Blackbird, Virginia Commonwealth University’s online journal of literature and the arts, has featured an excellent interview with Nell Draper-Winston, Sarah Eckhardt and Gordon Stettinius on the life and photography of Louis Draper. A transcription of the interview and a compression via video are included.
Louis Draper: The Character of Everyday People, also includes contributor’s notes from each of the interviewees. Thanks to Sarah Eckhardt, Briget Ganske, Michael Keller and the Blackbird editorial staff for their work on this project. We are thrilled to take part in broadening the legacy of Louis Draper!
In conjunction with their Deborah Willis curated exhibition, Posing Beauty, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has compiled works by African-American artists from their own permanent collection entitled Identity Shifts. Among those works are several Louis Draper photographs, acquired by the VMFA in 2013 under the direction of Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Sarah Eckhardt.
From the VMFA press room:
“Since the museum’s founding in 1936, VMFA has actively collected work by African American artists. In conjunction with Posing Beauty, this collection-based display will feature works by African American artists that use representations of the human figure or some aspect of the body (including hair) to explore how we construct and perceive personal and cultural identity. The selection of paintings and sculptures from the 1970s to the present features an array of perspectives and styles that underscore the complex factors informing conceptions of race and gender. Many of the 21stcentury artists – such as iona rozeal brown, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Robert Pruitt – mix national, international, historical, and pop culture references with personal stylistic preferences to produce images that provoke more questions about identity than they answer. The selection of photographs offers a survey of 20thto 21st century work – from James VanDerZee to Carrie Mae Weems and Hank Willis Thomas – while also highlighting the work of lesser known artists, such as Richmond native Louis Draper, who played a primary role in founding the first African American photography collective, Kamoinge, in New York in 1963. Many of these works will be on view at VMFA for the first time.”
Here are some images included in the Identity Shifts exhibition: