Iona Rozeal Brown
Y. David Chung
An in-depth look at an intersection between African American and Asian American cultures from the 1970s and 1980s. The nearly fifty works in different media by nineteen contemporary American artists of diverse backgrounds interpret political and philosophical connections among people of color, as well as explore their resonance in pop culture and urban life. Curator Christine Y. Kim
"Hybrids exist everywhere, most definitely in urban cultures, vernaculars and dialects, art forms, and even polymorphic identities...and sometimes it isnâ€™t until we trace the multiple lineages and their intersections that we see how cross-pollination is the norm, and singularity or purity is really the blip on the radar screen."
- Black Belt Curator Christine Y. Kim
From December 11, 2004 - February 12, 2005 Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Black Belt, an in-depth look at an intersection between African American and Asian American cultures from the 1970s and 1980s. The nearly fifty works in different media by nineteen contemporary American artists of diverse backgrounds interpret political and philosophical connections among people of color, as well as explore their resonance in pop culture and urban life.
Back in the day when Carl Douglasâ€™s song Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting was a hit, and Bruce Lee was making his last film Game of Death, co-starring Kareem Abdul Jabar, young people were creating the foundation for hip-hop culture with their break-dancing and rhyming in the Bronx. The Asian immigration boom was changing the urban landscape of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Black Belt reflects this unique cross-cultural fascination with Bruce Lee, Kung Fu, and Eastern martial arts imagery in a wide range of works in different media, including: a video game collaboration between Mark Bradford and Glenn Kaino; neon Ninja throwing stars by Kori Newkirk; watercolors by Patty Chang; a movement-sensored sound chamber by Luis Gispert; a multi-channel hopfu-inspired video wall by Rico Gatson; and a sound work by Sean Duffy.
Organized by Christine Y. Kim, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Black Belt is accompanied by a 100-page catalog including a conversation among some of the artists in the exhibition, and essays by Kim, Latasha Natasha Nevada Diggs, and Vijay Prashad.
Black Belt Artists:
Iona Rozeal Brown
Y. David Chung
Friday, December 10
Membersâ€™ preview and walk-through with curator Christine Y. Kim of The Studio Museum in Harlem 6â€“7 p.m.; general reception 7â€“9 p.m.
Featuring THE BEAT JUNKIES
The hip-hop collective The Beat Junkies will perform throughout the evening. Black Belt is comprised of forty-five works in different mediums by nineteen contemporary American artists from widely different backgrounds. These recent works speak to the black and urban fascinations with Eastern martial arts, philosophy, kung fu and Bruce Lee that began in the 1970s.Support for the opening reception is provided by Amarula Cream, Benihana, Bonterra Vineyards, Crystal Geyser Water Company, and Wild Oats Natural Markets.Santa Monica Museum of Art is located at Bergamot Station, G1, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica.
Tuesday, December 14, 6:30 pm
Santa Monica Museum of Art
The Chinese Connection
A comparative, historical, and politically engaged panel discussion on the unique relationship between African American and Asian American cultures. Panelists include: Anne Cheng, Associate Professor of English, University of California, Berkeley; Gina Dent, Assistant Professor of Womenâ€™s Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz; Jane Iwamura, Assistant Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California; Denise Khor, doctoral candidate, Ethnic Studies Department, University of California, San Diego; Cynthia Young, Assistant professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California; and moderator Christine Y. Kim, Associate Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Black Belt curator.
Admission: $10; Members: $5
Limited seating; please pay at the door
Monday, January 10, 7:30 pm
James Bridges Theater, UCLA
The Last Dragon
A screening of Berry Gordy's iconic 1985 film that illustrates the commanding influence of kung fu film on African American audiences. Followed by a discussion with actor and martial artist Taimak, star of The Last Dragon, and Warrington Hudlin, producer of such films as Boomerang, and House Party, and curator of a monthly martial arts series at the Museum of the Moving Image, New York. In collaboration with the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA.
Parking available in Lot 3 for $7.
Thursday, January 20, 7:30
George & Sakaye Aratani Central Hall, Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Return of the Dragon
An examination of the impact of political movements, demographic shifts, and the fantastic idolatry of Bruce Lee on the complex co-existence of Asians and African Americans in 1970s Los Angeles. Participants include: artist Mark Bradford; scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Southern California; and Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, co-founders and editors of Giant Robot magazine.
In association with the Japanese American National Museum.
SMMoA is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sunday, Monday, and all legal holidays. For further information about exhibitions and educational programming, please call 310 586-6488 or visit the website.
Black Belt is organized by The Studio Museum in Harlem. Education programs organized by Naima Keith, SMMoA Education Department Fellow.
Black Belt is made possible in part by the Peter Norton Family Foundation. Additional support has been provided by MTV Networks. The exhibition catalog is funded in part by Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg.
Special thanks to V. Joy Simmons, M.D., Amarula Cream, Benihana, Bonterra Vineyards, Crystal Geyser Water Company, Wild Oats Natural Markets, and Writers Boot Camp.
Image: Y. David Chung
Video Projection; total running time 3:20
Video assistant Emily Lee
Animation assistant Mark Schumaker
Sound by Pooh Johnston
Courtesy of the artist
Santa Monica Museum of Art is grateful to the following foundations and organizations for general operating and specific project support: The Annenberg Foundation; the California Community Foundation; the City of Santa Monica Cultural/Arts Organizational Support Grant Program; the Good Works Foundation; and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Special thanks to the Board of Trustees and the Friends and Members of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, CA 90404