August 10, 2022
By Angel Wallace
Ready to see Black photography and fashion through a new lens? Step into a whole new visual world with writer, editor, art critic and curator Antwaun Sargent and “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion” at Cleveland Museum of Art.
Sargent will bring this innovative exhibition to Cleveland between May 8 and Sept. 11—featuring 15 handpicked, game-changing artists from Lagos to London. Hailed by the New York Times as “art that reverberates beyond the gallery walls,” the exhibition skillfully marries art, fashion and photography with effervescent images and conceptualized portraits depicting Black style.
In “The New Black Vanguard,” themes of art, fashion, race, culture, gender and beauty are fused with photography in a groundbreaking way—charting the history and creation of the commercial Black image, while simultaneously proposing a revised brilliant future. Traditional barriers are shattered as these artists spark conversation around what Blackness is and what it represents via images addressing the complexities of Black lives, fashion, body image and thought.
Among the featured photographers are two who broke boundaries in fashion bible Vogue: Tyler Mitchell was the first African American to shoot a cover in the magazine’s 125-year history, while Nadine Ijewere became the first woman of color to do the same in January 2019. Other featured artists will include Awol Erizku, Campbell Addy, Micaiah Carter, Quil Lemons and more; collectively, they create a thought-provoking dialogue about Black culture and creativity seen from a multitude of viewpoints.
Unique to Cleveland, this edition of the traveling exhibit will feature a special addition within the gallery as Arielle Bobb-Willis, Daniel Obasi and Jermaine Daley debut 3D installations spotlighting the key roles that stylists play in how we consume fashion. “With this additional element of physical fashion, the artists are able to exhibit how fashion can delineate the most complex ideas of real Black experiences across the afro-diaspora,” states Darnell Lisby, assistant curator at Cleveland Museum of Art.
The exhibition is a living extension of Sargent’s book “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” as well as his appearances in the New York Times, The New Yorker and various art publications. See it at See it at Cleveland Museum of Art through Sept. 11.