Larry Cook Looking black at me.Posted: October 10, 2014
Looking Black at Me exhibit featuring Larry Cook is a innovative, powerful and thought provoking. He executes the process of filming footage of African American men and women in a archival manner. Which forces viewers to think about the state of African American society. His work portrays this intriguing space in which America has created for the contemporary African American.
Moreover, I have become attached to his work because of this show. During the reception I got a chance to talk with Larry about his work featured in this show, and some of his work in previous shows. I pointed to the fact that I was able to see how his work has evolved. If you look at some of his past works they were very direct and subjective even; however looking at his work in this exhibit you see a more subtle yet effective approach. Which I admire, his work simply offers you a window to look into; however the viewer is left to decide how he/she feels about the work and what it means to them.
That is what is so special about his work, it gives African Americans an undeniable voice. It says to me that, we are here… this is who we are… and we are not going any where… this is what you created… These images conjure up all my feelings about 465 years that African Americans were enslaved, and all the harsh treatment thereafter. As well as the marches on Washington led by MLK, with black men holding signs stating “I Am A Man”. The work makes me think about glass ceilings that hold African Americans back because of the color of their skin. It evokes the culture in which mainstream America does not understand but, simply rapes and exploits for their own benefit.
When I look at this work I see African Americans that want a space to call there own and this work is a testament to this. For example the SOS footage of the African America female holding the flair, comes across as a black statue of liberty to me versus a threatening women with a gun; however that might not be the case with someone from a different class or ethnicity. Images like these transform our social ideology embedded in us through our social up bringing. Cook’s show presents me with important ideas which challenge the way people judge and are perceived in American society.