Orti Gat, Art Agenda, October 5, 2018


Another Chicago-based group is shown at Kavi Gupta; “AFRICOBRA 50” (which stands for African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), curated by the co-founding member Gerald Williams, includes paintings, sculptures, and clothes by 12 artists largely from the late 1960s and ’70s but also including Jae Jarrell’s Jazz Scramble Jacket (2015), silkscreening a jazz-term crossword to a jacket. Both exhibitions, at the museum and one of the city’s most internationally recognized galleries, create complete environments in which the works are displayed with walls painted in vibrant colors. It feels fitting, yet also insular: as these histories are charted, there is little attempt to tie these local groups to a larger context or even to each other, though they are contemporary and their colorful, comiclike aesthetic do seem like they could illuminate each other. (And maybe add some much-needed political content to Hairy Who, as AFRICOBRA work dealt directly with Civil Rights subjects, for example in Barbara Jones-Hogu’s Unite [1971], a screenprint on paper from an image of a group of men raising clenched fists.)

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