New York

Lyle Ashton Harris, Afropunk Odalisque, 2018, dye sublimation print, 18 × 24".

Lyle Ashton Harris

Salon 94

On the gallery counter at Lyle Ashton Harris’s show were two books for the public to leaf through, Robert Farris Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit (1983) and Amber Musser’s Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance (2018). Harris named his new project after the first of these, an influential, even inspiring attempt to describe aesthetic and cultural continuities between Africa and the African diaspora, but his work in general seems closer in temper to the second—a more theoretically informed book than Thompson’s, and addressing complexities of queer identity that were not Thompson’s concern, but still, happily, one sensually and erotically attuned to the art he discusses. On the surface, Harris’s new works themselves—a series of photographic self-portraits showing the artist naked but for a loincloth and a succession of African masks (and not always the loincloth)—seem to stage

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