The printed works, tapestries, and paperworks by American artist Noel W Anderson (b. 1981) on view consider the Black experience and its legacies between two eras of “Kings”–1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. presented his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, and 1992, with the brutal beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers and his ensuing plea, “Can we all just get along…?”
This exhibition furthers Anderson’s evolving exploration of Black sovereignty (and the symbolic implications of a “crown”) through the continuum of Black masculine (mis)representation in America. Critical to this inquiry are ghosts as subtext–spectral traces underpinning structural and systemic oppression. Sourced imagery from various media and archives are reprocessed by Anderson through manipulation and distortion. They raise questions about issues of race and gender, collectively exposing the haunting relationship between Black identity and structures of power. Pushing the boundaries of form and materiality, Heavy Is the Crown seeks to make real the immaterial.
Noel W Anderson received an MFA from Indiana University in Printmaking and an MFA from Yale University in Sculpture. He is also Area Head of Printmaking in NYU’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions. In 2018, Anderson was awarded the NYFA artist fellowship grant and the prestigious Jerome Prize. His solo exhibition Blak Origin Moment debuted at the Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati) in February 2017 and traveled to the Hunter Museum of American Art in October 2019. His first monograph, Blak Origin Moment, was published in 2019.
This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Erin Dunn, curator of modern and contemporary art. All works are by Noel W Anderson and © courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted.