May 20 – July 25, 2009
475 Tenth Avenue
New York City
Négritude, an experimental multi-disciplinary exhibition at Exit Art, explores the visionary 20th century political and artistic movement of the same name — coined by the Martinican poet, playwright, and politician Aimé Césaire in the 1930s — which flourished among Black intellectuals in post-World War I Paris and later spread to Africa, the United States and the Caribbean.
Négritude includes different “islands” created and produced by five individuals (Papo Colo, Tânia Cypriano, Rose Myriam Réjouis, Franklin Sirmans, Greg Tate) who are curators, cultural critics, scholars, filmmakers and artists, representing African-American, African, Caribbean and South American cultures. Over the course of several months, these individuals met to share their ideas and develop their “islands.” Each person was asked to produce their “island” of Négritude by presenting an exhibition of visual art; film screenings; music; performances; and/or public activities that detail their own experience, interest, or study of Négritude.
Showcasing several generations of African-American, Caribbean, South American and African artists, performers and writers, Négritude features work that examines the history, impact, and transmutations of this cultural movement. It looks beyond the historical Négritude movement to investigate also the emergence of the Harlem Renaissance and Modernism in the 1920s and 30s and contemporary responses to the concept of “blackness, highlighting the post-Civil Rights generation of black artists who have new perspectives on racial identity and politics.
Through a series of mini-exhibitions, film screenings, performances, readings, stories and discussions, Exit Art will examine the historical effects and contemporary impact of Négritude by exploring its archipelago, island by island.