This small and simple white cube gallery situated in the middle of a street named after a radical could be a metaphor the representation of urban art in fine art galleries. House of Art’s owner and collector, Richard Beaver, presents works that engage with the urban context, Blackness, and the underrepresented artistic narratives. These works inspire dialogue about the role and valuation of subculture in high art, the intersection of the urban community and art orthodoxy and discourse, and art institutions and their role in the sociocultural infrastructure of a community.
Beaver’s current exhibition, “The Games We Played” is a nostalgic look at youth and urban culture from an adult artistic perspective. From Street games to board games we re-discover games that were most prominent in the communities of artists that re-envision their youth. This exhibition of games is a meditation on the games we still play as adults. Art being the first one of them
Guy Stanley Philoche’s enlarged Monopoly pieces invites discussion about the role of board games in Black households of yesteryear. Monopoly was a cultural staple in many Black homes across America prior to the internet and electronic gaming era. In this game, critical thinking, negotiation, and financial management skills are used to attain land and property, however, in the greater Black community, it seems that these principles apply more precisely to the acquisition of material wealth, such as, luxury brands and personal.
Jamel Shabazz’s iconic photographs and Leroy Campbell’s elongated figures recall the vibrations and Character of the streets of Brooklyn. Depictions of sidewalk chalk and fire hydrant games evoke the sounds of laughter and “HYDRANT’S ON” trumpeting down the block. These works conjure the glittering aspects of a time past, when games temporarily removed you from a reality where racial tension where high, poverty was normal, and crack was sweeping the streets. “The Games We Played” maybe suggests the things we did to distract us from what was really going on. Perhaps reflecting on these games consciously will rupture the imaginary causing one to think about what we refused to see or look at in those times. Or ways in which we still do that today.
This exhibition will close with a reception on January 11, 2014, 6pm-9pm.
Frank Morrison’s new collection, Live. Love. Jazz. will show at House of Art part of a 3-day Holiday Exhibition December 13-15. Check the Website for more details.
House of Art Gallery/408 Marcus Garvey Blvd/Brooklyn, New York 11216/Phone 347.663.8195/HOAGallery.com