The first thing to know about Uncle Vinny is that he has a lot of face â€“ big, heaping gobs of it. Heâ€™s not a pretty man, but in a tradition of portraiture that values psychological insight over surface appeal, heâ€™s the perfect model. His features seem to testify to a lifetime of use and abuse. The rich, crinkling folds of flesh under his chin, his bloodshot eyes, his stubble â€“ these things challenge you to look, and keep looking, in the hopes that you can divine the personality that drove
him through so much life.
In her exhibit My Uncle Vinny, Justine Reyes has chosen to photograph her relative along with the objects that he has collected over the course of his life. Her style owes a lot to Richard Avedon â€“ her subjects are presented head-on, against an austere white background â€“ and something to Catholic pop art, in which the objects that surround a saintâ€™s image are supposed to testify to his life and virtues. Read more »
Even before multiculturalism first stormed the ivory towers of academia in the mid-1980s, the tendency towards â€œrevisingâ€ or rethinking American history and culture to include the accomplishments of both women and racial minorities had been in evidence. Hence, it may seem surprising -- or even astonishing -- that our most recent era of Political Correctness failed to produce any comprehensive, scholarly study of African-American womenâ€™s artwork. Indeed, such a study has only emerged this year as a result of art historian Lisa E. Farringtonâ€™s tireless commitment to produce this extensive look at black womenâ€™s artistic contributions from slavery to the present.
In many ways, Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists attempts to answer one basic question: In a society in which the vast majority of black women are objectified, hyper-sexualized, and marginalized (socially, politically, and economically), what does black womenâ€™s art actually look like? Read more »