The Magazine of African Art “Revue Noire”, and Art News of the Week 2 – 8 November 2020

Revue Noire 01, published in 1991. Photo:
Revue Noire 01, published in 1991. Photo:

The magazine “Revue Noire” had shown the artistic creation of the African continent within the international scene. Now the book “Revue Noire—Histoire Histoires—History Stories” tells how this famous magazine was created in 1991. Two exhibitions are currently on view at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art, where visual artists are expressing how the virus has affected their lives with their work. Austyn Weiner challenges the standards of what young artists should and should not do to succeed in 2020, she has spent the last few years building a reputation as a risk-taking artist in the art world.

The magazine that made it possible to discover the African Contemporary Art scene

November 6, 2020 – Via PledgeTimes

The magazine “Revue Noire” allowed the world to know about the artistic creation of the African continent within the international scene. The book “Revue Noire—Histoire Histoires—History Stories” tells how four friends: Jean-Loup Pivin, Pascal Martin Saint Léon, Bruno Tilliette, and Simon Njami created this famous magazine in 1991.

Four friends fed by the desire to show the richness of contemporary African art and its countless artists. They just wanted to show a modern and urban Africa that invents and creates. But “Revue Noire” became in time much more than a publication. It converted into a gallery of a dynamic culture in all artistic expressions: architecture, plastic arts, cinema, dance, literature, fashion, and photography. Although it was undoubtedly this last field where the magazine did with more brilliance, the demonstration of the African art scene.

Several editions of the magazine “Revue Noire”
Several editions of the magazine “Revue Noire”.

“This quarterly (35 issues) wanted to echo the identity, aesthetic and intellectual changes that then crossed the continent. Until the early 1990s, Africa was the pristine, savage, and miserable continent that major Western reporters pointed to. Between spectacular ethnology and horrified reporting on misery and wars. African photography, at least in that it stood out from the expected image, was unrecognized. We were only interested in Seydou Keïta” say the authors.

In the past, African artists were exhibited and published more often in places or collections ‘reserved’ for Africa, but this is no longer the case today. “Revue Noire” helped that the artists of this continent are considered first as artists rather than simply as Africans.

It is known among its members that the “Revue Noire” is not the only one publication who has participated in this evolution, but it has undoubtedly contributed greatly to this recognition of African creators. This book gives life to an extraordinary human and editorial adventure, carried out all over the continent. And it is full of the reflections, thoughts, and memories of its four creators. In addition to about thirty other writers and illustrated with abundant iconography.

Exhibitions at Columbia’s 701 Center for Contemporary Art respond to COVID-19

November 2, 2020 – Via Free times

Due to the current health crisis, a particular phenomenon is occurring in the artistic environment. Artists of different tendencies are deeply involved in a creative response. For example, in publishing houses, publishers are seeing an increase in submissions from self-isolated authors.

Visual artists are part of this new wave of artists who express with their work how the virus has affected our lives. Two exhibitions currently on view at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art speak about the current conditions. The 701 Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) is a gallery and live studio that provides artists with resources to develop, create, and exhibit visual arts.

Doug McAbee redoes Pablo Picasso’s cubist self-portrait from 1907
Doug McAbee redoes Pablo Picasso’s cubist self-portrait from 1907 in his new exhibition. Photo:

“Tussenenkunstenquarantaine” or “between art and quarantine” is an initiative launched for the first time in the Netherlands that encourages artists to recreate in their own homes masterpieces that are in the collections of museums temporarily closed for health reasons.

Using commonly used objects such as toilet paper, which was the subject of panic and wild shopping during the early days of the pandemic, European artists have been recreating works of the old masters, both from a serious point of view and from the side of satire.

This initiative came to America and caught the attention of Doug McAbee, an American artist and associate professor of art at Lander University. McAbee is currently exhibiting a number of pieces called “Instagram Remix” at the CCA. He describes himself as “raised by wolves but currently living in an igloo in a remote part of nature”.

Each work is divided into two parts: an easily recognizable image of the original painting or sculpture on the left, and McAbee’s generally playful photographic reinterpretation on the right. Pablo Picasso’s 1907 cubist self-portrait is one of the most successful combinations. It features Picasso’s work on the left and McAbee’s variation on the right. The latter is his own face painted with black makeup accentuating his angles, eyes covered with papers, and dilated pupils.

McAbee credits Wim Roefs, chairman of the CEC board of directors, for suggesting this innovative method of display. Each two-part image is printed on vinyl and mounted on the second floor in the Great Hall of the CCA.

Artist Austyn Weiner is focused on finding her painterly rhythm

November 5, 2020 – Via Arnet

Austyn Weiner challenges the standards of what young artists should and should not do to succeed in 2020. She has spent the last few years building a reputation as a risk-taking artist in the art world.

In 2020, while presentations of her work were taking place in major galleries in the United States and Europe, she simultaneously held an exhibition of her artworks in her garage. This attitude says a lot about how Weiner chooses to show her work to the world.

Austyn Weiner. Photo by Ira Chernova
Austyn Weiner. Photo: Ira Chernova /

We can observe that Weiner confronts the impulses of her conscious and subconscious choices with her work. She has a routine about the time he spends in her studio and treats it as a sacred time to expand and grow, both as an artist and as a person.

Weiner tries to let her inner self guide her hand on the canvas, leaving expectations aside. She is aware that each day brings a new and different version of herself. Arnet spoke with Weiner last week and these are some of the questions the artist answered:

Where is home for you? What is your favorite trait of that place?

Home is a place inside myself. It wasn’t always like that, but it is now. Home for me is in my mind: filled with curiosity, fantasy, exploration, and oftentimes anxiety. Home is warm, safe, nonjudgmental, and wild all the time. The physical place is East Los Angeles… also, wild all the time.

Do you remember the moment you knew you’d devote your life to art?

That moment happens all the time. Every time I finish a body of work, and every time I start again, I am left feeling like it is the beginning. I re-evaluate nearly everything in my life, necessarily and unnecessarily, and a moment always arrives when I make a dedication to give this my all, as if I have never been here before.

With that said, the first moment I can recall this inner affirmation happening was age 12. I made an over-exposed print in the dark room of my middle-school photography class. My teacher handed me mod-podge, newspaper, and black paint, and said, “Well, make something of it.” And so I did. That moment gave me my first emotional release via creation. I was feeling distraught and in pain from my older brother’s addiction running rampant again, and I was able to transfer those feelings into a visual expression. I remember getting a rush from it and thinking to myself, “I need this forever.”

Austyn Weiner, A Song That Is No Longer (2020). Photo courtesy the artist
Austyn Weiner, A Song That Is No Longer (2020). Photo: Courtesy the artist.

What is your process of making a new work? Is there much preparation or is it a spontaneous act?

My process lends itself to having room for both the calculated and the spontaneous. Words tend to lead me to visuals. I pick up on words anywhere and everywhere: a lyric in a song, my grandmother’s lectures, a taboo text message, a hypothetical love note.

Drawings and doodles also spark inspiration, which leads me to need to see that drawing bigger, and with more of an emphasis on its importance.

Most of the time I approach a painting with no idea as to what it will be. But once in a while it hits like an arrow, and I know exactly what this work needs to become.

When you feel stuck or uninspired, what do you do?

The best thing I could do for myself is get out of my own way. I like doing things that are not about me or my practice. Getting in my car and driving to the mountains so I can feel small. Spending time with people who are tapped into a completely different life than mine also greatly fulfils me. Anything and anyone that makes my worries feel small, and my connection to my spirituality feel big, is where and who I tend to gravitate toward.

Can you describe a major moment of growth that you’ve experienced?

In the first three months of quarantine, I experienced what felt like years of growth. All plans were broken, all self-fulfilling accolades shelved. I was left with nothing but my truth. I felt uninhibited and free to think and create in whatever way I felt fit for that moment. I became extremely attuned to my sensitivity to other people’s energy, and the measurement of time and the anxiety that provokes in me. I learned how to operate independently, and on my own schedule and to feel confident in that notion.

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