The Shed Open Call + Updates

Image: Ayanna Dozier, Soft Waves_#1 (2019)

“Launched as part of The Shed’s inaugural year program, Open Call is a large-scale commissioning program for early-career NYC-based artists. For its second iteration, 27 new artists have been selected by interdisciplinary leaders and professionals in their fields, including other artists and members of The Shed’s staff, to present work in 2021 and 2022. Selected artists will each receive a commissioning fee of up to $15,000 depending on the scope of their projects, robust production support, and resources to further nurture their practices and expand their audiences …”

Proposal: Cities of the Dead (2021)
Abandoned architectural plans for a “Negro Coney Island” reimagined in photos, film, and architecture …

Recent Press

Gulf Coast is proud to announce the winner of the 2020 Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing, Ayanna Dozier, for her essay "Sound Garden: Ja’Tovia Gary’s The Giverny Document."

“Original in thought and courageous in its departure from the beaten path, Ayanna Dozier’s “Sound Garden: Ja’Tovia Gary’s The Giverny Document” greets our moment head on. This essay will pique the interest of the afficionado though it bounds with enough creative verve for any careful reader.” —Judge Franklin Sirmans

Image: Tariku Shiferaw, Kenya (2020)

Review for Abstraction in the Black Diaspora in the Brooklyn Rail by Elizabeth Buhe

"The last five years have seen a spate of critical texts and exhibitions that theorize Black abstraction, attempting to animate, through the lens of historic and contemporary art, a field of production that has been understood since the 1950s as powerfully yoking artwork to artistic identity …

Abstraction in the Black Diaspora (closes December 20th) at False Flag Gallery, co-curated by Ayanna Dozier & Tariku Shiferaw and featuring artists; Adebunmi Gbadebo, Alteronce Gumby, Ashanté Kindle, and Tariku Shiferaw. False Flag is located at 11-22 44th Rd, Queens, NY (2pm - 6pm)

Review for Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope for The Monthly by Lesley Chow

“Janet Jackson is that strange phenomenon: a star who is ubiquitous yet underrated, a singular talent but also a punchline. Tabloid tales and wardrobe malfunctions aside, the sonic innovations of her work remain astounding. In collaboration with her long-time producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jackson has been responsible for some of the most gripping sounds of the last four decades…”

Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope makes NME’s Top 20 Music Books of 2020

As a part of our minicast on politics, Ayanna Dozier – author, filmmaker, and performance artist – shares her experience writing aboutThe Velvet Rope for our 33 1/3 series, while tackling Black women’s sexuality and bodily autonomy, technophilia, online structures of oppression, and much more …

The Janet Jackson Podcast: 33 1/3 Episode

I also had the opportunity of chatting with the lovely Courtney and Kam who run the Janet Jackson Podcast about the book back in October. You can listen to it via Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope is available via Bloomsbury Press below

Recent Publications

“Pathé-ways in Time, Bodies, and Aesthetics: Onyeka Igwe’s Specialised Technique” in Non-Fiction #2: Power

Excerpt: “Specialised Technique(2018) is the concluding short of Onyeka Igwe’s video trilogy No Dance, No Palaver, which also includes Her Name in My Mouth (2017) and Sitting on a Man. Each film within the trilogy relates to the 1929 Aba Women’s War in Eastern Nigeria, where the Aba women protested British taxation for two years straight through the tactic of “sitting on a man”, an act of public shaming through dance that calls attention to injustice. This involves performing dances and songs that dramatise grievances against a specific figure, inhibiting him from conducting his daily affairs …”

Rebellious Inventions: Abstraction in the Black Diaspora for False Flag Gallery

This book-length essay by Dr. Ayanna Dozier accompanies the exhibition Abstraction in the Black Diaspora at FALSE FLAG, on view from October 24 until December 20, 2020.

The essay by Dr. Dozier centers artistic praxis to emphasize technique and embodiment as equally important aspects of art-making. This focus on praxis frames Black abstraction as an aesthetics of doing, rather than an aesthetics of representational meaning, restoring affirmative ontological, creative thought and action to abstraction’s relationship with Blackness in an era defined by anti-Black racism.

New articles at Screen Slate + Top 10 Film Selection of 2020

Top 10 and Best First Viewings List Here:

My latest piece for Screen Slate examines “Akasha’s Carnage” scene in Queen of Damned as a disruptive sequence that breaks the Cliché-structure of the film; periodically check Screen Slate’s website for recent work.

Softer wins Best Experimental at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival

Softer Trailer

Softer will play at several more film festivals through the Spring of 2021; announcements forthcoming.

Softer examines the demands of "softening" that are requested of Black women's bodies in society—from job prospects to romantic ones—be that in their voice, their manners, and, critically, their hair. The experimental short plays upon the grooming rituals of softening that are terrifyingly rough through a recreation of a permanent wave machine produced perm (popular in the 1930s-1950s). The short mediates on the historical ways in which Black women have tried to answer this demand on softness through respectable appearance and behavior.

I retired The Critical Thinkers Workshop Lecture series earlier this week with Hortense Spillers. I started the series as a response to the numerous reading lists passed around on anti-Black racism over the summer and wanted to create a series that would provide readers a toolkit for how to approach key Black feminists’ work. All the Critical Thinkers Workshop Lectures recordings are available via email request. Past sessions include the following scholars: Angela Davis, bell hooks, Sylvia Wynter, Saidiya Hartman, and Hortense Spillers. Recordings for these sessions are free but donations are welcomed. For the future, I plan to build workshops that focus on pedagogy and methods on misogyny, sexual justice, and sex worker’s rights. This new workshop model will not go up until the Spring of 2021 at the earliest.

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