Hannah Black

  • slant July 17, 2019

    The Tear Gas Biennial

    WARREN B. KANDERS DIDN’T EARN HIS PLACE as vice chair of the board at the Whitney Museum of American Art through his good taste alone. He has also used some of his estimated $700 million fortune to make tax-deductible donations to support exhibitions at the museum. What successful enterprise has made this generosity possible? Thanks to the collective, years-long effort of activists, students, and reporters to bring everyday brutality to light, we could tell you quite a lot about Kanders’s company Safariland, which does a brisk trade supplying batons, handcuffs, holsters, and body armor to police


    THE MOVIE BLACK PANTHER was released in February of this year. The same month, Herman Bell—formerly of the Black Liberation Army, an underground Black Power group composed of members of the Black Panthers—was up for parole after forty-five years in prison. Black Panther grossed $241.9 million in its opening weekend, netting a handsome profit for Walt Disney Studios. Bell’s hearing was delayed and culminated in an unusually long deliberation period, but he was eventually paroled in mid-March. Fifteen other former Black Panthers remain in prison; some have died while doing time, and all

  • slant February 27, 2017

    New World Disorder: Hannah Black

    FOR MANY PEOPLE, 2016 was the year that a fantasy of progress contorted into exasperation: “I can’t believe it’s 2016 and people are still racist!” This feeling of belatedness is always beginning to give way to the evident fact that the passage of time alone, in either personal or collective historical life, is not enough to fix catastrophes. For a wound to heal, its cause has to stop. Thus transatlantic slavery, to give an important example, keeps insisting on its unhealed historical reality. An optimistic astonishment that a Black president was just as capable of presiding over drone bombings

  • the 9th Berlin Biennale

    ADRIAN PIPER’S WORK Everything #5.1, 2004, installed in KW Institute for Contemporary Art for the Ninth Berlin Biennale, is a hole excised in a wall in the shape of a tombstone. A Plexiglas sheet is installed over the gap, printed with the text EVERYTHING WILL BE TAKEN AWAY. The phrase is adapted from a passage in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1968 novel In the First Circle: “Once you have taken everything away from a man, he is no longer in your power. He is free.”

    The title Everything #5.1 suggests that the “everything” that constitutes a person can be continually revised and updated, like software.


    THE PHRASE IDENTITY POLITICS is hard to approach directly because it is often put to use in contradictory ways. One is the really existing identity politics of, for example, the Hillary Clinton campaign. We are encouraged to vote for Clinton simply because she is a woman, as the writer Sydette Harry described in a 2015 essay for the New Inquiry: “The prospect of a woman presidential candidate is depoliticized into an overdue payment . . . something seen in 2008 as a sign of moral weakness in Black voters [i.e., voting for Obama because he is black] is considered a feminist rallying cry in white