Art + Practice is a private, nonprofit organization located in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. A+P’s mission is two-fold: to support the needs of 18–24-year-old foster youth transitioning into adulthood with social service collaborator First Place for Youth and to offer free access to museum-curated contemporary art by artists of color.
Currently on view at A+P is a group exhibition, Collective Constellation: Selections from The Eileen Harris Norton Collection, celebrating women artists of color. Curated by Hammer Museum associate curator Erin Christovale, the exhibition includes artworks from the personal collection of A+P co-founder Eileen Harris Norton, and span over three decades of contemporary artworks, highlighting artistic movements, political and social commentary, and explorations of the perception of women and race in society. This exhibition holds a collection of international, intergenerational, and multicultural women — including the collector and curator — who have left deep impressions on the contemporary art landscape through a number of mediums.
With works ranging from painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, and installation; artists include Belkis Ayón, Sadie Barnette, Carolyn Castaño, Nzuji De Magalhaes, Renée Green, Mona Hatoum, Varnette Honeywood, Samella Lewis, Julie Mehretu, Ana Mendieta, Beatriz Milhazes, Wangechi Mutu, Shirin Neshat, Lorraine O’Grady, Adrian Piper, Betye Saar, Alison Saar, Doris Salcedo, Amy Sherald, Lorna Simpson, Ruth Waddy, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Brenna Youngblood.
One such profound work is Coming Up For Air (2003-2004) by Carrie Mae Weems. Though Weems is most well-known for her photography exploring the nuance of the lives of Black women, this video work places her exploration in a dynamic narrative context in which she imagines the lives and complexities of Black American women throughout our nation’s history. With gratitude to the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, the work is presented in its entirety below. Beneath that is a virtual tour of Collective Constellation complete with wall texts from the exhibition’s curator, Erin Christovale.
Both Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) and Lorraine O’Grady (b. 1934) consider how Black female subjectivity is constructed and experienced in society through photography, video and performance. Weem’s experimental video, Coming Up For Air (2003-2004) loosely chronicles the life of a Black woman through time, from the Antebellum South to present day. Weems journeys through familial, romantic, and racially charged relationships and power dynamics that shape her existence. The result is a tender and intimate portrait of a woman on her personal journey.