Friends and fellow California College of the Arts alums artist Richard-Jonathan Nelson and curator Maddie Klett discuss Richard’s current practice + work in Art Practical’s New Takes.
New Takes is a column written by emerging writers on emerging artists as part of the Art Practical Residency. One resident is nominated from a pool of recent graduates from California College of the Arts, who holds the position for one year. Our current New Takes contributor and Art Practical resident is Maddie Klett.
Oakland-based artist Richard-Jonathan Nelson makes digital and fabric works that visualize speculative futures and his presence within them. Collaging images of plants from the herbal, hoodoo traditions of the Deep South set against noxious, neon colors, Nelson creates visions of the future that toe-the-line between emancipating and dire. This conversation took place before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been edited and shortened for clarity. Still, viewed now through the lens of a crisis that seems to color everything, Nelson’s thoughts on survival in today’s world and in the alternate worlds he creates reveal how survival and crises are not, for many, born out of this pandemic.
this was posted on Artsy.net for Black History Month, but i just happened upon it yesterday. this is an amazing list! at the same time there are so many African American artists that i’d love to see on a list like this, expanding the definition of “influential.”
“These curators have committed themselves to insurrectionist initiatives that are leveling hierarchies, challenging assumptions, countering erasure, promoting the margins over the center, the minority over the majority, as well as positing curatorial “strategies of resistance,” provoking intelligent debate, disseminating new knowledge, which, in the end, offers up signs of hope and affirmation.”
“Theirs is not Affirmative Action curating, it’s intelligent curating.”
“If you don’t believe that the art world is sexist and racist, it’s time for you to come out from under your rock….These are not issues from the past, folks. This is now. We are living and working in an art world that cares little about racism and sexism, a world that appears to pre-date the women’s/civil and LGBTQ rights movements.”
i’m in New York for the holidays. seeing family, friends, and art. i caught another excerpt from Kahlil Joseph’s Shadow Play at the New Museum. per usual, i was blown away.
having watched Black Mary throughout last month, i am so full off this iteration. i can honestly admit that I have a reverence that borders on jealousy for film artists/makers. where and when the visual and the sonic meet is everything. Kahlil has certainly mastered that space while leaving room for the viewer to float, bounce, rock, melt, soak…to BE in that in between.
i could’ve watched this short film all day. i might go back, before i leave for cali, and take it all in again.
here are the sounds for Fly Paper, currently on view at the New Museum. read up on the exhibition and more here.
i’m a lil homesick this week for family and friends back in NYC. “Possibly” is a Afrofuturist escape by the homies, Jazze Belle. every time i watch, i’m soothed by Taylor Simone’s voice, inspired by the visuals, and filled with a boost of heartfelt love for the rooftop scene! i love seeing my friends shine! forever Black joy y’all.