Dr. Cherise Smith is a professor of art history specializing in American art after 1945, especially as it intersects with the politics of identity, race, and gender. She is the Chair of the Department of African & African Diaspora Studies and is the founding Executive Director of the Art Galleries at Black Studies, which consist of the Christian-Green Gallery and IdeaLab. Cherise previously directed the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and co-directed the Op-Ed Project. Her recent book, Michael Ray Charles: A Retrospective (University of Texas Press, 2020), surveys Charles’ career, exploring the artist’s “sampling” approach to provocative anti-black stereotypes, as well as his analysis of African American masculinity and sports culture.
- Cherise SmithAssociate Professor of American Art at the University of Texas at Austin
- Peniel JosephFounding Director of the LBJ School’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas at Austin
Welcome to Race and Democracy, a podcast on the intersection between race, democracy,
public policy, social justice and citizenship.
Welcome to Race and Democracy. On today’s podcast, we are pleased to have a conversation
with Professor Cherise Smith, who is chair and assessor of African and African Diaspora
Studies and executive director of the Galleries and Black Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
Doc Smith is the author of Enacting Others Politics of Identity and ELEANOR Antin,
Nikki Lee, Adrian Piper and Anna Deavere Smith and her new book,
which is Michael Ray Charles, which is really a beautiful book. This is an awesome
book about really one of the first artist
African-American artists of our time. Shari’s Welcome to Race and Democracy.
Thank you, Neal. It’s a pleasure to be here. So I want to talk about Michael Ray
Charles and his work and how subversive the work is. How provocative
the work is. It’s really through your book that I’ve really gotten a deeper understanding
of Michael Ray Charles, his significance as a black artist and the way in which
his work is sort of very provocative. But at the same time, subversive. And it’s a
themes of minstrelsy, themes of African-Americans as
subhuman, themes of us as being stereotypical and caricatures.
And really, these are some of the he he subverts images that have been used to justify
lynching, used to justify racial slavery, used to justify eugenics
and scientific racism. And some of that controversy that he causes that
is connected to the fact that some people think that when we when we do these
images, we’re perpetuating racial stereotypes and not subverting. So I’d love to
talk about that. Yes. So it’s absolutely true
that his work is deeply challenging,
especially in the 1990s. It challenged older generations of artists
like Betty ser-, for example, and Howard Dean of Pindell. Those are artists who
have, in the last five years, come on really strong in their own right, even
though they had it at times as well on both of them have had major exhibitions at the
Museum of Modern Art, for example, L.A. County Museum of Art, Virginia Museum
of Fine Arts. But those same artists, the artists who were kind of the
age of the parents of Michael Ray Charles, had a real problem with his work, as did
the larger African-American community. I think now it is more
accepted and part of the canon. But what this book does is to
historic sites that work from the nineteen nineties and some of the big kind of
cultural touchstones that were happening in the 1990s
and also to situate his current work in the art
world that’s happening now. I think what has happened with
Michael Ray’s work is that people really think about that kind of touchstone.
Touchstone late 1990s when he was in the middle of a
censorship campaign. He and Karen Walker and they they don’t think about the
larger impact and footprint tend to work away. I want you to dove
deeper into some of these touchstones of the 90s, because you talk about Spike Lee here.
You talk about Bamboozled. But when he’s coming out, we talk about the 90s. It’s an era of sort
of the L.A. rebellions of 92 of Clintonism.
You know, The Cosby Show, it’s a different era in terms of blackness and
black identity. Why is his work so provocative in the context
of the 90s? Yeah. So you mentioned a couple of really key
moments. So it is coming on the heels of the culture wars that
happened in the late 1990s that are in some ways spurred by
the rise of the pandemic that was that HIV and AIDS crisis.
And so there’s also this turn toward what has been called identity politics.
When you see that particular groups and by
particular, I mean African-Americans led to next folks, queer people
are beginning to advocate for themselves using their own identity
traits. So that’s a big thing that happens in the early to mid 1990s.
There are several really big
kind of cultural historic moments. He mentioned the L.A. riots. There is also the Crown Heights
riots that happened in New York City. And there were major instances
of police violence that galvanized the entire country. Think about
it. Yusef Hawkins, for example. And so,
you know, we might think about it as a kinder, gentler time. It was not. It was
just as kind of corrosive.
And a lot happening then. And they said, what what what
does Michael Ray Charles. You use these kind of imagery. So they’re not necessarily
an imagery of you think about Spike Lee. And do the right thing, sort of this black power imagery,
even though Lee is certainly going to converge with him and bamboozled. Yeah, but but which is about
two thousand. But when we think about why is he using these images? In fact, the cover
of your book, obviously, you know, your book has the you know, the watermelon and the
very. Yeah. Know this is very provocative. And, you know, there’s an image of a black
face there and watermelons and black people have always been used to castigate
the black. So why is he going this route? Yeah. So I mean, there are a couple of big things that happened.
The first is that he’s in graduate school at the University of Houston, the early part of the 1990s.
And one of his classmates who happens to be white gives him
a kind of plastic, for lack of a better word, Sambo figure.
And at first, Michael Ray just described throwing
it off into the corner and not really paying attention to it. But then he somehow happens across it again
and he’s like, what is this thing and who is this supposed to represent? This
doesn’t look like any of the actual black people that I know. And that becomes
the kind of real crux of his work for the rest of his career. So essentially,
he becomes interested in. OK. This is supposed to represent a black person,
but it doesn’t look like black people at all. Instead, it looks like, you know, this,
you know, weird plastic thing that the skin
is black, not the actual color of the skin of people of African descent.
It’s got big red lips that are kind of falling apart because it’s an old plastic thing.
And he says, well, nobody I know has lips this color or, you know, that are in
this proportion on anyone’s face. And so he uses
this piece of of racial violence against black people,
something that was made to keep us in our place, to then
kind of think through. OK, well, so this is what they think of us. Is this
also what we think of ourselves? No. And he’s clear about that. But he also
thinks will look in some ways we all kind of participate in creating
these problematic images, whether we’re making them ourselves as they’re
kind of manufactured in factories. For example,
kids are all kind of mass produced more. We’re thinking about
TV shows where people are playing kind of foolish stereotypes.
And so what he becomes interested in is how in some ways we’re all
tussling with creating dismantling stereotypes.
Let me stop you right there. What you is. Why was there so much pushback, especially
in the 90s, against that? Because I see the point that you’re saying and even reading your essay
and seeing the work, I see how it’s subversive. Yeah. Why was there
so much pushback? Well, so just a little bit more history. So in the early 1990s, he
starts using this work and then he begins to collect what is sometimes called
contemptible collectibles. You know, black memorabilia, Americana, however
you want to talk about it or describe it. So he is using this work really kind of without
incident for a couple of years. But then he really begins to get traction in the art world. And
white collectors begin to buy the art. And some black collectors
are as well. And people are really like, well, why is he able to sell
this challenging imagery? So that’s really where the
kind of crux is in the beginning. And so, you know, people
who grew up with it find that really hurtful. And they don’t feel like
it should be continue to be circulated. And so that’s one of the main reasons why he
gets the pushback that he does. But what is his answer to that? What does Michael Ray Charles is?
What is his response to look black community saying whether they’re athletes or people who are working class
saying this is really hurtful. We should. Our children have to respond
to this, especially as we get to the late 20th century or even now the 21st century. What is this?
What is his response to? He typically takes the response of the historian.
And you know what historians think and that is let us collect this and let us study it rather
than putting it in some storage facility and
never thinking about it again. He wants people to be able to deconstruct
it, to critique it, to tear it apart, to understand, look, this is not us. I don’t think this is us.
And so one of the interesting things that happens is that he begins to collect this material
at the same time that Oprah is collecting black memorabilia. Spike
Lee begins to collect black memorabilia. Skip Gates begins to collect
the black memorabilia. Right. So it’s in the early 1990s when it’s affordable and there’s a whole
market that is created around elevating
black memorabilia and putting it in as separate in a different
framework. And it had been previously where previously it was just, oh, we
don’t want to see that. Instead, we had middle and upper class black people who are saying, you know, okay, yeah,
you know, it’s a problem. But I also think it’s endearing and I
think it’s challenging and. And so people began to
collect it. And so he’s one of the people like the cases and
unlike the rest of the world, who began to collect it. So I want you to situate
Michael Ray Charles, as you have the in here, the the the watermelon
man. You know, very famous like situate him among
both his generational peers. And now how is he regarded? Because I want to talk about
sort of art in the 21st century as well. You wait him. You know, you talk about Carol
Walker. Carrie, we may Weems. You talk about these different, very, very important black
artists and situate him within that context. And
where does he fit in and why is this? Now, he’s a bone prizewinner. He’s certainly this, well,
well-regarded black art artist. And when you think about the 21st century
recently, The New York Times has had, you know, The Times Sunday Times magazine last week
had all these placards. I’ve never seen such a renaissance of of
of black of black artists being recognized in their own time. So where does he fit
in into into all of this? Yeah. So there are kind of three questions
that you ask. Let me start with that kind of historic line. The first is that there are the
many stars of the world. The Jeff Donaldson two way back in the 60s and 70s are using
these same stereotypes to a much more kind of black
power oriented way to combat stereotypes head on. OK, so
that’s a kind of older generation. But then in the late 1980s,
early 1990s, you see artists like Kerry Weems, Carole Walker,
Fred Wilson, Rene Cox, who were doing much more conceptually oriented
work where they’re trying to think, OK, is this person really
is this thing really a person? No, they’re not. And so they’re playing with the difference between
what the stereotype is and what it looks like versus what a real black person is. And
so Michael Ray kind of fits in that larger conceptual art framework of
artists who are, you know, kind of in there now in their 50s and 60s and who
have made it. And then, you know, within the 21st century, these remain issues
that artists continue to deal with and different ways, shapes and forms.
You know, Michael Ray doesn’t deal with it the same way he used to. Kara Walker doesn’t carry me. Weems
doesn’t. But they remain issues that people think through, you know, issues
like archetype. So maybe the word stereotype that’s not
as prevalent in the art world as it was once, but
something like archetype where you’re thinking about a character that has a story that’s
associated with it. And these are big issues that people
continue to think through. If you think of someone like Michaeleen Thomas,
who is some sometimes using very dark, shiny black
pigments or materials to display the skin of black women, that’s
thinking through standards of beauty as they relate to
whiteness and blackness. And the stereotypes that are associated with them, for example.
So there are lots of artists that. Still dealing with these issues. I want to
ask you and then talk about the current context, but when I think about
the commodification of black art, especially over the last two decades and especially
now over the last, say five, 10 years with Kuhnhenn de Riley and just different
artists who are allowed to do portraiture, but some who do conceptual and abstract,
but who’ve been allowed to do portraits of the president, United States, first lady of the United States.
When we think about The New Yorker, which never had black artists doing covers, having black
artists do dozens of covers one. Why do you think that’s happening, especially
post the black power movement of the 60s and 70s and even post sort of the Basquiat
moment of the 1980s and maybe early or early 90s? Why do you think there’s such
a sort of almost an institutionalization of at least a certain
strata of black artists? What? Why? I mean, I feel like it’s a number of
things. First off, artists have been black artists have been doing this work for a long
time. And they are you know, now there’s
history and people doing it. So there’s that there are people like
the Lowery, Stokes, Sims, like Thelma Goldens of the world, like Kelly Jones of the world, who have
integrated that kind of highest echelons of the art world
by being directors of museums, by being full professors. And they have real
authority to push agendas and those larger cultural
world and not just the art world. And then the other thing that’s
been happening is that more and more artists are getting art school trains now
by art school. I also want to include like film school in there. And so
there is a way in which people are just kind of integrating
out with their graduate degrees and with their experiences and with their connections
out into the larger cultural context. Now, I think all
of this wouldn’t have happened if people were not making great art. And in fact, people are.
And so that’s also there are there are cultural other cultural touchstones. And I’m and I’m thinking
here both sometimes on racial violence when I think about Hurricane Katrina,
but sometimes really racial optimism when I think about Barack and Michelle Obama,
you know, or Trayvon Martin or Black Lives Matter, is it social media and sort of black
Twitter and black Instagram? Because certainly we have a whole group of artists, including African-American
artists in Austin who have high profiles now thanks to
thanks to Instagram. And there there were works or even really being collected by white and black.
I collect as well. So is there a specific touchstone
where we’re sort of like black is in almost in a way that
it never has been before because it’s so institutionalized? Yes. So
I I think I’ve now been in our history
for long enough to know that it’s cyclical. I hope that the moment
that we’re in has a really long longevity, that it’s
true and consistent from here on out. I’m skeptical
of that. And I would venture to guess that other people are skeptical of it as well.
And I guess I say that because, you know, what you’ve also seen is. An
increase in the prices of artworks by black artists,
both on the primary market where galleries sell it, or on the secondary market
where they’re being sold at auction, for example. And so.
You know, we’re about to. Well, we are already in a very challenging time
financially. And who knows how long that kind
of bull market where the collecting of black artists will continue.
And I want to I want to insert there. When you think about it, I wanted to talk about black
art in the context of covered 19 in this current pandemic, this crisis
that’s happening when you think about especially black artists who are not a Michael
Ray Charles Ray, who are just struggling. They might have gone to art school
or, like you said, film school or some kind of. But but they’re there. They’re trying to just find their voices
one. What’s going to happen to them in this sense? And we have a group of them
in Austin, of course. And when we think about the future
of black art and even appreciation for people like Ray Charles and the artists
who study, do you think there’s gonna be a pre covered 19 and a post covered 19 because
things are right now are transforming. Twenty six million people out of work.
Certainly. I would probably think because of of what I study, that black artists
suffer disproportionately during these time periods because we tend to suffer
disproportionately in the context of crisis. So so what do you think about art
moving forward? Black art, black artists. And like you said, this bull market post
2020. Well, I mean, that’s the million dollar question. And I
have been around long enough now like you to see both as a historian
and as a person, that we do tend to suffer more from events like this.
And so I worry that artists in the black
community and in other kind of minorities communities are going to
suffer as a result of this now across the board. Artists are going to because,
you know, for every Kara Walker. Michael Ray Charles, who is a professor.
And, you know, as gallery representation and is doing well, there are probably thousands
more artists just like them who do not have the same
security because of their position. Naledi, they are not professors.
They don’t have galleries. They’ve not been. They’ve not had books
written about them in articles written about them. They’re not making living, making their art.
And so it’s gonna be a really tough time for all artists.
And that’s evidenced by the fact that I was just watching PBS last night.
There was an article specifically or, you know, a kind of section specifically
about how artists are making their way right now. And artists have always
participated in a gig economy before it was even called the gig economy.
And, you know, they were teaching people how to paint. They might have been painting houses.
They might have been painting signs for stores in addition to
making their own art that they might sell to neighbors or in galleries. And so,
you know, and then kind of knock on problem with that is because they’re not regular
work in a corporate environment, then they don’t have the same
access to things like what’s the word
services like unemployment, because they have exactly the same kind of documentation
that other kinds of workers do. And so it’s it’s going to be a challenge.
I want to get back to for a second. Commodification because so–yeah motion was supposed
to be showing in Houston. I’ve taught the black power class and yeah, about museums
and black power to shut out the soul of the nation was supposed to be and will
be soon at the Museum of Fine Art Houston. It was at the Brooklyn Museum. It was
at the Grove in Los Angeles. We didn’t use that. OK, yeah.
And the tension that places like The New York Times that played to pay at the Astor Gates
and these different I mean, easily, it’s the most striking thing I’ve ever seen where there’s literally
dozens of black artists and featuring predominately black women and men.
So, you know, when you think about the 1960s, the Black Power movement was a very ominous moment
where there’s room for black black women. What?
What? I mean, why that commodification? How is that commodification connected
to universities thinking about D-I, diversity, equity and inclusion?
Art collectors thinking about that. And that’s a long road. And I know black women and men protested
in the 60s that. And throughout to make those things happen, and you mentioned Thelma Golden and all
these important figures. But I still. Why? Why do we see something like Soul of a Nation, which I
think is fabulous, but it’s almost like a dream seeing that somebody who grew up with that.
It’s almost like when somebody sees a comic book become a movie and you’re like, wow, I can’t believe so
many people are watching this. Like, what what explains that? Is that something I’m thinking, Michael, Ray Charles
here? Is that something where we should feel optimistic in the sense of like, wow,
look at all this attention that we’re getting from white people, but from just, you know, everyone you know?
Yeah, they’re like, we’re serious artists. We are serious artists. Yeah. So
that’s an interesting question and a big question in some way. So
I entered the museum profession early 1990s when I was starting my master’s
degree. And at that point there was a real interest, as there is now
in diversifying museums. They recognized back in the early
1990s, oh, we don’t have enough staff, we don’t have enough representation on the
walls of people of color or women for that matter. And
so there was a big push to do fellowships, which I was a beneficiary
of. To introduce people into the museum world
and have us stay inside museums. And some of us did
and some of us went on to do our p._h._d. Many of us did that. And we’re still in art history.
And that’s my generation and even a little bit older. And so on the one hand,
when we, you know, middle aged folks, I will call myself
middle career folks. I will call myself when we look
at this, oh, there’s not enough diversity in the museums. And look at everything that museums
are doing to integrate museums. It’s a little bit
of a slap in the face because that’s what they said about us 20 something years
ago. And so and it’s work that we’ve continued to do all that time, just
like our elders did before we came along. So it’s hard to push the needle, right. Cherise
is really good. It really is hard to push the needle. And and for a couple of reasons. And I want us to get
back to Soul of the Nation, because I want to ask you about it. But I think one of the problems
is that the art world is this
very silent and very insidious kind of bastion of whiteness
and of white supremacy. And it’s it kind of flies in the face of everything that you think about
the art world because you think of it as liberal. And it is. And you think of it as progressive.
And it is. Except that it was started
to study Renaissance art, Greek art, Roman art. And
that has been the kind of pinnacle of what art history is thought to be. And so what
that means is the rest of us, women, people of color, we
are not. You know, part of the standard.
And so it’s. It continues to be this push to make
inroads into museums or staff are concerned where collecting is concerned.
And even the kind the places in museums where you see black people,
are they in the curatorial departments? Not so much. Are they in security?
Yes. Are they in the Education Department as teachers?
Yes. More often than not. And so, you know, there’s there continues to be a kind of
stratification in types of jobs that people within
people of color, within museums can actually have. Now, the flip side of this, and I think
this is something that you’ll also be interested in in thinking through, is then
how do black people actually how do and do they actually value
art by black people? And do they actually consider it integral to
our movements for social justice, which I guess what I want. I want to I want to
ask you. Higher education, black studies. As far as I’m concerned, the two
leading black studies departments and universities in the world are
U.T., Austin and Harvard. And both have fabulous art museums
and art institutions. Right. In the United States, two leading one.
Why is it so important that we study black art? And pedagogically are students
that they see that they’re connected in terms of when we think about art
and democracy? Because a lot of times people talk about art and democracy, but not black art and democracy.
So so in a way, I think about the I’m taking it, you know, a Aaron Douglas building more stately mansions.
You know, obviously, Jacob Lawrence just so many different, you know, black artists
over over the years and decades and centuries. But why people who might not know
about the intricacies of black studies and higher education would be very surprised that you
teach not only has a department, but they have the galleries and they have you know, you bring
all that with the galleries. The art would be very surprising. Why is this so important?
Yeah. I mean, I would agree with you. I think that
we at UTI are up there with the Harvards of the world and certainly in terms
of our vision and the scope with which we practice black studies.
And, you know, having been a fellow at the Dubois Institute back in the day,
I know very firsthand how committed to our Skip
Gates is committed to it as a collector, committed to it as a scholar, committed
to it as someone who just has a basic interest in it and has written about it for years. So,
you know, he is not an art historian, but he is a kind of honorary art historian. And he’s certainly
pushed and pushed art history for the better. And,
you know, it’s interesting to think through how he’s done that. Partially, it has been through recognizing
that you have to have black art historians to actually teach it.
Now, Sarah Lewis is there. Cheryl Finley has been there. Deborah Willis, Gwendolyn
Dubois, Shaw. So there’s been a long line of art historians who have
been at Harvard teaching people and then the creation of the galleries there
at the Cooper Museum. It is just a really important
thing that he saw needed to happen as integral to black
studies. So we here at NUTI have had similar thoughts
and similar goals. So, you know, the Center for African and African-American Studies
here was started in 1969, partnering with Mexican-American studies
split off a couple of years after that in the early 1970s. And then
it’s in the kind of early 2000s that the idea to departmentally
is really kind of grabs hold at University of Texas. And so right
around two thousand eight two thousand nine, there’s the creation of the larger black
studies at UC. And that’s a Department of African and African Diaspora
Studies, an institute for urban policy research and analysis. And then there’s the center.
And then in the last couple of years, the art galleries at black studies were created
and art galleries at black studies are two different gallery spaces. One of them
is in our building in the court and white building, which
houses black and Latino studies. And then we have and that’s about a 400 square foot
space. And then we have a second gallery that is more of a. Traditional
state of the art by box gallery space. White walls, beautiful lighting,
hardwood floors really in that kind of tradition of that located.
That is I’m in the Jester Hall, which is one of the largest
dormitories in the world. I think it’s got three thousand students that live there.
And so the Christian Green Gallery, as it’s called, is named after two donors
who donated to U.T. US to a body
of artworks to create the gallery in concert with money that was provided
by the president’s office and the
dean’s office, for example. And so what the art galleries at Black Studies do
is to celebrate art by people of color and to
think about art and its relationship to social justice. And so we’ve done a couple
of really important exhibitions. One of them was called March On
that showed the various ways that
John Lewis’s life matters. So it had
Congressman John Lewis form x ray Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Yes, exactly.
And so John Lewis’s the illustrations for what
becomes the graphic memoir. MOORE Yes. Yes. Those
illustrations were on view at the Christian Green Gallery, along with artwork that came from the rest
of the University of Texas. So a large scale painting by Charles White,
photographs by David Duncan from the civil rights movement that we borrowed from the Harry
Ransom Center, you know, small comic books that we purchased
specifically for the exhibition for people to see the various kinds of media that.
People within the civil rights movement Snick, for example, used to circulate their information
both in and their ideology in an artwork forum, but also
in more kind of commercial, you know, like comic book form.
And so that that’s a great exhibition. Rebecca Giordano did that show.
Really happy with that exhibition. Another fantastic show was by
the Bay. He is a MacArthur genius, award winning photographer
who recently had a book come out. He has for the last few years specialized
in portraiture, but he also does these fantastic landscapes
in Harlem, in Chicago and around the country. And
so there are lots and lots of stories that we tell done.
One artist that we’ve shown quite a bit of is Deborah Roberts. You alluded
to her earlier. She knows her internationally recognized artist who lives
in Austin. Yes, that is right. And Deborah Roberts is now best known
for her collages and her paintings. Her work has been shown in the
gallery to very great its applause and appreciation.
So, yeah, we’re we’re doing good work. I’m proud of it. All right. My final question
is, is a more personal one. What what got you interested in both the work of Michael
Ray Charles, but also curating and promoting and studying black
art? I’m going to start with the last question. There’s a second question and worked my
way. So I went to a small private
high school in L.A. and it was one of those schools that had previously been
a women only girls only Episcopal school. And one
of the kind of holdovers for the house and I’m putting that in quotes that they expected
that they were making was that they had music appreciation and art appreciation.
And so my senior year, I took art appreciation and music appreciation. And
one of the really profound things that you had to do for the art appreciation class
and this is at 16 and 17 year old, you had to drive yourself
to a museum to see art and not just have your parents take
you to museum. And so I drove myself
to the J. Paul Getty Museum, as it was called back then. Oh, yeah, I love that museum.
Yeah. Fantastic museum. And I just thought, this place is amazing. And at that point,
they just had the Getty Malibu. There wasn’t yet
the Getty Center. And you haven’t been there. I know you have, but it’s a
replica of Italian. Tom Paine Villa.
It’s right on the coast. Right on a cliff. Yeah.
Of PCH overlooking the Pacific. And it’s the most gorgeous and insanely
beautiful site. And so there I was 17 and really impressed with that.
And I thought, you know, how how can I do more of this? And so when I went to college,
I was really interested in the humanities. And I
started being interested in the stories that that you would find
in arts and in novels. And that’s basically
how I got hooked in the very first place. And then I started working
in museums and I saw that there was a real need
to integrate them, to have more people of color go to museums,
to have more people of color working in museums. And so, you know, one of the big
things that continues to drive me and what made me kind of stick with our history
in the first place is to give people a real feeling of ownership
of art. And, you know, I mean that in a couple of ways. I mean,
that we people of color feel like we belong in museums
not to go and feel uncomfortable or awkward, but to feel like I belong here
just like anyone else belongs here. And then also to feel like
they can own art, whatever kind of art it is, maybe it’s a reproduction, maybe it’s an original.
But to know that it can be within your,
you know, discretionary budget, that’s not just millions of dollars that one
spends on a basket or a Pollock or something. And so,
you know, those are those are the. Kind of big things that drew me
to art history and that make me stick with it because I feel like
it’s a kind of basic right of ours
to also have access to art. All right. I am glad that you were so
inspired. We’re going to we’re going to take away I’m going to say is art as a human right? Black
art is a human right. This was last stanza.
We’ve been talking with Sherry Smith, who is professor of African-American
studies at the University of Texas, the chair of African-American Studies Department there. In her latest
book is Michael Ray Charles. This book has a subtitle,
a retrospective retrospective. Yes. And it is beautiful. University of Texas
Press. Everybody should go and purchase things. Got such beautiful imagery and
analysis in their analysis in there. It’s beautiful. So Shari’s
thank you for for or for sharing your knowledge with
us. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this episode. And you can check out related
content on Twitter at Peniel Joseph.
That’s PCN i.e. o j os BPH and our Web
site CSR D. LBJ that you Texas DOT e._d._u
and the Center for Study of Race and Democracy is on Facebook as well. This
podcast was recorded at the Liberal Arts Development Studio at the College of Liberal Arts
at the University of Texas at Austin. Thank you.