Salah Hassan - Biennials and difference

In conversation with Angela Vettese


Salah Hassan is the director of the Africana Studies and Research Center and professor of African and African Diaspora art history and visual culture, Department of History of Art and Visual Culture, Cornell University. He is founder and editor of NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. In 2003, he curated - with Olu Oguibe - Authentic/Ex-centric: Africa in and out of Africa, an exhibit through which both the idea of authenticity of African art - often blurred with primitivism - and the eurocentrism that shapes the perspective of art history and critics are challenged.

Yinka Shonibare, Vacation, 2000.

In this talk with Angela Vettese, Salah Hassan corrects some misinterpretations of modernity, modernisms and african modernism. All his curatorial and academic practice has been oriented to a discussion of the western criteria for the acknowledgment and validation of African art. Those criteria has always put under a generic umbrella of exotism all the heterogeneous african art production without taking into account the diverse colonial, post-colonial history, indipendence movements and migratory flows.

Moreover Hassan talked about the African Biennials - Johannesburg and Dakar in particular - about Thelma Golden's term post black and about the differences - within the artistic poroduction and the dinamics of black power - between Great Britain and USA. 

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