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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Experience Dada movement of validation
Soiree breaks away from institutional restraint
Published Wednesday, August 31, 2016 7:41 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

All art is valid.  

Inspired by the early 20th century Dada movement, C3 Lab Gallery (2525 Distribution St.) will house the Dada Soiree Sept. 2 from 7-10:30 p.m. While Dada Soiree runs through Sept. 16, the performance pieces will take place on opening night only.

“There’s a lot happening in Charlotte outside the institutions,” show organizer April Marten said. “That right there is a conversation in and of itself. Why are people going and looking for art outside the institutions? That’s one of the questions that we raise with this show. We don’t have the answers, but we want to create a place for this conversation.”  

Said show participant Kia O. Moore: “It’s an art show curated by the artist for the artist.”

Inspired by a conversation during a Charlotte Art Chat, a monthly event that encourages people to gather and discuss art for the sake of having a real conversation rather than networking or promoting oneself, the question came up concerning what validates art. Dada Soiree exists to answer the question.  

“We’re seeing a shift in the art world,” Marten said. “Nobody really knows what’s happening. There is no gatekeeping [with the show]. We set out with a goal of we will try to accept at least one piece from every artist that submitted. That’s unheard of. Generally, art shows are very selective. You get chosen to be in an art show because of who you know, your standing in society, your education. Certain groups have already determined that your art is valid. This opens it up to all artists, with the point of creating a conversation around ‘who gets to decide? Who are the gatekeepers?’”

Emerging in response to World War I, Dada began in Zurich, Switzerland, and lasted until the mid-1920s. It raised questions about the status-quo concerning art, and in a similar manner, Charlotte artists like Marten and Moore hope to create a conversation in the Queen City.  

“All of us making contemporary art today are only able to express ourselves freely in that way, because these forward thinkers challenged the status-quo,” Marten said. “The way we express ourselves in art today, we have them to thank. At the same time, humans want own arts and culture. Who holds the power? Who holds the purse strings? This show is really about inclusion, questioning and celebration.”  

Moore’s performance piece focuses on depicting the absurdity of the fear that people have regarding people of color.  

“This performance shows the absurdity of what people believe when they see a black man,” she said. “There is one dimension that people associate with black men, and it’s fear, anger and all of these negative attributes. I wanted to figure out a way to make something beautiful that people would pay attention to, but also get that tone and that emotion through primary colors: yellow, red and blue, and the absence of color—black.”   

Collaborating with spoken word artist Mason Parker, DRC Apeparel and Shoot 2 Edit, Moore addresses social unrest through four poems and lighting.  

“Blue represents sadness,” she said. “Red is anger. Yellow is joy. When you mix primary colors, you get all different shades. I thought that would be a great way to start the conversation about how absurd it is that men and women of color are being shot down, and nobody seems to care. Everybody continues to have assumptions that ‘well, they must have been doing something.’ Some of the time, that is not the case, because just assume that if you have color in your skin, you’re bad.”  

For more information: www.c3-lab.com/events/2016/9/2/call-for-art


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