The Atlanta Post looks at the growing market in African American art. Swann’s next African American art sale is October 6th.
Dr. Imo Nse Imeh, Assistant Professor of Art & Art History, Westfield State University, reveals a certain ambivalence:
As a Black artist, Imeh says that the cultural and identifying racial themes impact the value and price determined by the art world. “One must always keep this in mind: The white artist is the mainstream artist. Mainstream art is a white world. It is controlled by a white circle therefore determining who can purchase art.”
Even with the presence of the auction, galleries, museums and dealers, there lies another venue in which to reach the artist and that is technology. This has allowed for the artists themselves to be able to control who buys their art, where it is distributed and how it is used. This method is especially popular with young African-American artists.
Leopold Vasquez, founder of Sound of Art, a multi-faceted, visual arts-driven business that acts as a liaison between a vast pool of emerging artists and the art buying public, has noticed how technology has changed the motivation for many young artists. “What I have noticed about African-American art today that I sell is that it’s less about a message and more about connection. They have solved the issues and obstacles in dealing with representation. Technology has allotted them more options in connecting with more people. So it becomes less about their plight of being a black artist and more about them being an artist.”
Made in America: The Economics of Black Art (The Atlanta Post)