These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel The first image you see when you walk into the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is the last portrait Michael Jackson commissioned of himself before he died in He didn't live to see the finished picture, but I think he would have liked it. It is by Kehinde Wiley, the American artist who, to much fanfare in February, revealed his official portrait of Barack Obama to the world.
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|Will Gompertz reviews Childish Gambino's This is America video ★★★★☆ - BBC News||Please try your request again later. I was born in Germany.|
|Share via Email Entrepreneurialism or cynicism? Sarah Lee for the Guardian Will Gompertz gives the game away with the title.|
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel In his opening monologue as host of last week's Saturday Night Live Donald Glover described himself as "an actor, a writer, and a singer".
And so he is. But he forgot to mention the fourth string to his gleaming bow of talents, the one that makes him more than just an entertainer. Donald Glover - or Childish Gambino as he calls himself when performing as a pop-rap-trap musician - is an artist.
That is, a fine artist, as in a person whose work might be exhibited in an art gallery or bought by a museum. In fact, if the curators at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, or indeed the Metropolitan Museum up the road, are at all switched on, they should already be in discussions with him about acquiring the master video of This Is America for their institution's collection.
I should also point out it contains explicit violence, which is inappropriate for children and possibly unpalatable for some adults. Its subject of race, representation, opportunity and acts of extreme violence against African Americans is shared with the work of several other leading contemporary black American artists.
Or, perhaps more obviously, Arthur Jafa's seven-minute video Love is the Message, the Message is Death fromin which the artist has cut together a montage of archive footage that includes photographs of civil rights leaders and footage of the LA riots.
Kanye West's gospel-cum-hip-hop Ultralight Beam acts as the backing track.
Image copyright RCA This Is America has already been watched by a gazillion people, commented on by almost as many, and deconstructed for meaning by media far and wide, from the Sun newspaper to the New Yorker. It consists of a series of linked tableaus set in and around a vast whitewashed warehouse-type garage space a nod, perhaps, to Michael Jackson's Bad video directed by Martin Scorsese, which itself is a nod to the "Cool" scene in the version of West Side Story.
The interior is empty except for a solitary red chair on which there is an acoustic guitar. A bald man with a beard walks towards the chair, picks up the guitar, sits down on the chair and starts to play.
Image copyright RCA The camera moves around him to reveal another man standing with his back to us. He is wearing trousers but no shirt.
He jerks his neck in time to the electro-beats. He turns and starts to move his body in rhythmic but exaggerated gestures choreography by Sherrie Silver.
He walks towards the seated man who now has a hood over his head. The shirtless dancer takes a gun from behind his back, strikes a pose read by many to be mimicking the fictional Jim Crow and shoots the man from point blank range.
Image copyright RCA Now the tune changes, it's darker, heavier. A boy rushes towards the bare-chested assailant Childish Gambinowho places his gun carefully on a piece of red cloth held by the young lad who quickly exits stage right.
Gambino turns to the camera and sings "This is America". We're only seconds in but already have enough symbolism and metaphor to provide a semester's worth of content for discussion on a cultural studies degree course. Like any decent work of art, the more you look the more you see.
There's the obvious stuff, such as how a culture obsessed with consuming sugary entertainment is wilfully ignorant to what's really going on Gambino sings to, and dances with, a group of school children while in the background a Hieronymus Bosch-like world of murder and mayhem goes unseen or unacknowledged.
Colour is clearly a major theme. All the performers are black. The space in which the action takes place is largely white. Red is deployed with a Faustian twist.ah hell, i wrote up a very nice synop and gr ate it.
but a fine fine look at modern art as gompertz is funny, can write clearly and tie things together well, things being friendships, money, critics, movements, philosophies, styles,.
if you need one book of art history of last years, this would be a great addition/5. Gompertz scolds the current crop for failing to have a sharper political edge.
A few names earn a little more space than others: Cézanne, Picasso, Duchamp, Man Ray, Pollock, de Kooning and Warhol are among those who receive more than a paragraph or so. 2 days ago · Congratulations to Wolf Alice on winning this year's Mercury Prize. The London four-piece band picked up the £25, winners' cheque for their album, Visions of A Life, which will be.
Gompertz starts, rightly, with that Duchamp moment: that declaration that modern art is about the primancy of ideas, rather than craft skills.
That a . William Edward Gompertz (born 25 August ) is the BBC's arts editor.. Gompertz was previously director of Tate Media, and appeared in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe in called Double Art History. Gompertz has written extensively for The Guardian and The Times newspapers.
He is the author of What Are You Looking At?: Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. When considering portfolio management tools many people think about complex spreadsheets or Bloomberg terminals. Learn the most powerful tool you can have.