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Weekly Watchlist: What Does History Sound Like?

Playlist: Essence of a History

As institutions make efforts to showcase more artists of color, previously hidden figures are emerging throughout museum galleries, academic curriculum, and media platforms to better reflect the contemporary conversations of a multicultural community.

This playlist features artists who monumentalize everyday heroes and icons alike—embracing Black histories, while not being defined by them.

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Zanele Muholi elevates Black LGBTI individuals

Zanele Muholi photographs Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals in South Africa, driven by an intense dedication to increasing the visibility of one of the country’s most vulnerable communities.

“Why are ordinary people only featured in any magazine when there’s tragedy?” asks the artist in our “Johannesburg” episode.

“Why are there no images of queer people, especially Black people, and yet people are told that you have a right to be?”

What does history sound like?

The sensations associated with experiencing art does not come from sight alone. Some works of art are just as much about hearing as they are about seeing.

Celebrated for his material-oriented practice, Kevin Beasley juxtaposes sound and sculpture in his practice. For his installation A view of a landscape, Beasley placed a mid-twentieth-century cotton gin motor at the center of the work, evoking an era of intense social change in American history.

“Sound is just as physical and tactile as any other material,” says the artist in a film from our New York Close Up series. “It shakes your insides. You feel the vibrations.”

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