May 19, 2008
of note

  Havana, Cuba  © julien de bock

of  note 
 celebrates the arts of our distinct yet intersecting diasporas. It is a space where art meets activism, empowerment, and social  responsibility.

Editorial Director
Grace Aneiza Ali

Executive Editor
Art & Film Editor
Sandrine Colard

Photography  Editor
Julien De Bock

Book Editor
Clarence Haynes

Theater Editor
Stella Vincenot-Dash

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I'm often disappointed when entering most galleries in New York City. Not because of the art displayed on the gallery walls; but more so because of the scarcity of people of color in these gallery spaces.  Even when the work adorning the walls vibrantly  celebrate people of color or comment on some aspect of the diaspora, we are largely absent.

I frequently question why this is the case. Is it a lack of information or limited access to artists of color that can explain why we are often unaware of their work?  Is it that galleries market and promote their exhibitions to particular audiences? Is it a reflection of the larger problem that exists in this country: an under appreciation for the arts? Or, is it an issue of  class: is the gallery a space still seen as inaccessible and unwelcoming to some of us?

More than likely, it's all of the above. In a city as diverse as ours, we have so many opportunities to support  artists of color. For example, featured in this week's of note are the works of African-American painter Basquiat, Japanese photographer Mochizuki, Indian sculptor  Kapoor, and Israeli artist Landau, among others. 

At some point, these opportunities need to lend themselves, dare I say, to a responsibility to support artists of color.  And that responsibility can express itself simply by showing up, by being in the room!

Grace Aneiza Ali

Image: Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Collaboration Paintings, Van de Weghe Fine Art


If you would like to submit reviews of arts events or editorials on the arts & people of color, please contact


Basquiat & Warhol: Collaborations
On view through June 8

Between the years 1984-1985, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat merged their disparate approaches to painting into a dynamic group of collaborative works on canvas.  The resulting paintings, six of which are displayed in the current exhibition alongside examples of each individual artist's works, underscored their unique styles and production method while at the same time giving rise to a vibrant and original body of work.  

Van de Weghe Fine Art
521 W. 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011

Masao Mochizuki: Television 1975 - 1976
On view through July 11, 2008

"Television 1975-1976" is the first US exhibition of images created in the 1970's by Japanese photographer Masao Mochizuki. By systematically photographing a series of images from television broadcasts into a progressive grid, Mochizuki illuminates the passive and manufactured manner through which the world is experienced and digested in contemporary society.

Pictured: Ali vs Frazier

Cohen Amador Gallery
The Fuller Building
41 E 57th Street, 6th Flor
New York, NY  10022

Anish Kapoor
On view through August , 2008

Anish Kapoor, born in 1954 in Bombay, India, has lived and worked in London since 1973.  In the undulating curves of form, in the passions elicited from the manipulation of material, Kapoor's sculptures stem from a universal experience of the world, while offering a wholly new vision of it. As Homi Bhabha wrote, Kapoor's works become a "living tissue, a contingent and relational medium," that seek to elevate the act of viewing to the level of spiritual awakening.

Gladstone Gallery
515 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

Projects 87: Sigalit Landau
On view through July 28

Sigalit Landau (b. Israel, 1969) has produced several works that explore her native Israeli landscape in a performative way, primarily through a video trilogy that experiments with circular movements and the act of spinning. In DeadSee (pictured), Landau floats in a spiral of green watermelons until the coil slowly unravels. The intensely red flesh of the fruits is revealed as they disappear, leaving the azure surface of the water nearly monochromatic.

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
btw 5th and 6th Avenues
New York, NY 10019

Josephine Meckseper
On view through June 7, 2008

Marking the 5th  anniversary of the war in Iraq, Josephine Meckseper transforms the commercial zone of the gallery into a conceptually politicized territory. Through her signature use of display systems and commodity structures, she exposes the "endpoints" of the United States' capitalistic and militaristic crusades since 2001: totalitarianism in the current era of war, globalization, and domestic crisis.

Elizabeth Dee
545 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

Mel Bochner
On view through May 24

Mel Bochner's paintings each contain a group of synonyms, starting with the simplest related words, and eventually devolving to vulgar colloquialisms and phrases.  The aggressive, painterly litany of language presents other possible connotations and undercurrents that move understanding ever further away from the basic idea of the original word.

 As in so much of his work, Bochner deftly dissects commonly-held assumptions of objectivity and ideology. In Bochner's own words, "Whether in the public or the private domain, my recent work attempts to confront the ideologies and hidden agendas of language. Because as recent history has painfully taught us, all abuses of power begin with the abuse of language."

Peter Freeman, Inc.
560 Broadway
Suite 602 / 603
New York, New York 10012

Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City
On view through August, 29

Eminent Domain presents selections from the work of five New York-based artists who have recently created large photographic projects that take on the theme of the modern city. All of the projects deal in different ways, and to varying degrees, with the changing nature of space in New York City today.

The collection features disappearing storefronts of the Lower East Side, life with a Chinatown family, and views from the unseen edges of New York City.

New York Public Library
D. Samuel & Jeane H. Gottesman Exhibition Hall
5th Avenue & 42nd Street
New York, NY  10018


Dance Africa
Through Monday, May 26

Now in its 31st year, BAM's DanceAfrica festival is a Memorial Day weekend tradition in Brooklyn, packed with dance, music, art, and film events from Mother Africa and the Diaspora-plus the popular outdoor bazaar of African crafts, food, and fashion. In honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge, DanceAfrica's artistic director Chuck Davis has named this year's festivities "Bridge to Cultural Rejuvenation & Enlightenment" and unites dance companies-from Gambia, Atlanta, Harlem, and Bed-Stuy-on BAM's Opera House stage.

Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217


The Trouble With Black Boys - Pedro Noguera
Monday, May 19 @ 6 pm

For many of us race will continue to shape where we live, pray, go to school, and socialize. In this brutally honest, yet ultimately hopeful, book Pedro Noguera examines the many facets of race in schools and society and reveals what it will take to improve outcomes for all students. From achievement gaps to immigration, Noguera offers a rich and compelling picture of a complex issue that affects all of us.

Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
Btw 124th and 125th Streets
New York, NY 10027

Church Ladies: Harlem's Abyssinian Women in the Powell Era
Tuesday, May 20 @ 7:30 pm

Abyssinian member and author Dr. Martia Goodson will discusss her forthcoming book based on oral histoy interviews with long-time Abyssinian church menbers who provide an insider's perspective on Abyssinian life and Harlem politics from the 1920's through 1970's.

Photo: Rev. Adam C. Powell, Jr with his wife, jazz pianist Hazel Scott and their son Adam C. Powell III

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
& 135th Street
New York, NY 10037

Poets in the Galleries:
This Case of Conscience: Spiritual Flushing and the Remonstrance
Sunday May, 25 @ 5 pm

The "Poets in the Galleries" at the Queens Museum of  Art series utilizes the galleries as invigorating sites of exploration, investigation and interactive readings and discussions. The current exhibition, This Case of Conscience:Spiritual Flushing and the Remonstrance allows for a wonderful springboard for the exchanges of ideas related to themes of religious freedom,
tolerance, diversity and spirituality, with the participation of distinguished and emerging voices in the local, national and international literary scene. Join poet Vijay Seshadri as he discusses his work and responds to the exhibition.

Queens Musem of Art
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Carona Park
Queens, NY 11368

Meditations and Ascensions: Black Writers on Writing
With Brenda M. Greene & Fred Beauford, Editors
Friday, May 30 @ 6 pm.

Representing conversations from the Eighth National Black Writers Conference in 2006, this collection provides in-depth meditations and analyses of literature by black writers. Reflections on the black experience, the American experience, and a more global experience and worldview are all widely discussed, as well as future trends and ascensions for black literature.  Participants include Marita Golden, Walter Mosley, Ishmael Reed, Herb Boyd, Valerie Boyd, Haki R. Madhubuti, Elizabeth Nunez, Tananarive Due, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Camille Yarbrough, Susan McHenry, and many others.

Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
Btw 124th and 125th Streets
New York, NY 10027


Tuesday, May 20 @  4 pm  & 9 pm

Drum depicts Sophiatown in the 1950s, a vibrant place full of music, love, and laughter; and the breeding ground for resistance. The film captures a period when a generation of courageous South African writers, critics, and musicians emerged, intermingling with Shebeen queens, and tsotsis (young gangsters). Taye Diggs anchors a commanding ensemble with his portrayal of legendary journalist Henry Nxumalo.

FIAF (French Institute: Alliance Francaise)
Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022

A Dream in Doubt
Friday, May 23 @ 10 pm
PBS/Channel 13

A Dream in Doubt is an immigrant story in a world in which patriotism has morphed into murder. When Rana Singh Sodhi's brother is killed in America's first post-9/11 revenge murder, he begins a journey to reclaim his American dream and fight the hate that continues to threaten his community. This intimate, hour-long documentary of one man's odyssey from persecution in India to embracing America as his homeland proves that courage and hope have the power to overcome hate.

Sangre de mi Sangre
Now playing @ IFC Center

Set in the hidden world of New York's undocumented immigrants, Sangre de mi Sangre -- winner of the top prize at Sundance (where it premiered under the title Padre Nuestro) -- opens as a young man sets out to get smuggled into the US. He's heading to New York to find the father he's never known, with only a letter to vouch for him. But when he arrives, he discovers the letter has been stolen, and his search becomes a desperate struggle to prove his identity, while fighting to keep alive on the city's mean streets.

IFC Center
323 Sixth Avenue
@ W. 3rd Street
New York, NY 10014


Alice Smith
Thursday, May 22 @ 9 pm

Alice Smith is, evidenced by  her solo debut, 'For Lovers, Dreamers & Me' (BBE Records), the most promising female singer-songwriter to go her own enrapturing way in a very long time. Her voice, with its four-octave range, is luscious and powerful and nuanced and finely sensitive to rhythm.

Yet it never makes a cult of its own abilities; for all its fantastic manners, Smith's voice gets on down the road. Sometimes she sings with a booming intensity, yet Smith never loses the unlearnable balance and poise that separates good singers from great ones. And her basic attitudes, which are audible in every unforced phrase she negotiates, are all her own.

Highline Ballroom
431 W. 16th St
New York, NY 10011

of note

Grace Aneiza ali

Sandrine Colard

Julien De Bock

Clarence Haynes

Stella Vincenot-Dash

Questions and Submissions


For many of us, the arts are central and inspirational to our life, work, and activism. As people of color, we are making great strides in terms of our representation on the stage, yet we are not equally represented in the audience. Even when it is work celebrating our histories, experiences, and cultures - we are often scantily present in the theaters, auditoriums, galleries, etc.

Out of that absence, of note was created. Its mission is to increase our access to and participation in the arts that celebrate people of color. The artistic works presented by
of note demonstrate a commitment to global citizenship and social change.

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