Tony Cokes, Black Celebration, 1988 (still). Black-and-white video, sound. Courtesy the artist; Greene Naftali, New York; Felix Gaudlitz, Vienna; Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles; and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York
Grace Deveney’s research will consider how technology influenced the practices of Black artists working in the 1980s and 1990s. With a focus on photography and video that use collage, montage, and appropriation, Deveney will build a framework that considers the use of fragmentation and reconstitution to explore overlooked histories and their relationship to the present. Over the course of the grant period, Deveney will spend dedicated time in public collections and private archives in the Black diaspora to develop an exhibition narrative and preliminary checklist, and to consult with visual artists and writers on commissions.
Darrel Ellis, Untitled (Laure and Mother in Crotona Park), 1988–91. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Candice Madey, New York and Adam Reich
Howardena Pindell, War: Cambodia (Over 5 Million Killed), 1988. Chromogenic print. Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York
This research builds on Deveney's previous academic work considering the ways Black artists responded to the absences and biases they observed on television, ranging from the lack of representation in programming to misperceptions of protests and political actions. For many artists, counternarratives emerged through play with the structures, materials, and forms of network television. Deveney also explored the language used to describe and promote popular technologies that emerged during the 1980s to the 2000s when commercial television transitioned from broadcast to a subscription-based cable model, and the internet emerged as a new form of information sharing and entertainment.