Arts+Culture TX: Empathy as an Ultimatum at Project Row Houses

Full article by Casey Gregory


I’ve been thinking about empathy lately: How to generate it in myself and, maybe, as a byproduct, in others.   My recent visit to Project Row Houses’s 46th round of exhibitions, Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at Project Row Houses, on view March 25 through June 4, introduced me to a new way to consider empathy: As an ultimatum.

The simultaneously forceful and pleading statement “You gotta love us or leave us alone” is emblazoned on the front of the center row-house. It is an untitled work attributed to Ephemera Group of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter. Most of the artists in this round are New York-based, described as “a collective of Black women, queer, and gender non-conforming artists…formed in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” people who are continually fighting the limits placed on them by dominant aspects of mainstream culture. They state the laudable goal of working with local artists to form a Houston chapter of BWA for BLM.