This special serves as a powerful introduction for mainstream audiences to a small subset of the countless brilliant Black visual artists working today, I gives a hint of the genius they bring, and that which came before them.
Most of the material is like a review for those who are studied in contemporary art. However, the documentary is refreshingly non-academic as it appears to be aimed at a general audience network. You could look at "Black Art: In the Absence of Light" as a crash course in Black art history.
The film offers a beautiful introduction to a large number of the current preeminent Black artists. For watchers acquainted with their names and accomplishments, it is an absolute delight.
Kerry James Marshall's presentation is smart, straightforward, and insightful. We meet Faith Ringold, and enjoy the rebel that she is; Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, painters of the Obama’s presidential portraits, are featured. Both seem lit from the inside to shine onto the world. We get to consider Theaster Gates’ deep philosophy.
We are shown a rare view of Radcliff Bailey at work in his studio, and get to see Kara Walker’s cutouts and Domino Sugar Factory installation which remain as keystone, provocative and shocking as the day they were introduced.
All together, "Black Art..." provides us an compelling time capsule of creative genius.
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Rob J Phillips