Nicola Vassell Curates The 2014 Blak Eye Art Exhibition

Nicola Vassell’s Black Eye and What it Means for the Future of Art

Nicola Vassell, former Deitch Project and Pace Director, has something to say and she aims to say it loud with her new show “Black Eye.” Citing a lack of sensitivity to social issues in the art world, she hopes the show (opening today, May 2) will highlight the lack of and need for more diversity in the art world. The participants of the show include 26 emerging and established black artists including Wangechi Mutu, Jacolby Satterwhite, Steve McQueen and Kerry James Marshall to name a few.

Vassell spent the last two years organizing and preparing for the show and noted that Obama’s re-election served as a sign that “Black Eye” was the direction she wanted to go with the show,

“We all agreed that it was monumental the first time having a black president — and what it all meant to the global community, but the second time around was charged with a different air.”

T Magazine offered this perspective on the significance of Vassell’s upcoming show:

Vassell’s show implies double entendre; it speaks to both the wounds left by racism and the freedoms afforded by seeing from the perspective of black experience. “A black eye is our true tool — it’s the thing a lot of us rely heavily on for this art world to even exist,” she explains. “But at the same time, a black eye is the document of having been bruised.”

Check out a preview of the works from the participating artists below, and watch artist Wangechi Mutu explain her process and inspirations in the video player up top.

Kerry James Marshall "Buy Black"

Hank Williams "Invisible Man"

Derrick Adams Head 12

Nicola Vassell’s “Black Eye” will open tonight and will be on view May 2 – 24 at 57 Walker Street in New York City. More information can be found at

[h/t T Magazine]

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