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.

Creators Project: BWA for BLM Offers Space for Dialogue Between Black Female Artists in NY, LA, Houston, and London

Full article by Catherine Chapman

"This is an ideal place for us," [Simone Leigh] tells Creators. "Houston has a long history with community organizing. They're on a next level and I grew up in Chicago during Operation PUSH."

Social justice and racial discrepancies in art are an inherent factor in BWA for BLM's formation, as are the qualities that art possesses in pushing forward social change and grassroots gatherings. "The histories of Black Women's presence, or lack of presence, is unique in these different cities," she says. "Even the geography of the cities. The way LA is totally spread out, for instance, sort of effects the way we know each other. Even the work is different—there's lots of filmmakers in LA and a lot of painters and sculptures in New York."

Culture Type: Black Radical Women: This Spring, Several Group Shows Bring Together Works by African American Female Artists

Full list by Victoria L. Valentine

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter (BWAforBLM) is taking over Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward. The artist collective is programming seven art houses, creating spaces for dialogue to raise issues that impact the lives and movement of black people. Through performances, site-specific installations, objects, and multimedia, black women artists are providing a platform for sharing the experiences of black people and shining a light on racial injustice. Choosing activism as a response to racism, BWAforBLM was first organized during Simone Leigh‘s 2016 residency and exhibition at the New Museum in New York.