This week, HBO premiered its new documentary, “Black Art: In the Absence of Light,” documentary the struggle and success of African American art.
The kicks off with artist and art historian David Driskell who is invited to discuss his innovative show, “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750-1950,” the first major museum study of its subject. Driskell’s show is the main inspiration for filmmaker Sam Pollard’s feature-length film.
“It’s an opportunity to see the lineage of African-American artists in the 19th century, the 20th century and up to today, the 21st century. And I think the other thing that makes it vitally important, you see from these contemporary artists that we interviewed and shot in the film, people like Amy Sherald, Jordan Casteel and Theaster Gates and Kehinde Wiley,” said Pollard.
The doc features insights from scholars and historians and interviews from a new generation of working African American curators and artists, including Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald and Carrie Mae Weems.
“We always were represented music, but not movies, not in the arts, so now it’s an opportunity to see that. I mean, one of the things that’s really interesting in this film is that little young girl looking up at Michelle Obama in the portrait that Amy Sherald created. That’s phenomenal that she can see the First Lady of the United States, a Black woman, you know, who she can feel a certain level of esteem about and feel emboldened that she could one day be a First Lady of the United States. I mean, that’s important.”
“Black Art: In the Absence of Light” premiered on Feb. 9.