Edgar Arceneaux: Library of Black Lies

Visual Arts

Tue Nov 27, 2018 – Sun Jun 2, 2019

Partner Organization

Henry Art Gallery

Location

Henry Art Gallery
University of Washington
15th Avenue NE and NE 41st Street
Seattle, WA 98195

This installation contains stacks of books, some readable and some obscured by a crust of crystalline sugar. The titles evolve like a game of telephone, slightly misheard and misrepresented, documenting tomes that figured strongly in Arceneaux’s intellectual history then evolving into invented or unrelated ones. A labyrinth—not a maze, which is designed to disorient—is circuitous but ultimately leads to a center, and is intended to be a vehicle of spirituality, a meditative journey mapped into the physical experience.

Arceneaux's work argues that the true nature of people and events, which is insistently messy, chaotic, and rhizomatic, is often whitewashed and sterilized. The plain wood exterior of Library of Black Lies is mute, minimalist, and seemingly a solid, singular object. Only upon discovering the entry can the “truths” it contains can be discovered.

Reviews

Edgar Arceneaux Provokes Thoughts on Race in America

Sitting in an empty corner of The Henry Art Gallery is a small shack made from wooden slats no more than an inch thick. There are slivers of space between each board, and, despite the gallery's tall ceilings, the shack is hardly more than six feet tall. It seems almost like a relic of history, maybe the crowded house of a family on the frontier, or a shed containing hidden fugitives, but certainly not the exterior of "Library of Black Lies," one of the most thought provoking and unique pieces of modern art created by artist Edgar Arceneaux.

As you step inside the shack, you are...

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