Isaac Julien

When I graduated from art school in the 1980s I was interested in making art that engaged with the world. I still come from that perspective—it was post-punk, a zeitgeist thing—in which one makes discursive interventions into public spaces and does something different within them. If you work with pop-culture motifs, which is something I’ve done often, you’re more able to pursue an idea in a range of settings.

Baadasssss Cinema (2002) is a documentary I made for the Independent Film Channel about blaxploitation; it adds more of a historical and political trajectory than you find in most films of its kind. Baltimore, 2003, is a multi-screen video installation that holds a visual séance, so to speak, involving the same themes. It takes place in two Baltimore institutions: the Walters Art Museum and the Great Blacks in Wax Museum. The black, kitsch wax figures invade the Walters painting

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