Black Aliveness

27 July – 25 August 2023

NEW YORK, NY July 21 – Bill Hodges Gallery celebrates the vibrant, varied, and resilient artistic perspectives that comprise the Black art genre with Black Aliveness: A Summer Exhibition. Curated from the gallery’s forty-year collection of historic works, this exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of American life through the eyes of African American artists. With works such as Merton Simpson’s captivating Confrontation II-A, Willie Cole’s intricately-beaded Elegba, Kara Walker’s evocative composition buoy, and more, this exhibition brings into conversation a highly important, expressive, and dynamic cohort of Black artists. The curation of Black Aliveness is informed by the generative work of scholar, Kevin Quashie. Quashie offers a concept which he terms “aliveness” in his work, urging those who appreciate Black cultural expression to advocate for a world in which one encounters Black being just as it is – rather than only as it exists in the shadow of anti-Black violence. For Black artists throughout the decades, a spirit of aliveness animates the stakes of artistic expression. These artists have drawn from a well of historic perseverance to reflect the story of their communities; in moments both jubilant and somber. This is what constitutes the heart of the exhibition. With paintings, photographs and sculptures that range from distinctly figural to contemplative abstraction, Black Aliveness highlights the titanic contributions that Black artists have made to their genre, and celebrates the vivid nature of their legacy, just as it is.

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