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Jerry C. Waters

an interdisciplinary artist and musician, was born Terry Roger Adkins in Washington, D.C., the eldest of five children of Robert Hamilton Adkins, a teacher and a musician, and Doris Jackson Adkins, a homemaker and musician. Adkins was raised in Alexandria, Virginia.

The artistic and musical achievements of Terry Adkins are linked to his formative years. Born in the racially segregated South, he attended a predominantly black primary school in Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated in 1971 from Ascension Academy a mostly white Catholic high school Adkins s parents encouraged his artistic talents and academic pursuits because education was valued within the extended Adkins family His father Robert Hamilton Adkins was a chemistry and science teacher at Parker Gray High School a predominantly black school in Alexandria and performed within the community as an organist and vocalist Adkins s grandfather the Reverend Andrew Warren Adkins pastored Alfred Street Baptist ...

Article

Born in Houston, Texas, Melvin Edwards studied painting at the University of Southern California (USC), and began sculpting in 1960. Five years later he received his B.F.A. degree from USC. Edwards first gained critical attention with a series of sculptures entitled Lynch Fragments, which he had begun in 1963. By 1997 the series included more than 150 individual works made from both forged and welded parts of knife sheaths, automotive gears, chains, ball bearings, horseshoes, and other metal. The works, each of which is about the size of a human head and hangs on a wall, explore themes of violence and incorporate both American and African symbolism.

In 1967 Edwards moved from California to New Jersey, and his work began to shift away from the manipulated, unpainted metal. A solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1968 included geometric shapes painted ...

Article

Aaron Myers

David Hammons was born in Springfield, Illinois. After growing up in the Midwest, he moved to Los Angeles in 1964 to study art. In the 1960s, the progress of the Civil Rights Movement and the inception of the Black Power Movement encouraged artists of African descent to both produce a more racially conscious art and challenge stereotypes of African Americans. After completing his studies in 1972, Hammons began to create prints of his body using margarine or grease. In 1975 he made Harlem his home and started forging sculptures from materials he collected on the street. He executed these assemblages in public spaces using such found objects as spades, chains, bottle caps, deflated inner tubes, barbecue bones, and African American hair in an effort to explore African American identity.

The spade is a reoccurring motif in Hammons s body prints and sculptures He said I remember being called ...

Article

Jerry C. Waters

artist and musician, was born Lonnie Bradley Holley in Birmingham, Alabama, and was, according to Holley in a personal interview, the seventh child of twenty-seven children born to his mother, Dorothy May Holley Crawford, and to his father, Arthur James Bradley.

Holley s childhood and adolescence were extremely difficult in that he experienced intense poverty physical abuse and homelessness Following his birth Holley s mother placed him with a woman who moved to Ohio Four years later she returned to Birmingham and gave him to another woman known as Big Mama and her husband Big Daddy in exchange for a bottle of bootleg whiskey Holley ran away from them because of continual corporeal punishment he received from Big Daddy As a result of this decision Holley lived with several foster families was incarcerated in the Alabama Industrial School for Boys and Girls in Mount Meigs and spent time ...

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Charmagne Andrews

visual artist, was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He had four siblings and was the only boy of four children born to his parents, Frances Walker Payton, a seamstress, and Walter Payton, a postal worker and truck driver. His father had also served in World War II in Italy and North Africa. Martin Payton's half-brother, Walter Payton Jr, was a famous musician in the city and the father of renowned New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton.

His formal education as a visual artist began at Xavier University of Louisiana where he met role model mentor and lifelong friend John T Scott visual artist and MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow His experience at Xavier represented the first time that Payton understood that art could be a career He has noted that he knew he would always make art but he had always thought that it would be an avocation ...

Article

Jean M. Borgatti

artist. Alison Saar works in diverse media, but she is best known for her sculpture and installations developed through assemblage, using recycled materials. She is one of a generation of artists who were able to take advantage of changing theoretical frameworks in the 1980s, notably multiculturalism and postmodernism, to explore the personal and group experience that, for Saar, necessarily concerned gender and racial stereotypes as well as social identity. Her deceptively simple forms mask a multireferential and sophisticated grasp of art and history.

Alison Saar was born in Los Angeles, a child of the artists Betye and Richard Saar. Her sister Tracye writes that they went to museums and openings the way most children go to baseball games or the zoo; they had open access to an “art table” in their mother's studio, and they spent their holidays making things together. Alison received her bachelor's degree in 1978 ...

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Earnestine Jenkins

The critical role of the artist in society as a visionary, issues of gender, the psychology of racism, and the inherent complexities of American history, geography, and identity all matter in the contemporary work of artist Alison Saar.

Alison Saar was born in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys the singular distinction of being a member of a family in which each individual is involved in the visual arts. Her mother, Betye Saar, is best known as a creator of assemblage pieces characterized by their intricate design and the use of found objects. Her father, Richard Saar is a painter and art conservationist Both parents encouraged their children to study and become involved in the processes of creative visual work by exposing them to different art techniques and materials They were urged to investigate seriously a wide range of visual traditions from around the world by reading books ...

Article

Paula Allen

to Mary Mable (Holmes), a homemaker, and Thomas Scott, a cook and chauffeur. His parents taught him rudimentary craft skills—basic carpentry and embroidery. Scott graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1958 and in 1962 from Xavier University of Louisiana, a predominantly black Catholic institution, where he began his formal art training. In 1965 he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Michigan State University in Lansing. Within a year of his graduation, he married Ana Rita Smith and launched his professional career as an artist and teacher at their alma mater—Xavier University.

Scott’s Christian upbringing and formative classical training are extant in the pervasive figurative elements and spiritual imagery that are consummately infused in his work. During the 1960s and 1970s his work was punctuated by religious images such as Lazarus (1967 However his contemporaneous riposte to issues that were at the forefront of black ...

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Born in Stockton, California, Kara Walker studied at the Atlanta College of Art, where she received a BFA degree. She continued her studies at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where in 1994 she received an MFA degree. Walker works primarily in figurative, cutout silhouettes, a cheap, rapid method of portraiture popular in the nineteenth century. Her work features figures, black and white, engaged in a variety of activities of a sexual or violent nature. Framing these images in the “theater” of the Civil War she creates narratives of the disturbing sides of themes such as romance and the pleasurable or powerful sides of themes such as war genocide and shame The nigger wench she said of a recurring caricature in her work is the body that I sort of inhabited accidentally that somebody else placed over me at some point In exposing stereotypical images of ...

Article

Born in New York City to parents of mixed descent, Fred Wilson received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1976. He then worked as an administrator in various New York City museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Between 1978 and 1980 he worked as an artist in East Harlem, New York and was funded by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA).

Wilson began an association with the Just Above MidTown Gallery in 1981, a space known for its congeniality to African American artists. In 1987 Wilson was the director of the Longwood Art Gallery of the Bronx Council of the Arts, where he curated the show Rooms with a View: The Struggle Between Culture and Content and the Context of Art The show employed three spaces in the gallery One ...