Jordan Amirkhani

From this Author

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art

Barkley L. Hendricks. Down Home Taste, 1971; oil and linen on acrylic; 48 x 48 in. Courtesy of the Artist and the Office of the Dean of Students, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY).

In her 1960 essay “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction,” writer Flannery O’Connor states, “Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”[1] Aware of the deeply moralizing labels and qualifiers imposed upon her work and career-long subject of the South,[…..]

Third Space: Shifting Conversations About Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art

José Bedia. Mpangui jimagua (Twin Brothers), 2000; acrylic and conté on canvas with objects; 122 x 355 x 188 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and the Birmingham Museum of Art.

As university presidents, corporate CEOs, and political leaders on the left and right toss the terms “multiculturalism” and “postcolonial” around in speeches and promotional materials, I am reminded that these buzzwords of the new transnational order have resisted domestication and dilution through the sharp, thoughtful, uncomplacent writing of Homi K. Bhabha.[1] Bhabha’s recognition that cultures must be understood as complex intersections of multiple places, historical[…..]

Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen at Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans

Cecilia Vicuña. Precarios, 1966-2017; site-specific installation of 117 found object sculptures (stone shells, glass, wood, plastic, debris). Courtesy of the Artist and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. Photo: Alex Marks

For the Chilean-born visual artist, poet, and filmmaker Cecilia Vicuña, the textual and the visual exist and function together in a familial relation, as if the making of objects and the shaping of words into images are knotted together like threads, binding and weaving themselves to form reified constellations that speak of the individual and collective simultaneously.[1] Vicuña’s work has a rich engagement with the[…..]

Still Raising Hell at Emory University

James V. Hatch and Camille Billops On the UCLA Campus, 1960; Photograph; Dimensions Unknown. Courtesy of The Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives at Emory University (Atlanta, GA).

Gifted to the Stuart A. Rose Library at Emory University in Atlanta in 2002, the Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives—a remarkable collection of books, ephemera, and oral histories documenting the rich histories of 19th and 20th-century African American art, art history, and theater—remain one of the most significant holdings of African American cultural achievement in the United States. The archive was initiated in[…..]

Fathi Hassan: Edge of Memory at Clark Atlanta University Art Museum

Fathi Hassan. Crossing, 2016; acrylic and gauze on paper; 58.25 x 74.8 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

In his 1978 text Orientalism, Edward Said states that the “subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arab–Islamic peoples and their cultures” is not just bound by historical clashes, sociocultural differences, or geography, but a constellation of a “whole series of interests” predicated on the desire to control, manipulate, and incorporate “what is manifestly different.”[1] Under Western hegemonic power, the struggle for dominance in the Middle[…..]

Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star

Mickalene Thomas, Shinique: Now I Know, 2015; Rhinestones, acrylic, and oil on wood panel. Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris and Brussels).

The self is a slippery thing—an entity built on slippery grounds and shaped by slippery forces. The French psychotherapist Jacques Lacan perhaps put it best that “the self” is both something we build as well as imagine; it is located between the fictions of the ego and the fictions of the unconscious, where unity between the two remains impossible but deeply necessary for one’s development.[1][…..]

Mixed Use by Jess Jones and Gaudi-Juju by Lillian Blades at Swan Coach House Gallery

Lillian Blades. Juju-Veil, 2017; mixed media. Image courtesy of the artist and Swan Coach House Gallery (Atlanta, GA).

Dual presentations of artists can often result in hasty hierarchies of “better vs. worse” or “master vs. apprentice.” However, the recent exhibition of Jess Jones’ and Lillian Blades’ work at Atlanta’s Swan Coach House Gallery tosses all that patriarchal competitive comparison out the door by presenting the strength of their individual practices, as well as their shared interest in the history and procedures of craft.[1][…..]