Culturally Specific Contemporary Art

Claudia LaRocco gets a great quote Georgianna Pickett in her Times article “Autumnal Choreographers in Full Bloom at 651 Arts“:

“One of the tenets that 651 is built on,” Ms. Pickett said, “is that black artists are important contributors to contemporary culture. It’s not like black people just have these innate talents that make us great dancers or musicians, and black folks come to these things because of just natural tendencies. We use the same level of creativity and rigor and discipline and training, and create new culture, new work, new thinking and new art.”

This is such a vital and important point.  My work in Jewish culture has engaged with the same notion and we’re seeing this across the board – culturally specific organizations working to foster contemporary engagements with identity. It is a big challenge.  Both within ethnic communities and from the mainstream we see resistance. Ethnic communities cling to outmoded notions of “authenticity” and the mainstream can be very biased about any work that comes from an ethnically specific background unless it is sufficiently “otherized”. I hope to convene a public conversation on this topic soon. Interested in hosting? Let me know.

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