culture.
At least it seems that’s what visual artist Sanford Biggers wants us to consider in a recent untitled work depicting a gleeful blond woman wearing a T-shirt bearing the name of the historically black, all-male college.
The photograph was displayed in New York City’s “Black Eye” art exhibition, curated by Nicola Vassell, alongside the works of artists like Kehinde Wiley, Steve McQueen, Wangechi Mutu, Hank Willis Thomas and others who explore notions of black identity in the 21st century.
For those familiar with HBCUs, the image is jarring, and it’s safe to assume that that’s intentional. Biggers, himself a Morehouse graduate, uses his work to provoke. He’s a self-proclaimed creator of art that “intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols.”
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