May 11–November 17, 2024

Four Womxn: New Musings on Blackness

Inspired by “Four Women,” Nina Simone’s 1966 song of archetypes and stereotypes bestowed upon Black women, this exhibition explores those ideations and connections that transcend geography, age, class, sexuality, and artistry. Through poetry and film, four artists employ a balance of historiography and the radical imaginary to critique tropes and envision an end to the erasure of Blackness.

Grounded in a Black lesbian gaze, Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola’s Twerk Villanelle (2019) engages visitors textually in the space. Video installations by Shanequa Gay, Le’Andra LeSeur, and C. Rose Smith continue, each evaluating the different experiences of Black womxn. Gay’s The Crooked Room (2018) combines distorted video and photography to convey the unsettling and unifying state of living in the United States as a Black women. In White Out (2018), LeSeur examines the effect of navigating a world dominated by predominantly white spaces on Black queer womxn like herself. Influenced by contemporary fashion, queer theory and 19th-century photography, Smith’s Untitled no. 000 (2020) considers how a white cotton dress can signify hierarchy, ethics, and control.

By reinventing conventional art forms, these contemporary artists reclaim the entirety of their stories, producing new primary sources of visual, material, and textual culture.

  • Lizbeth and George Krupp Gallery (Gallery 264)