The vibrant portraits and conceptual images in The New Black Vanguard fuse art and fashion photography in ways that break traditional boundaries between genres. They open conversations around the representation of the Black body and Black lives as subject matter and challenge the idea that Blackness is homogenous.
Curator and art critic Antwaun Sargent selected 15 emerging talents, including Tyler Mitchell, the first African American to shoot a cover for Vogue in the magazine’s 125-year history, and Awol Erizku, whose work has appeared in Vogue, GQ, the New York Times, and the Museum of Modern Art.
The men and women whose artworks are on view in the exhibition create in vastly different contexts, from New York and Johannesburg to Lagos and London. They have been featured in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns, and museums, as well as on their individual social media channels. Since their images are constructed, often in association with Black stylists and fashion designers, the exhibition provides an opportunity to examine the rarely explored collaborative nature of fashion and celebrity photography.
The New Black Vanguard reinfuses the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body with new vitality and substance. It presents new perspectives on the medium of photography and the notions of race and beauty, gender and power. Complementing the photographs, videos, and publications will be installations of fashion that elucidate the art of the stylist.