The Ride Back To Black by Elizabeth Axtman
(Inglewood, CA) Residency Art Gallery is pleased to present The Ride Back to Black, a solo exhibition by Elizabeth Axtman. The exhibition will run from July 22nd through August 31st, 2017, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 22nd from 6pm to 9pm.
The Ride Back to Black is an exhibition that explores the perilous journey of Black athletes, entertainers and public figures that attempt to transcend their race to be accepted by the majority (aka “Crossing Over”). The work exhibited attempts to capture the desires and illusions of wanting to belong to something that historically rejects the idea of Blackness in America. The inevitable “Ride Back” back to Blackness is taken when the subject has discovered they were not viewed anymore as manageable, polite, docile, or containable as at the height of their celebrity.
“I’m not Black I’m OJ” -----Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson
OJ Simpson isn’t the first Black person to believe he successfully transcended race and he won’t be the last but in 1994 he had a very important phone call ring in his ear.
There is a very well known saying in the Black community known as the, “Nigga Wake Up Call” (for those of you that don’t know what a NWUC is: it’s when a Black person forgets their Blackness in any given situation and then reminded rather brutally by an unpredicted act of racism), many Black people have answered the call (begrudgingly) but none rang more thunderously or publically than OJ Simpson’s did.
Personally my fascination began with OJ in PE class during my sophomore year in high school. I remember my white teacher came barreling onto the field mad as hell yelling, “HE’S NOT GUILTY”!! I distinctly recall smirking to myself and being happy for all the reasons every Black person I saw on the news that day were…..none of which really seemed to do with the facts of the case but more with the long sordid legacy of race in this county. I was only 15 but I was wise enough to understand what race in America was really about, and a spark had been lit. I was, am deeply fascinated by OJ and his kin who have been seduced by whiteness to their own peril and this is my work about it.
OJ is up for parole on July 20th, I hope he can make the opening…………
About the Artist:
Elizabeth Axtman – Axtman is a multidisciplinary artist who creates works on the complexities of race and humor. She received her BA from San Francisco State University in 2004 and completed her MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. She was also a participant in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing in 2006 Summer Residency Program. She has participated in exhibitions at the Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago, The Studio Museum of Harlem, NYC, The Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Kunsthalle Gwangju, Republic of Korea, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts Auckland, New Zealand, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, and The Kitchen, NYC. She has lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of the African Diaspora, DePaul University, and Sarah Lawrence College, and is a recipient of the Skowhegan Endowment for Scholarship Foundation, and Franklin Furnace Fund recipient in 2012. Her work has been reviewed in Art Forum, Art Papers, Houston Chronicle, and her video ‘American Classics’ was used as the lead image for the catalog from the much acclaimed exhibition Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women and the Moving Image Since 1970.
Location: 310 East Queen Street, Inglewood, California 90301
Show Title: The Road Back to Black
Exhibition Dates: July 22nd – August 31st, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 22nd, 6 – 9pm
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 6pm, and by appointment
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