The Queer Art that Helped Define Post-Blackness / Hyperallergic

Mickalene Thomas, “Hotter Than July” (2005) (all images courtesy Derek Conrad Murray)

Mickalene Thomas, “Hotter Than July” (2005) (all images courtesy Derek Conrad Murray)

LOS ANGELES — “Post-black” is a term that’s thrown around a lot, though its meaning is not totally fixed. In Derek Conrad Murray’s book Queering Post-Black Art: Artists Transforming African-American Identity After Civil Rights, he argues that the intersectionality of sexual politics and queer identities has been essential in shaping and defining post-blackness. Murray, a professor at UC Santa Cruz specializing in African-American/African Diaspora art and culture, does not focus on blackness as race, but more so as a racial, social construct. For him, the “black” in post-black refers to a construction of what blackness is, and “post-black” is a means for redefining the parameters of blackness.

“If post-black represents a threat, it is to the hegemony of hetero-patriarchal expressions of blackness that, in their essentialist logics and racial nostalgia, relegate African-American identity to a series of limiting scripts,” he writes in the introduction of the book. “In response, I argue that post-black is simply a notion. It is an idea that allows for intellectual discussion to occur.” As such, it is fitting that in this collection of essays, Murray expounds upon his ideas around post-blackness by drawing on the works of artists Glenn Ligon, Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas, and Kalup Linzy. All of these artists were born after the Civil Rights Movement, and all have themes of queerness within their work. I caught up with him recently to talk more about how he got involved in this research and why chose these artists to consider questions around post-blackness.

Read the full interview on Hyperallergichttp://hyperallergic.com/361646/the-queer-art-that-helped-define-post-blackness/