Skin + Masks: A Top Rapper Makes His Curatorial Debut

Annie Armstrong, ArtNet News, April 29, 2022






Some people really can just do it all. Rapper Vic Mensa is the latest celebrity to take a waltz into the art world with a show he curated for Chicago’s revered Kavi Gupta. The group show, opening June 18 and including 17 Black artists, is titled “Skin and Masks” in a reference to Frantz Fanon’s book Black Skin, White Masks. All proceeds from the show will go to Mensa’s nonprofit, Save Money Save Life, which is currently working to establish an arts program in AccraGhana.


“The artists I’ve selected, who come from places like Chicago and Los Angeles to Ghana, Capetown, and everywhere in between, all express individual experiences that extend beyond racial projections,” Mensa told Wet Paint.


Many of the artists are rising stars, such as Chicago-native Darryl Westly, a former painter in Jeff Koons‘s studio whose surreal, heavily referential paintings got their auction debut at Phillips London in February last year, where Interior/Exterior #3 Balcony(Beirut) (2017) nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for about $8,000. Another one to watch from Mensa’s stable is Josie Love Roebuck, who works mostly in drawing, mixed media, and textiles. Her quilt pieces often depict imagery of children getting their hair done, or literally incorporate the artist’s own hair bows from when she was a child.


“Vic’s commitment to championing diverse and underrepresented voices strongly aligns with our ethos as a gallery,” Gupta told Wet Paint about the decision to work with the “U Mad” rapper. “Vic’s brought together an incredible group of emerging and established artists whose work fosters critical conversations about art, ideas, and the struggles that unify us.”



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