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The Not So Beautiful Struggle





We’ve all received the emails. Well, we as in black artists. And the
emails in question are requests to exhibit our “black” arts during this
celebratory month. It’s an old tirade amongst many of us. Exhibitions in
library foyers, and city council halls, and a serious lack of any sort
of critical discourse of the actual work. February is the month that
Americans become receptive to the heroics of the black experience, and
one of the few times many black artists are asked to participate in any
type of art show.


Ironically, this is the month that two young Houston
artists have decided to wrestle with some Texas racial history. In a
small, artist run space, they are putting on their own black history
show. Greg Carter and Phillip Pyle II are “re-editing the social
studies and history curriculum of the state of Texas.” I believe this is
a RE-re-editing of history, as the Texas school board has moved our
collective histories decidedly to the right, removing historical
figures, and centering a more conservative (and fabricated) perspective
to history.


I’m still a bit unclear as to how this work will unfold, but
Greg tells me its about addressing the actual textbooks and replacing
some of that erroneous material that recently been put in. However it
works out, placing this exhibition in the February is an interesting
move. As this country tries to shift to a more post racial position, it’s
easy to write off the need for black history month. I think Greg and
Phillip may be challenging this idea, and highlighting our continued
need for a focused moment of remembrance.


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