Black Lives Matter: Black Artists Matter

As tragic events unfold across our country, we at The Lab embrace the Black community with outstretched arms. Our hearts are broken for the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and so many more. We strongly affirm that BLACK LIVES MATTER. We are ashamed that our country not only permits, but has created, institutional racism and systemic cycles of poverty — and that our society has ignored blatant bigotry and persistent bias for far too long. We, at The Lab, want to be part of a process of redemption for our country. All people in the United States must be equal in both the law and in the hearts of mankind.

As believers in the power of art — the messages it conveys and the conversations it has with our soul — we affirm that BLACK ARTISTS MATTER. So much of the struggle for people of color in the United States is expressed and addressed in the artwork of many exceptional Black artists. And, as is the case with so much created by and from the Black community, much of it has been overlooked, under represented and undervalued by the art world at large.

We would like to call attention to the many Black artists who have shaped our vision — those whose work we have collected, who have inspired us, and who have informed and impacted our views on prevailing culture and art history.

We are fortunate to have been educated and moved by seeing, experiencing and trying to understand works from the following artists. We know this list is but the tip of an iceberg that we are eager to explore more deeply.

Chakaia Booker / https://chakaiabooker.com/
Mark Bradford
Nick Cave
Beauford Delaney
Sam Gilliam
David Hammons
Rashid Johnson
Jacob Lawrence
Norman Lewis
Glenn Ligon / http://www.glennligonstudio.com/
Kerry James Marshall
Julie Mehretu
Joe Overstreet
Howardena Pindell / https://www.howardenapindell.org/
Alma Thomas
Mickalene Thomas / https://www.mickalenethomas.com/
Kara Walker / http://www.karawalkerstudio.com/
Kehinde Wiley / https://kehindewiley.com/
Purvis Young / https://www.purvisyoung.com/

Howardena Pindell Untitled 1972 and Video Drawings 1975-76

Howardena Pindell Untitled 1972 and Video Drawings 1975-76

Please take the time to look up these artists. Open your heart to their messages, their struggle, their beauty, their experiences and their stories. If we can truly feel and understand the narrative of these artists, perhaps together, we can begin to create solutions that heal the pain caused by racism and injustices in our country.

Art is often the medium to best express important, sometimes difficult, messages, and we want to do our part to ensure this channel not only exists, but is encouraged, embraced and amplified. Art, when done well, allows us to feel what others feel. And it is those very feelings that can serve to mobilize us to action. Sometimes those important steps come not from the feet, but from the heart, mind and soul. We affirm our commitment to these artists and intend to revisit their work and stories with a greater awareness and sensitivity, as well as actively seek to discover and promote other artists from this vital community. Please join us.

*Featured image: Chakaia Booker, The Color of Hope, 2010