The Obama portraits stop in Atlanta marking the end of an era

"I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible." This remark from Barack Obama's 2008 campaign speech on race undoubtedly inspired artist Kehinde Wiley's painting of the…

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I just wrote an exhibition review about tennis shoes

Many Saturday mornings my younger brother gets up at the crack of down to get in line at the Finish Line store 30 minutes from my parents' house. He is frantic and desperate to get a hold of the latest Michael Jordan tennis shoe, and I never understood why until I saw Josh Luber's TED Talk about the $380 million underground…

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What is the line between inspiration and appropriation?

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"Many photos of Wenger show her wearing dresses made from Ankara fabric and outfits made with kente cloth. Where is the line between inspiration and cultural appropriation? Where does cultural assimilation turn into caricature? Would the fact that she helped the region become an artistic hub and restored the sacred shrines be taken into account? Would it matter?" I was recently…

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Where can art exist? Graffiti versus vandalism…

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"What was once seen as scribbles by rebellious kids, however, has joined the mainstream: a colorful, two-dimensional rendition of someone’s name on the side of a building goes from vandalism to fine art when that piece appears in a gallery." I recently interviewed an Atlanta-based graffiti artist named POEST about his first gallery exhibit. He has been "bombing" buildings with…

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Collier Heights

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I imagine that when most people in Atlanta hear the words "Bankhead Highway" or "Northwest Atlanta" they think of the ghetto. At least that is what the connotation has been my entire life-- that anywhere outside of Midtown is not somewhere you want to be after dark. But there is a neighborhood in Northwest Atlanta that is beautifully preserved and…

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Celebrating strong African women in color

Would you leave your job working as a T-shirt designer for a major denim company in Istanbul to move to Atlanta with no money and no plan-- only talent? A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview an artist named Hirut Yosef, and that is exactly what she did. She designed jerseys and graphic tees for Mavi…

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