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Black Artists and the Fetishization of the 1980s

Eddie Chambers, The University of Texas at Austin

April 8, 2021 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Zoom

Department of Art and Archaeology

Over the course of the past decade and a half, there has been an acceleration of what I would describe as the fetishization of the 1980s. It is a decade that has come to be closely associated with a limited number of Black British artists whose work came to prominence in what has been dubbed the ‘Critical Decade’. But while some artists have prospered through an acceleration of the 1980s remembering of their work, others, who similarly emerged into visibility during the same broad period, are accorded no place in these revisionist narratives. What are the consequences and implications of the persistent advancement of arguably partial scholarship and curatorial attention? If ‘context’ within art history is all-important, what are we to make of scholarship and curatorial framings in which the 1980s exists as a sole context? To what extent might we speculate on wider lessons that might be learned within art history?

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