The art of Claude Desir Jr will be on view at City Lights Gallery Jan 15-Mar 13/2021. Gallery Hours W-F, 12-5, Sat 12-4 pm.
To keep us all safe, face masks are required and limited admission is strictly monitored.
In paintings, drawing and clothing designs for his brand vii, Claude Desir jr. reappropriates derogatory stereotypes that for centuries have characterized Black people in the Americas and Europe. His form is a precise articulation of composition, symbolism, shape, color, line, and content, inspired by black artists of the 70s and 80s, Kerry James Marshall and Michael Ray Charles, who reclaim the black face caricature found in popular culture and Antebellum Black Americana. Coming from a commercial clothing design background, Claude refers to it as “rebranding”.
Claude Desir jr. distills and manipulates elements of the visual and cultural tropes that have created the societal biases people with African features have contended with for centuries. He uses the Warner Bros, Walt Disney cartoon palette, emphasizing the garish irony, to denote the commonly accepted use of these stereotypes, like in cartoons. Cheery, bold colors set a tone of sarcasm and confidence. With a seemingly mechanical line quality, his precisely executed abstracted portraits and shapes, combined with the reappropriation of select imagery, to create an intensely sardonic mood of absurdity, where racial iconography and stereotypes are repurposed, reclaimed, and recomposed, mirroring the social dissonance and centuries of prejudice.
See the artwork below
From the artist, read about his choice to use black face imagery, click here.
SEE companion exhibit, “We Are Not Like You.”, coming soon.
Learn more about the art of Claude Desir Jr.
Learn about Jim Crow, click here to watch a video from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris University. Read more, click here.