Image.. Black Flesh?

Jul 13, 2023 — Feb 03, 2024

Noel W Anderson’s work deals with the intricacies of art history and the distortion of images. He is specifically interested in how art shapes the perception of race. Anderson, a non-linear thinker, conceives of the art historical ecosystem in a holistic way and draws parallels between his practice and other artists. 

To some extent, Anderson chooses to model his practice after that of Peter Paul Rubens, a renowned Flemish artist who worked during the Baroque period, and was known best as a painter. Rubens also worked with printmakers and tapestry weavers as a way of making his work more affordable and replicable than his paintings. In what could be considered an early modern marketing campaign, he expertly adapted his work to those media for one reason: to widely disseminate his images and establish himself as an artist with few peers. Anderson’s intentions diverge from Rubens’s only in that his work across media has an additional purpose.

Anderson’s search for broader relevancy is driven by his treatment of visual forms. His distorted images provide a framework for understanding how historic and contemporary accounts of African American history are social constructs fabricated using American media images. Note how the images of black bodies in this exhibition are fragments that imply a greater cultural history that is not well understood within “mainstream” culture. As a result, Anderson’s approach to representation can be seen as a disruptive critique of how African Americans are not represented equitably in museums. 

Noel W Anderson, a Louisville, Kentucky native, earned an MFA from Indiana University in Printmaking, and an MFA from Yale in Sculpture. Currently, he is Area Head of Printmedia in the Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University. His work resides in the collections of the Hunter Museum of American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the International Center of Photography among others. His writing was published in October, and he is represented by Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery (Luxembourg) and JDJ (New York). His residencies include stays at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and a Tamarind Press Visiting Artist Edition. He was also a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award Nominee.

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