Red Hook Gallery Mulls Civil Rights in the Age of Obama

By Alan Neuhauser on September 7, 2012 2:20pm 

The Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook debuts its latest exhibition Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, titled 'To Be Young, Gifted and Black in the Age of Obama.'
The Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook debuts its latest exhibition Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, titled 'To Be Young, Gifted and Black in the Age of Obama.'
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Kentler International Drawing Space

RED HOOK — Current events take a front seat at the Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook, which is debuting its latest exhibition Friday titled, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black in the Age of Obama."

The exhibition, which runs through Oct. 21, takes its name from the 1970 Nina Simone song, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," which became a top-10 rhythm-and-blues hit and an anthem of the civil rights movement.

Artists Alonzo Edwards, Duron Jackson, Yashua Klos, Jasmine Murrell, Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Senghor Reid, Alexandria Smith and Matthew Thomas, all born after 1970, were asked to read selected works by black writers from the late 1960s then draw their responses. Curator Camille Ann Brewer selected which works to include in the exhibition. 

"It is really timely," Kentler founder and director Florence Neal said. "It's not about the election, it's about how these artists see themselves.

"A lot of them saw a lot of hope. A lot of them saw more guns and violence."

One work depicts a close-up of an iPhone with "The Good Life' printed on the screen. Another abstract work shows silhouettes of American prisons.

"They're all compelling for different reasons," Neal said.

The exhibition opening will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., and a curator's talk will take place Sunday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m. The gallery, located at 353 Van Brunt St., will then be open Thursday through Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.

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