Antwaun Sargent on the Importance of Artists With Social Practices

Pin It
AN41 Antwaun Sargent
Self-portrait by Antwaun Sargent

In the new issue of AnOther Magazine, the American curator and critic reveals the artists that are exciting him

This article is taken from the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine:

“We’re in a moment of profound change and that has called for us to rethink the role of artists. I’m interested in artists who are taking social concerns and thinking them through creatively. Like Linda Goode Bryant, who thinks about space with real-life consequences and created an urban farm initiative. She uses farming like a painter uses a brush. Or the photographer Tyler Mitchell, who imagines a new type of figure. Or Amy Sherald, who asks what a new American image might look like in her paintings. Then you have Mark Bradford, who is exploring how to rebound as a community. And Kehinde Wiley, who is translating his painting practice into a space that allows younger artists to have the opportunities that he’s had. These are artists who are not painting a rosy picture of what the future should be, but putting their art on the line to establish that future. Like the Black arts movement of the 1960s and the Harlem Renaissance, these artists are rethinking their relationships with culture and society and what they want their art to do. I find that incredibly exciting.”

Originally from Chicago, Antwaun Sargent moved to New York City in 2011, where he worked as a kindergarten teacher before pivoting to art writing – for which he is now widely celebrated. Having initially written about his artist friends, in 2019 the budding curator and critic published his bestselling first book, The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, which spotlights 15 young Black artists currently setting the agenda in fashion photography – an accompanying exhibition has been staged at several art institutions around the world. At the beginning of this year, Sargent joined Gagosian as a director and curator, and this summer curated his first exhibition there, Social Works, a group show that considers the relationship between space – personal, public, institutional, psychic – and Black social practice. “For me,” Sargent says, “art is a profound medium that not only records our time in history, but also allows us to propose new possibilities of being.”

This shoot appears in the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine which will be on sale internationally from 7 October 2021. Head here to purchase a copy.