Magazine article Sculpture

Walker Art Center

Magazine article Sculpture

Walker Art Center

Article excerpt

Minneapolis

Radical Presence

Through January 4, 2015

The first comprehensive survey of per- formance art by black artists working from a visual arts perspective, "Radi- cal Presence" demonstrates the power of artistic action as a strategy for progressive resistance. As the title makes clear, no chronicle of black per- formance art from the 1960s through the present can avoid content. Responding to the bleak facts of seg- regation, the fight for equal rights, and the ongoing struggle against everyday racism in today's "post- racial" society, these performative gestures-ironic, angry, poetic, absurd, and frequently comic-chal- lenge complacent acceptance of the status quo, demanding that discrimi- natory abuses be faced and addressed. Some might dismiss the effectiveness of this dialogue through art, but when 75 percent of white Americans lack a single black friend, imaginative empa- thy-temporarily inhabiting other perspectives, skins, and sexes-and staged confrontation are the closest things we have to honest exchange. …

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