"Figuring History": Artist parent's day out

Took a break from my own work to spend quality time with another artist parent: Valencia Carroll.

  Artist Valencia Carroll views Robert Colescott's "A Cruise to Southern Waters"

Artist Valencia Carroll views Robert Colescott's "A Cruise to Southern Waters"

We usually see each other at Onyx Fine Arts exhibits, but this is the first time we've gotten a chance to hang out. So we ran off to the museum.

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What a pleasure to explore "Figuring History" with her... when we take our kids to museums, they always rush us through the exhibits. Dude: it's not a race to the finish line.

  Works by Robert Colescott

Works by Robert Colescott

I guess they're not old enough to appreciate the impact art has in person, as opposed to just seeing it in print or online. (Yes, I see the irony of me posting photos of this experience.) As artists, we want to read a painting for things like symbols, historical references, color choices. We especially appreciated all those elements in the work of Kerry James Marshall.

  Works from Kerry James Marshall's "Vignette" series

Works from Kerry James Marshall's "Vignette" series

I'm generally against massive doses of sparkle and glitter, but in the hands of these artists... well. I stand corrected. I watched the light dancing among the rhinestones in pieces by Mickalene Thomas, just floored by the sumptuous color and monumental size. I'd highly recommend seeing these works in person: it's difficult to convey their dimensionality online.

  Detail of "Dejeuner sur l'herbe: Les trois femmes noires" by Mickalene Thomas

Detail of "Dejeuner sur l'herbe: Les trois femmes noires" by Mickalene Thomas

And who would've thought rhinestones could link 1960s-era James Baldwin and Walter Gadsden to Black Lives Matter in 2017, with such power? Whoa.

  "Resist" (full image and inset detail) by Mickalene Thomas

"Resist" (full image and inset detail) by Mickalene Thomas

Good day out. Valencia and I should go on more field trips together.