Curated by Nina Chanel Abney
Forging ahead during New York City's COVID-19 lockdown, the project-driven, anti-gentrification platform We Buy Gold tapped painter Nina Chanel Abney as the curator for its fifth show. Staged online, the aptly-named "Five" presents video works by 11 Black artists including Sondra Perry, Nick Cave, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Solange Knowles.
"Five" continues We Buy Gold's tradition of sequentially numbered exhibition titles—with "One" through "Four" having manifested at physical pop-up spaces in 2017 and 2018.
In turning to the singularly unusual external circumstances surrounding this show, founder Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels and Abney considered how featured work might also channel subjective reactions—which they postulated as being collectively felt as well—as experienced in real time during the COVID-19 crisis. Ultimately, as a loose structure for their selections, they adapted a curatorial framework based around the "five sentiments that have been the most salient for us ... and which represent phases of processing this particular moment: anxiety, stillness, isolation, escapism and fear—with tremendous overlap throughout," writes Bellorado-Samuels.
To this, she adds:
Exposing the fault lines of already fragmented nation states, COVID-19, for people of African descent, deepens political and economic fissures as we are confined to our homes and communicate personally, professionally and politically through the screen. How do we process this experience individually and collectively? How do we simultaneously celebrate Black life and consecrate Black death? What is the function of the work of art in crisis? How do we view works of art outside of the constructs of cultural institutions? While FIVE. won’t provide answers, nor is it meant to mimic the act of viewing a video in a museum or gallery, it is our aspiration to offer respite and restore confidence that the work of art can assist us in better understanding, as well as reimagining, our reality.
Landing page for "Five" (screen recording). Accessed June 22, 2020.