new-york

“The Magic City”

Brent Sikkema

CURATOR TREVOR SCHOONMAKER titled his six-artist show “The Magic City” after jazz pioneer Sun Ra's 1965 album, which in turn was named for the sobriquet that Ra's hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, has seen fit to bestow on itself. While the work assembled here is on the whole too refined to bear comparison with the eccentric visionary force of Sun Ra's Afrofuturist aesthetic, it does have a Ra-like affinity for fantasy, eclecticism, and humor—unusual qualities in work that addresses the fraught issues of race and power in America.

Barkley L. Hendricks's life-size portraits argue eloquently for the fantasy and dignity in his urban subjects' self-stylings. The regal superfly type in Noir, 1978, presides over the exhibition from the wall opposite the entrance. His gaze is met by the watchful, slightly anxious look of the woman in Latin from Manhattan, 1980. Roberto Visani's sculptures of

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2000 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.