Exhibition features fashion and editorial photographs by contemporary Black artists
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Exhibition features fashion and editorial photographs by contemporary Black artists
Dana Scruggs, Nyadhour, Elevated, Death Valley, California, 2018.

DETROIT, MICH.- The Detroit Institute of Arts presents works by 15 emerging Black photographers in the exhibition The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion. On view December 17, 2021 through April 17, 2022, The New Black Vanguard features color portraits, conceptual images and fashion editorial photographs curated by New York writer and critic Antwaun Sargent. This exhibition is free with museum admission, which is always free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

This exhibition includes more than 100 photographs by “The New Black Vanguard” photographers, a global movement of emerging artists working throughout the African diaspora, in Africa, Europe, and the U.S. The exhibition features work by Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Micaiah Carter, Awol Erizku, Nadine Ijewere, Quil Lemons, Namsa Leuba, Renell Medrano, Tyler Mitchell, Jamal Nxedlana, Daniel Obasi, Ruth Ossai, Adrienne Raquel, Dana Scruggs, and Stephen Tayo. In addition and at the DIA only, Detroit-area photographers Mishira Davis, Justin Milhouse, Christian Najjar, Ray Rogers, Corey Turner, and Bre’Ann White are featured in a supplemental section of the exhibition called “New Gazes” along with more than 20 additional emerging photographers from around the world.

The exhibition explores conversations around Black representation and Black lives as subject matter. London-based Campbell Addy explores the nature of clothing and gender; Nigerian photographer Ruth Ossai shows the influences of her native culture on her work; Cleveland, Ohio native Adrienne Raquel used her own female gaze to create images of Detroit-born rapper Lizzo for the pages of Playboy magazine. Collectively, the New Black Vanguard photographers celebrate Black creativity and the intersection between art, fashion, and culture in the making of an image. Seeking to challenge the idea that Blackness is not one-dimensional, the works serve as a form of visual activism. It’s a perspective often seen from this informal movement of emerging talents, who are creating photography in vastly different contexts—New York and Johannesburg, Lagos and London. The results—often made in collaboration with Black stylists, clothing designers, and models, such as Adut Akech, Ugbad Abdi, and Seashell Coker, present new perspectives on the medium of photography, fashion and the notions of race and beauty, gender and power.

DIA Curator of Photography Nancy Barr remarked, “New Black Vanguard curator Antwaun Sargent highlights the work of gifted young image-makers who forge new narratives about photography, fashion and Black identity to Detroit and the walls of the DIA for the first time. This is a must-see exhibition for all.”

In addition to the over 100 photographs, visitors can also view videos and publications by “New Black Vanguard” artists. Working for fashion campaigns such as Levis, Kenzo, Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs, their videos bring new and dynamic narratives to the world of fashion, as seen in Daniel Obasi’s “An Alien in Town”, a vision of Afrofuturism commissioned by the fabric company Vlisco. Publications include magazine covers by Dana Scruggs, the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for Rolling Stone magazine in 2019 and Tyler Mitchell’s groundbreaking 2018 cover for Vogue featuring Beyoncé. Other publications on view show the shifting ground present in print media where diverse individuals are welcome and celebrated on the covers and in the pages of many mainstream magazines such as Allure, Essence, GQ, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal.

The New Black Vanguard is a traveling exhibition organized by the Aperture Foundation, New York. Visitors can also see the Aperture Foundation’s Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite through Sunday, January 16, 2022 at the DIA.

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