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Here is a list of materials artist Suzanne Broughel uses in, “Lied, Tied, and Dyed,” her ongoing solo show presently on view at The University of Memphis’ Jones Hall Gallery: basketballs, shoe laces, afro picks, tank tops, skin bronzers, wire hangers, bandaids, rope, a basketball hoop, and soap. 

On Friday, the artist will launch a second solo project at the Al Jira Center For Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey. In that show, titled “The Sensitive White Intellectual,” Broughel will exhibit work created during the Triangle Artist Workshop in September, 2010. Expect simiar materials.

Broughel’s show at Al Jira draws its title from the 1960’s historical document, “Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper: The Basis of Black Power”—specifically from the segment of that document entitled “White Radicals.”

In her sculptures, photographs and installations, Broughel tackles race and representation head on. She uses things that are familar to audiences but arranges them in ways we are not used to seeing. A prime example of this are her dream catchers made from shredded, yet whole, basketballs.

Broughel’s race and gender adds another layer to her work and the discussion about “post racial” American life.   

“Post-racial” has become a buzzword, yet serious inequalities persist,” Broughel has said. “The social movements of the 1960s and ’70s had their successes and shortcomings, and global capitalism has found ways to cynically co-opt diversity.” 

Broughel “grew up in a racially charged environment” and it was “difficult” for her to enter the dialogue on race. But as an artist she learned that “the personal, autobiographical voice is strongest. My focus is on addressing white skin privilege and economic racism, and the obtaining of materials is often an important part of my work.”

Broughel is a serious and courageous artist whose installations have sparked debate about who owns the black experience in art as it relates to making work about race. Oftentimes, the very subjects Broughel invesitgates are also investigated by other artists of color. What make’s Broughel’s work provocative and timely is her investment in self-examination, the cultivation of her experience and her presentation as a result of the two. 

“I’ve walked a forty acre parcel of land around Manhattan’s African Burial Ground to inventory skin shades of adhesive bandages and searched for black-owned businesses in Newark, New Jersey from which to buy soap. Experiences such as these impact me and help inform my work,” said Broughel in past discussions of her work. 

“The Sensitive White Intellectual” opens on Friday at Al Jira. Info on the show may be found here

“Lied, Tied, and Dyed”, organized by Lester Merriweather, is presently on view and will run until March 25. Info on the show maybe found here

 

 

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Detail from the “DreamCatcher” Series.

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Broughel’s “DarkMatter”.

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“Muscle” by Broughel.

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Broughel’s Bandaid mandala.

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