Art League Houston (ALH) is pleased to present STACKS, a group exhibition curated by Robert Pruitt. 5 week-long laboratory residencies will occupy the Main Gallery as a site of transformation addressing themes of Black imagination, creativity, and commodification. The exhibition features a series of performances and installations by five emerging artists:Jamal Cyrus, Nathaniel Donnett, Autumn Knight, Phillip Pyle II, and M'kina Tapscott.Writer Garry Reece provides an online narrative component tracking and examining each artist's project, offering his thoughts on possible meanings of the work.
On STACKS opening night, the artists invite the audience to participate by donating items and objects that are loaded with cultural stigmas, represent a negative stereotype, demeaning, poorly crafted, low budget, antiquated Black memorabilia and paraphernalia. As part of a performance the artists will destroy these materials.
Renowned poet/performer Douglas Kearney will also be joining the artists on opening night to participate in their performance. Mr. Kearney will provide eulogies for a selection of these materials, contemplating their former usefulness and the world in their impending absence. The
opening reception is Friday, November 16, 6 - 9 PM in the Art League Main Gallery, with a
live performance between 6 - 8 PM.
STACKS looks at the relationship between cultural tropes and the notion of an authentic black
experience. As a cathartic act, these five artists will use the exhibition's opening to publicly
deconstruct, destroy, and de-power materials that impede the construction and reception of
Black imaginative power.
How do we make art that embraces tradition while avoiding the trap of cultural tropes? This
critical question has circulated amongst the artists in STACKS in preparation for this exhibit. For
the duration of the exhibition the artists will explore possible resolutions to this problem by using
the gallery space as a laboratory to develop and create installations from the remains of the
opening night. As the exhibition proceeds, the artists will re-contextualize and revamp the ideas
and products of the previous artists week to create a multi dimensional view of black creativity.
A Call for Materials
These materials would consist of, but are not limited to, items that are: culturally charged,
represent a negative stereotype, demeaning, poorly crafted, low budget, antiquated Black
memorabilia and paraphernalia. We are challenging the public to think beyond mammy dolls
and the Uncle Tom's Cabin notion of Black existence, but also search for those contemporary
items that currently exclude alternate views of Black life. These are materials that range from
African masks, Civil Rights photos, to the more contemporary and ephemeral notions of a postracial
PLEASE NOTE*** All donated items will be destroyed and are non-returnable.
Exhibition Opening Performance
November 16, 6 - 8 PM
Phillip Pyle II: November 19 - 25
Reception November 23
Nathanial Donnett: November 26 - December 2
Reception November 30
M'kina Tapscott: December 3 -9
Reception December 7
WEEK 4 Jamal Cyrus: December 10 - 16 Reception December 14
WEEK 5 Autumn Knight: December 17 - 23 Reception December 21