Chicago-based artist and educator, Cecil McDonald Jr. uses photography, video, and text to explore intersections of masculinity, ancestry, and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of Black Americans. Cuts and Beats refers to the title of McDonald’s most recent body of work in which the artist subverts historical images, like publicity stills from Black artists in the Vaudeville and Minstrel era, by transforming them using techniques of photo collage, video, and performance combined with his own photographs. McDonald thinks of the process of cutting, altering, reassembling, and bringing images into different contexts as a metaphor for performance, dance, music, and the complex histories of Black Americans. The new built images, McDonald says, “look back to often racist representations, and much like memory, recede to a current, self-possessed and subversive imagery, each inﬂuencing and dictating to the other, serving as a remix of past and present culture.”
The exhibition will feature new work that the artist began during his 2018 residency at Hyde Park Art Center.
Image above: Cecil McDonald Jr., Syncopation, 1997, Photomontage, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artist.