The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion

Vibrant color portraits, conceptual images, and fashion editorial photographs by 15 emerging black photographers are the subject of this exhibition that fuses the genres of art and fashion photography in ways that break down their long-established boundaries. Over 100 photographs–many found in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns, and museums, as well as on the individual’s social media channels, reinfuse the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body with new vitality and substance. The images open up conversations around the roles of the black body and black lives as subject matter; collectively, they celebrate black creativity and the cross-pollination between art, fashion, and culture in constructing an image.  

Seeking to challenge the idea that blackness is homogenous, the photographs serve as a form of visual activism. It’s a perspective often seen from this loose movement of emerging talents creating photography in vastly different contexts– New York and Johannesburg, Lagos, and London. Often made in collaboration with black stylists and fashion designers, they present new perspectives on the medium of photography and the notions of race and beauty, gender, and power.

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The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion is organized by Aperture, New York and is curated by Antwaun Sargent.

The exhibition is made possible in part by Airbnb Magazine.

At the Detroit Institute of Arts, major support is generously provided by Cadillac.   

Additional support is provided the MSU Federal Credit Union and the Desk Drawer Fund and Maureen and Roy S. Roberts, Rhonda D. Welburn, and Bank of America.