[ B  l  a  n  k ]: In Pursuit of An American History

by Stephanie Dinkins and Keith Miller


In 1915, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Through that Asociation, he began pressing for the establishment of Negro History Week as a way to bring national attention to the accomplishments of African Americans. He hoped to neutralize the apparent distortions in Black history and to provide a more objective and scholarly balance to American and World history.  Dr. Woodson's dream became a reality in 1926.  In 1976, the Association succeeded in expanding the observance, which then became Black History Month.

[ B  l  a  n  k ]: In Pursuit of An American History will be an exhibition of video and new media art that explore how and why Black History Month is observed (celebrated ) in contemporary America.   The show will be curated from art submitted in response to an open call for technologically mediated works that celebrate, challenge, explore, and re-imagine African-American History Month. The solicitation will be placed in a wide variety of outlets for artists seeking exhibition opportunities; no race or ethnicity requirements will be listed.   

In light of the open call there will also be a panel discussion that will try to fill in the blank. With a focused group of distinguished panelists from a range of fields the idea of this history will be taken on as an event in potencia. The discussion will work

In pursuit of explorations of the polymorphic nature of the realities of African-Americans;

In pursuit of understanding the historical mythologies Modern USA is built on;

In pursuit of Black America, African-America and Post-Black America;

In pursuit of insights onto the nature of our realities and their realities;

Against definition and toward an activity surrounding a conversational notation of what the idea of an American History might be in full recognition of the experiences, realities and mythologies of the contemporary American experience.



This open approach to producing [ B  l  a  n  k ] is being employed as a curatorial experiment.   The curators will track all the submissions to discern, who feels compelled to participate in a show about Black History Month, how the artists who do respond approach creating art that explores the contemporary significance of the celebration, and to what extent, if any, the work submitted questions how the ghettoization, into one month, of a history integral to the development of the nation affects the perception of American history, society and culture in its entirety.  

Guided by the ideas and temperament of the works submitted for review, the curators will produce [ B  l  a  n  k ]  using a representative selection of those works.  The goal is to produce an engaging exhibition that reflects current attitudes toward Dr. Woodson’s brainchild.