previews

  • Benjamin Patterson, Pond, 1962. Performance view, Verona, Italy, 1994.

    “Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art”

    Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
    5216 Montrose Boulevard
    November 17–February 15

    Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver

    Over the past decade, performance and its histories have become increasingly central to art-related discourses of various stripes, though few have afforded black practitioners a sustained critical engagement, let alone an officially sanctioned platform. This ambitious multimedia exhibition, an expansive survey devoted to black performance art, aims to do just that. Including roughly eighty works by an intergenerational roster of thirty-six participants—from grand masters like Benjamin Patterson to rising stars such as Xaviera Simmons—the show explores the ways in which artists of color have consistently engaged the performative field since the 1960s. The accompanying catalogue, which will feature contributions by CAMH senior curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, Yona Backer, Naomi Beckwith, Tavia Nyong’o, Clifford Owens, and Franklin Sirmans as well as a chronology of black performance art, promises to be both a useful resource and a landmark in its own right.