Anthea Black is a Canadian artist, writer, and cultural worker based in San Francisco and Toronto. Her studio work addresses feminist and queer history, collaboration, materiality, and labour and has been exhibited in Canada, the US, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Norway. Black is co-editor of Handbook: Supporting Queer and Trans Students in Art and Design Education with Shamina Chherawala and Craft on Demand: The New Politics of the Handmade with Nicole Burisch, and the co-publisher of The HIV Howler: Transmitting Art and Activism with Jessica Whitbread. Black is an Assistant Professor in Printmedia and Graduate Fine Arts at California College of the Arts.
Artist Talk: November 26th, 2018
As the first lecture of our 2018/2019 programming, Anthea Black offers first hand insight into the world of artist publishing. With a strong focus on art-activism for the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups, Black highlights her role as a member of these communities, stressing the importance and value of educating the public on social-justice issues through artist publications. Black focuses first on her Handbook project – a hand-made artist publication made in collaboration with OCAD students to act as a point of reference for faculty to rethink how to work with queer and transgender students on their path to becoming artists and designers — from the first day of school through to seminars, studio classes, and critiques. Next, Black showcases another venture in the world of artist publications — The HIV Howler: Transmitting Art and Activism, a limited edition art newspaper focusing on global grassroots HIV art and cultural production. She stresses the value in this publication as it acts as a forum for dialogue, a demand for aesthetic self-determination, a response to tokenism, and a guide to navigating the vibrational ambiguities between policy, pathology, and community. Towards the end of the lecture, Black shifts focus from these collaborative publication-based projects, to her own personal art practice. It is here where we see how her own personal interests in the exploration of self-identity through projects like Mirror Drawing translate into her work as an activist. Anthea Black’s hands-on approach to art-making through printmaking, drawing, publications, textiles, and performance shows a vast skill set that continuously references back to and addresses feminist and queer history, collaboration, materiality, and labour. The lecture concludes with a valuable question period that addresses one of the main concerns surrounding artist publications and the circulation of information — accessibility. Can artist publications extend beyond the art community itself to address issues and ignite change, or will they only ever function as art-objects?