Greg Tate

  • Anthony Braxton, Falling River Music (366a), 2004–, acrylic and ink on paper, 11 × 17". From “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now.”

    “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now”

    Black modernity, in its many splendors, is the focus of “The Freedom Principle.” The fifty-years-young Chicago music collective AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) grounds the exhibition in the rowdy and riotous 1960s jazz insurgency sparked by Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, and the AACM’s own world-renowned modernists: Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, and flagship group the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The AACM’s ethos of independence and intrepid exploration

  • Greg Tate

    IN HYPOTHETICAL, 1992, LORNA SIMPSON is Miles Davis. Starring the lips of Alva Rogers, this room-size installation swings allusions to the wall of Jericho up against the wall with the L.A. rebellion. Inside the bloated race and gender politicking of this biennial, her piece proves that a serious mindfuck can seduce like a balm. Or as no less a head wrecker than Ali put it, Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Simpson is Miles Davis because she knows black can be oblique and still stomp a foot up a cracker’s ass for breakfast. Hypothetical invokes cuts like the Davis Quintet’s version of


    READING GREG TATE’S CRITICISM is like joining a conversation already in progress. His writing is fast on the eye and fast on the ear, full of play and delight in language for its own sake. At the same time, Tate knows writing isn’t talk. “DisCOINTELPRO”—his term for “a form of record industry sabotage dubbed `disco’”—would never work around a table but it stops you dead in a line of prose.

    Since his work on music, art, politics—an ongoing argument with his colleagues, culture-makers, himself, and the esthetic weather—began appearing in The Village Voice in 1981, Tate has built up a head of steam


    Ten years of research, fundraising, and production went into the making of Daughters of the Dust, which later this month will become the first feature-length film written, directed, and produced by an African-American woman, Julie Dash, to enjoy a major theatrical release. The story, set in the Carolina Sea Islands at the turn of the century, focuses on the Gullah people, a group of African-Americans who retained a distinct Africacentric culture during slavery because they were isolated from the Southern mainland. The film’s central theme is the spiritual conflict experienced by one Gullah family


    YES MISS THING, there is an Afrocentric avant-garde brewing in your rock and your soul, your hip-hop and your hardcore thrash ’n’ roll. Black music is the only art form left where the Modernist imperative of stylistic succession and secession is still in effect. Hence it becomes not only proper to speak of a standing avant-garde in that field of cultural operation but undeniable as well. A good question to ask might be why there continues to be so much plastic possibility to the prospect of edgy formal innovation in Black music when the very notion is elsewhere considered a cul-de-sac, or at

  • Looking for Langston

    FOR MONTHS BEFORE ITS OCTOBER screening at the New York Film Festival, the word going around about Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston was that it was a hotbed of black homoerotica, the cinematic equivalent of a meat market well-hung with live and flopping dick, an Afrocentric phallus show set to outgawk-and-grope Robert Mapplethorpe. Never depend on scandalmongers when it comes to the naked truth. The film’s only frontal nudity is found in a silk-curtained gallery row of Mapplethorpe photographs, and no one except for those either easily titillated or turned off by the sight of two men kissing