The New Black Vanguard:
Photography between Art and Fashion
Photography between Art and Fashion
May 5, 2022- September 11, 2022
(July 5, 2022)—Focusing on 15 talents whose works fuse art and fashion photography, The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion opens conversations about the representation of the Black body and Black lives as subjects in art. The exhibition features the work of Black photographers, stylists, and models and celebrates Black creativity and the blending of art, fashion, and culture in constructing an image.
Organized by Aperture, New York, and curated by curator and critic Antwaun Sargent—the exhibition is currently on view in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Gallery through September 11, 2022.
The New Black Vanguard seeks to challenge the idea that Blackness is homogenous; the works serve as a form of visual activism. The results—often made in collaboration with Black stylists and fashion designers—present new perspectives on the medium of photography and the notions of race and beauty, gender and power. The men and women whose art is on view work in vastly different contexts, from New York City and Johannesburg to Lagos and London. They have been featured in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns and museums, as well as on their individual social media channels.
“The New Black Vanguard focuses on contemporary portrayals of Black figures and reframes established representational patterns,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “The international photographers and stylists in this stunning exhibition reinforce the significance of the Black creator and model. The show embodies our commitment to the vibrant arts of Africa and the African diaspora, and it foregrounds fashion as a theme central to the work of some of our newest curatorial voices.”
About the curator
Atawan Sargent is an art critic and a writer who has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vice and more, as well as essays to multiple museum publications. His first book, “The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion” (Aperture) is out now.
The exhibition includes selections from groundbreaking contemporary photographers, including Tyler Mitchell, Awol Erizku, Micaiah Carter and Namsa Leuba, as well as a salon wall featuring works by 23 emerging Black photographers. A display of past and present publications contextualizes these images and charts the history of inclusion, and exclusion, in the creation of the Black commercial image, while simultaneously proposing a re-envisioned future.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 63,000 artworks and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship and performing arts and is a leader in digital innovations. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation, recognized for its award-winning Open Access program and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the University Circle neighborhood.
The museum is supported in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and made possible in part by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.
For more information about the museum and its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit cma.org.