ARTE: Mykki Blanco x Zoe Leonard

"“I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils”. These are words published nearly 25 years ago by American artist and prominent Aids activist Zoe Leonard in her poem I Want A Dyke For President. In 2016, as we watch Hillary Clinton and, unbelievably, Donald Trump battle it out for control of America, as xenophobic politicians helped the United Kingdom leave the EU, as Russian bombs drop on Syria, the poem – that aggressively questions the violent banality of our elected politicians – remains as relevant and striking as ever."



So excited to see the new HBO comedy series "Insecure" by Issa Rae.  We've been fans of Issa since the early days of Awkward Black Girl.  The director Melina Matsoukas brought me in to consult on art for the show.  The show premieres on HBO October 9th, but if your an HBO GO or HBO Now subscriber than you can catch the first episode now. I've seen it and its soooooooo good.





Beck - WOW



Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you 
Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that.

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out 
tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to 
focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I 
learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. 
And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award - this is not for me. This is for the real organizers 
all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the 
struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are 
realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us 
cannot stand if we do.

It's kind of basic mathematics - the more we learn about who we 
are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular 
who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone 
before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we've been doing is looking at the data and we know that 
police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white 
people everyday. So what's going to happen is we are going to have 
equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure 
their function and ours.

Now... I got more y'all - yesterday would have been young 
Tamir Rice's 14th birthday so I don't want to hear anymore about 
how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 
12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on 
television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd 
how it's so much better to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612, or 
1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to 
Darrien Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money - that alone 
isn't gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating 
our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone's 
brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on 
our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the 
front lines of. There has been no job we haven't done. There is no 
tax they haven't levied against us - and we've paid all of them. But 
freedom is somehow always conditional here. "You're free," they 
keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn't acted 
so... free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, 
though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let's get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote: the 
burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not 
our job, alright; stop with all that. If you have a critique for the 
resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established 
record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest—if you 
have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make 
suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and 
we're done watching and waiting while this invention called 
whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight 
and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our 
entertainment like oil - black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our 
creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying 
us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of 
strange fruit. The thing is though... the thing is that 

Thank You.



Kilo Kish has a new video to my favorite song on RRT, "Hello, Lakisha" video is a collaboration with artist Yong oh Kim. She also has a performance in Moscow this week June 10th at the Strelka Institute, catch it if your there!



ARTE: Orpheus & Eurydice

One of my favorite films is the Brazilian "Black Orpheus" Gia Coppola does a film for Vogue by Gucci chronocling the myth.




Smashd presents “She Made It” a new original series which gives you an inside look at the authentic and inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs.


ARTE: Rebuild Foundation

Andre Wagner has a wonderful photo in the benefit auction for Theaster Gates Rebuild Foundation.  Click below to visit the auction and to buy tickets to the summer party!


ARTE: Suné Woods solo show at SF Camerawork

Suné Woods is the 2016 Baum Award winner for an emerging American photographer. The show is on view in San Francisco until June 25th at SF Camerawork


ARTE: Khalil Joseph x Lemonade

The trailer for the Kahlil Joseph film Lemonade for Beyonce.  Kahlil and his late brother Noah Davis have an exhibition on view now at the Frye Museum



Featured in Modern Painters magazine April issue. Read the article online at Artinfo



Lakwena takes over Shoreditch Boxpark with UP IN THE AIR and BIG UP!


The immersice installation continues Lakwena's expoliration into the use of decoration in worship and myth-making.  Here she juxtaposes a contemporary expression of the sacred with the intrinsically commercial and transient surroundings of BOXPARK re-appropriating a space synonymous with commerce and entertainment to create an intimate place of praise.

In her "box" unit #26 you can read the text "Throw your hands up in the air" painted across the walls and ceiling.  The phrase "bow down" in large silver vinyl letters is on the floor.  In the outdoor upstairs area of Box Park she has an outdoor installation with text that reads "Shout Out"



Check out Zoë Buckman in the April issue of W Mag as she discusses her solo show Every Curve! On newsstands now!!


ARTE: Rising Stars

OZY featured me under there Rising Stars column!!!!

Boy, can artist Derek Fordjour remember the first time he met Michelle Papillion. They were in a room full of big names and up-and-comers at the estate of a very important Black artist. Papillion stood up in her purple pants and great shoes and proclaimed: “I run a gallery in the hood.” 

Since then, Papillion’s gallery has shifted quarters, but not too far, and today you can find it below a neon sign — PAPILLION, it spells, in flamingo-pink capitals — in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Nearby, there’s Jamaican food, African-style silhouette murals and a whole lot of dudes drumming in the parking lot for a Friday afternoon. Maybe it’s an unlikely birthplace for the next great renaissance of African-American art. Or maybe it’s the perfect one. Whatever the case, Papillion’s ambitions recall nothing less than the Harlem of 90 years ago. Her shows, which feature the work of Black artists on the rise, already draw some of the most powerful collectors in the world. “We’re in the beginning of it,” she tells me when I visit. 

She looks weirdly fashionable in her oversize gray hoodie, hoop earrings, black pants and all black sneakers — even the Reading Rainbow mug she’s clutching seems somehow cool. Papillion isn’t the only reason that New York and London bigwigs like Jeffrey Deitch and Jay Jopling have come calling on the L.A. art scene, of course. Los Angeles looks a lot more like Brooklyn nowadays, with artists going at giant canvases in abandoned warehouses and an accompanying gentrification. But art in the City of Angels has a different kind of aesthetic — bigger pieces, bolder colors, outdoor installations — and a more inclusive, less elitist vibe. “People need to feel comfortable in this environment,” Papillion says.

To me, Papillion’s gallery recalls W.E.B. DuBois’ dream for Black drama: It would be by, for and near African-Americans — though it’d be inaccurate to suggest that Papillion is only for Black audiences. Visitors are greeted by one of Fordjour’s canvases, featuring faceless Black men lined up as targets in a carnival game. Two panels of a Black man at an ATM cover an entire wall of Papillion’s office; it’s the work of Haitian-born, New York–raised, L.A.–based artist Andy Robert. A collage of magazine photos by Suné Woods (formerly a photographer), stressed and manipulated, hangs with a texture like overlapping tissue papers. “Curatorially she’s doing all mediums,” Shelley Holcomb, cofounder of Curate L.A., says, with “really young artists that are subsequently gaining attention internationally.” Indeed, the day I visit, she’s just met with a couple of collectors from Tokyo. 

In some ways, Papillion’s work runs parallel to that of Theaster Gates, the South Side Chicago revitalist, in whose property she made that declaration about the gallery in the hood. Making the space around her beautiful is Papillion’s art project. “There are no galleries on this side of town owned by people of color. Period.” To do good for a community is an art in and of itself, she says. And there’s much good to be done in Leimert Park, a predominantly Black neighborhood with the second-highest property crime rate in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Papillion is protective, even possessive, of the dozen Black artists she’s shepherded to wider renown. Sometimes she is downright political. In Artforum, in the pages where owners typically advertise upcoming exhibitions, she took out an ad that said, “Dear Art World, Let’s End Police Terrorism #blacklivesmatter.” Last Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Papillion underwrote a colorful float, designed by one of her artists, to represent the Crenshaw neighborhood, near Leimert Park. One of the sayings plastered on it was “Black money matters.” It’s rare of a gallerist to be that explicit — and loud — about her politics. 

But activism was in the water she drank, growing up in Oakland. Her mom was an educator, and her dad an architect. At Howard, she studied the classics at first, learning Latin, Greek and Egyptian (yes, she can read all three and waves off my impressed expression). She joined an Egyptian art class, and in terms of falling in love with visual arts, that was “the tip of an iceberg for me,” she says.

It’s not easygoing, of course. Finding emerging artists is like winning the lottery, and turning unknowns into collectors’ darlings takes an eye, nurturing, skill, advocating, branding — as well as time and justice. Of the 10 people on the Most Powerful Art Dealers list that Forbes put out in 2012, none were women of color. But Papillion, has already come far, says Fordjour, who remembers coming up with her: “We were all at this scrappy space at the same time,” he says. Things have changed: “Now people know her name when she comes into the room, and that’s a different way to advocate.”



Its more fun if you mute your computer and watch them all play simultaneously.



Recap of our Kingdom Float on Martin Luther King Jr. Day


ARTE: 'Every Curve' a ground breaking exhibition! 

Artnet News lists Every Curve as one of the groundbreaking exhibitions by female artists to see!

 "Zoë Buckman, "Every Curve" at PAPILLION ART, Los Angeles:
Zoë Buckman is a must-watch multimedia artist best known for hand-embroidering lyrics by rappers Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur on delicate pieces of vintage lingerie as a means of reconciling her feminist beliefs with her love of hip-hop music and culture, where male chauvinism often runs rampant.

Michelle Joan Papillion, an up-and-coming Los Angeles gallerist and an important art world figure in her own right, will display the entirety of Buckman's most famous body of work for the first time in one place.
"Every Curve" will be on display from March 12–April 30, 2016."




ARTE: Suné Woods wins Baum Award

Congratulations to Suné Woods, she is the 2016 recipient of the Baum Award


Award Exhibition on view at SF Camerawork from May 5 - June 25, 2016


The Baum Foundation and SF Camerawork (SFC) are pleased to announce Los Angeles-based artist Suné Woods as the recipient of the 2016 Baum Award for an Emerging American Photographer. Now in its 10th year, the national award is given bi-annually to an artist of exceptional talent working in the medium of photography, providing exposure and resources at a critical career-point. 

Suné Woods creates photographs, collage works, and multi-channel video installations. Woods employs a combination of appropriated and created imagery to address sociological phenomenon, imperialist mechanisms, and formations of knowledge. Her work engages absences and vulnerabilities within cultural and social histories through the photographic image. She is interested in how language is emoted, guarded, and translated through the absence/presence of a physical body.

Woods is a recipient of the 2015 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award and the 2012 Visions from the New California initiative. She has participated in residencies at Headlands Center of the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Center for Photography at Woodstock, and will be in residence at Light Work (Syracuse, NY) in 2016.

About the Baum Award

The Baum Award was founded in 2001 by Glenn and April Bucksbaum.  Since 2008, the Baum Foundation has partnered with SF Camerawork to administer the award nomination, manage the jury process, and host the exhibition. Each year, 25 contemporary art curators throughout the United States are asked to nominate two emerging artists for the award. A panel of professional artists and curators are then selected by SF Camerawork to jury the nominations and select the recipient.

The jury for the 2016 Baum Award included: Robert Johnson, Curator Emeritus, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs, San Francisco Art Institute; Sergio De La Torre, artist and lecturer, San Francisco University; Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, curator and lecturer, San Francisco State University; and Heather Snider, Executive Director, SF Camerawork.

Past recipients of The Baum Award include: Jaime Warren (2014); Eric William Carroll (2012); Christopher Sims (2010); Sean McFarland (2009); Mike Brodie (2008); Lisa Kereszi (2005); Katy Grannan (2004); Luis Gispert (2003); and Deborah Luster(2001).

About the Baum Foundation

The Baum Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of people’s lives through support of the arts, has funded the Baum Award since the inception of the program in 2001. The project originates from a conviction that photography is a powerful and influential medium with the capacity to emotionally connect with audiences in ways that words cannot. This ability to reach people on a visceral level can transform awareness into understanding and lead interest into action—fundamental aspects of a healthy and vital society.



Our solo booth with painter Derek Fordjour in Volta NY 2016.  We are booth E3, fair hours are March 3-5th 12pm - 8pm and ends March 6th 12pm - 6pm

Image courtesy David Willems Photography


ARTE: KILO KISH- Existential Crisis Hour!