• Glenn Ligon, Malcolm X (version 2) #1, 2000, vinyl paint and oil-based printed ink on canvas, 122 3/8 x 91 1/2".

    “Afro Modern: Journeys Through the Black Atlantic”

    Tate Liverpool
    Albert Dock
    January 29–April 25, 2010

    Curated by Tanya Barson and Peter Gorschlüter

    The anchor of this century-spanning show is Paul Gilroy’s 1993 study The Black Atlantic, which debunked the notion of a universal black racial identity and argued for the centrality of the black diaspora’s role in shaping twentieth century modernist aesthetics. With five of this exhibition’s sixty-five artists hailing from Africa, “Afro Modern” avoids a major shortcoming of Gilroy’s book: the absence of discussion of objects and ideas generated by Africans in Africa. This survey of some 150 works encompasses not only diaspora artists such as Romare Bearden and Keith Piper and African nationals such as Uche Okeke and Candice Breitz but also canonical European modernists like Picasso and Calder. This is thrilling. The accompanying catalogue contains writing by Manthia Diawara, Édouard Glissant, Thelma Golden, Kobena Mercer, and others.