“Troubled times get the tyrants and prophets they deserve. During our current epoch, the revival of interest in author James Baldwin has been particularly intense. This is in part due, of course, to his ability to analyze and articulate how power abuses through cunning and force and why, in the end, it’s up to the people to topple kingdoms.
“As a galvanizing humanitarian force, Baldwin is now being claimed as a kind of oracle. But by claiming him as such, much gets erased about the great artist in the process, specifically his sexuality and aestheticism, both of which informed his politics.” — Hilton Als*
GOD MADE MY FACE—A COLLECTIVE PORTRAIT OF JAMES BALDWIN—a group show curated by Hilton Als, featuring the work of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Alvin Baltrop, Beauford Delaney, Marlene Dumas, Ja’Tovia Gary, Glenn Ligon, Alice Neel, Cameron Rowland, Kara Walker, Jane Evelyn Atwood, and James Welling—is on view through mid-February.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Metrograph and Als will present a series of films featuring Baldwin through the years, at home and abroad.
Through February 16.
525 and 533 West 19th Street, New York City.
Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2.
7 Ludlow Street, New York City.
See “The Energy of Joy: Hilton Als in conversation with David Bridel and Mary-Alice Daniel,” PARIS LA 16 (2019): 217–221.
From top: Marlene Dumas, James Baldwin, 2014, from the Great Men series exhibited at Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg, image credit: Marlene Dumas/Bernard Ruijgrok Piezographics; Beauford Delaney, Dark Rapture, 1941, oil on canvas; Alvin Baltrop, The Piers (man sitting), 1975-1986, photograph; Richard Avedon, James Baldwin, writer, Harlem, New York, 1945, © The Richard Avedon Foundation; Ja’Tovia Gary, An Ecstatic Experience, 2015, video still; Jane Evelyn Atwood, James Baldwin with bust of himself sculpted by Larry Wolhandler, Paris, France, 1975 (detail), gelatin silver print. All images courtesy David Zwirner.