Selected Press

‘The Black Index’ upends the impulse for classification

It’s not Austin’s most physically accessible gallery, but the Christian-Green Gallery (part of the Art Galleries at Black Studies at the University of Texas, tucked within the Jester Center) currently welcomes a gem of a show, titled “Black Index,” featuring work by six artists: Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell and Lava Thomas.

Art Center: “Virtual Friday Night opens 'The Black Index' show"

The Palo Alto Art Center celebrates the opening of the exhibition "The Black Index" during its online event, Virtual Friday Night at the Art Center. The event takes place April 30, starting at 6:15 p.m. Visitors can get a sneak peek at the new show before it opens the next day, on May 1, with a gallery walkthrough led by exhibition curator Bridget R. Cooks​. The Virtual Friday night event also includes a poetry activity with playwright Leelee Jackson​.​ Palo Alto author Julie Lythcott-Haims​ will conclude the event with a presentation.

Heather Zimmerman

Culture Type: “What to Look Forward to in 2021: More Than 30 Exhibitions, Books, and Events Focused on African American Art"

THE YEAR AHEAD is rife with an expansive and diverse selection of exhibitions, books and other opportunities to engage with the work of African American artists. From Austin, Texas, to Brooklyn and Boston, a notable line up of solo museum exhibitions opening in 2021 is focused on Black female artists, including Emma Amos, Sonya Clark, Deana Lawson, Wangechi Mutu, Lorraine O’Grady, Christina Quarles, Deborah Roberts, and Alma Thomas. Disrupting traditional expectations of portraiture, Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas employ drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to “build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images” and “question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding” offering “an alternative practice—a Black index—that still serves as a finding aid for information about Black subjects, but also challenges viewers’ desire for classification.” Dedicated to David C. Driskell, the exhibition is curated by Bridget R. Cooks, includes a fully illustrated catalog and will travel the Palo Alto Art Center, the University of Texas at Austin, and Hunter College.

Gulf Coast Magazine “On Retrieval: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s Black Feminist Spell” by Ra Malika Imhotep

India ink meets large sheets of Dura-Lar, a translucent acetate-based film, by way of handmade brushes the artist forages from nature and uses until they are reduced back to common branches, bits of twine, Spanish moss, and feathers. This foraging belongs to a tradition of resourcefulness Hinkle claims as her inheritance as a Black woman. Hinkle's un-portraits channel the energy of Black women and children from the African Diaspora rather than descriptively reflect their appearance. The women that take shape in Hinkle's fluid black forms are full of a kinetic energy, channeled into them by the artist's dance-compelled mark making. Forcing the artist to reckon with them on their own terms, some women desire precisely-coiffed baby hairs, or many legs, or multiple breasts and hands.

Story Rebels: “Dear Sir,” Malika Ali Harding

In SIR, visual artist and writer Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, speculates on acts of naming within her own family lineage and across the African diaspora. Will the names in which we fit our children serve as shields? Bullet-proof vests? Or rather, as thrones — Black motherhood’s sly hand, demanding pomp and circumstance, instead of pipelines to prisons. ‘SIR: Somebody whose blood is lined with royalty. Somebody who is entitled to have a title.’

Brooklyn Rail: “Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s SIR"

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s SIR is equal parts artist book, poetry collection, and memoir. Hinkle’s visual, performance, and written works study what she calls the “historical present,” or history’s impact on contemporary daily life. SIRexplores Hinkle’s childhood and family, her mother’s pregnancy with her oldest brother and decision to name him Sir, the aspirational power of names and what they carry for their bearers, and Louisville’s history of slavery and segregation. As she writes in the afterward, Hinkle was fascinated by “historical and contemporary naming / labeling of the black body.” This personal case study of her family and hometown emerged from this interest.

Megan N. Liberty

KQED: “In a Future-Oriented SECA Show, East Bay Artists Shine"

Walking through the galleries hosting the works of this year’s SECA Art awardees, you might find yourself thinking of the future. Displayed across three adjoining galleries on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s second floor, each artist in their own room, Marlon Mullen, Sahar Khoury and Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle all use old objects as physical starting points. But their final works don’t feel even remotely nostalgic. (A respite from the mood that’s permeating cultural production right now.)

Ruth Gebreyesus

SF Chronicle Datebook: “Visual intelligence trumps theory: SFMOMA’s 2019 SECA exhibition"

Since 1967, nearly 200 of the brightest lights among Bay Area artists have been honored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with its SECA Art Award, which comes with a museum show. Winnowed by an exhaustive process, the art is always worth attention. As an exhibition, this year’s offering has got to be among the best. Organized by Linde Lehtinen and Nancy Lim, SFMOMA assistant curators, the show opens Saturday, Nov. 16. It is a concise curatorial argument for art informed by visual intelligence, unbridled by academic theory or polemical posturing. It makes its case quietly, almost surreptitiously — self-confident but never self-satisfied.

Charles Desmaris

The New Inquiry: “Nia in Two Acts”

Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle began her series The Evanesced in 2016 with 100 india-ink and watercolor paintings of black women disappeared and disposed of, disregarded, discounted, controlled, confined, and left for dead, whether by physical violence, psychological abuse, cultural erasure, or social death. In each press account the inspiration for the series is recounted a little differently: the crisis of missing girls in Washington DC, or the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer in LA, or sex trafficking, or all the ways we abandon or “ghost” black women, as Hinkle puts it. There is space here in The Evanesced for Nia Wilson and Jessica St. Louis, for Diamond Stephens and Sandra Bland. And when I stand in front of these women, following their lines and listening to how they take up space on their page, there is room as well for me, and for the black women who have held me in community and for the black women I don’t know who I pass when I transfer trains at MacArthur. And so too there’s space for Maya, who was reminded so acutely of black women’s vulnerability when Nia Wilson was murdered that she forgot how to breathe.

Leigh Raiford

Ebony Magazine: “Artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle Explores Politics of the Female Body

On the first day of a class trip to Spain, interdisciplinary visual artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and a friend got lost in the red-light district of Madrid. “I was constantly assumed to be a prostitute because I looked the way that I looked,” Hinkle recalls. The experience was jarring. “Men were [exposing themselves] in front of me. One man pulled out a sword and threatened our whole group.” Though traumatic, the experience added a layer of depth to Hinkle’s The Uninvited Series, exhibited at Art Basel Miami last December. The series, which has been in the works since 2008, includes photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that interrogate the exotification and perception of the Black female body by French colonialists. Hinkle, 29, reconstructs and reimagines the women through vivid drawings and unique placements on the canvas—in a sense restoring their loss of power.

Latoya Cross

Art Galleries at Black Studies presents "The Black Index" opening day

The artists featured in "The Black Index" - Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas - build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. Using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to transform the recorded image, these artists question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding. Their works offer an alternative practice - a Black index - that still serves as a finding aid for information about Black subjects, but also challenges viewers’ desire for classification.

Hyperallergic: “Six Black Artists Test the Limits of Portraiture”

The Evanesced: The Untouchables (2020) by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle collects 100 ink drawings inspired by Black women who have been harmed and disappeared. The sinuous brushstrokes honor essences and spirit movements, as Hinkle channels what could have been. Describing them as “unportraits,” Hinkle expresses the psychological pressure of being seen and unseen.

Spectrum News: “Black Index Press"

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — When she looked upon the masks and drawings, Bridget Cooks saw mourning and grief in all its authenticity and rawness.She described those things when she penned her 2016 essay The Black Index, which explored the works of artists who didn’t seek to reconcile their pain but to explore it. And her writing and the work she studied was, among other things, about mourning.

William D’urso

SIR Book Review: Jen Everrett, Strange Fire

One of my first conversations with visual artist and writer Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle took place in a library. As we discussed our creative practices and our lives, she told me that she was trying to heal herself. It was unexpected, and I have never forgotten her words. Reading Hinkle’s genre defying book SIR brought me back to that moment, among the stacks.

A Woman's Thing: "Young, Gifted and Black," Largest Public Showing in NYC

The Lehman College Art Gallery opens the 2020 season this Wednesday to show “Young, Gifted and Black,” an exhibition of 50 contemporary works of new and emerging artists that explore themes of race, class, politics and human dignity through various mediums, including painting, drawing, portraiture, sculpting, multimedia, metalworks and new materials.

Studio Magazine (Fall/Winter Issue 2019-20)

Studio is the Studio Museum in Harlem's biannual magazine, distributed free of charge to members and visitors.

LSS Art Advisory: “Winter 2019 Preview-A Guide to California’s Must-See Exhibitions”

Temperatures are cooling, but things are just heating up for the California art scene. From north to south, gallery exhibitions to museum retrospectives, check out our guide to the must-see shows of the holiday season, outlined below. Established in 1967 by SFMOMA’s Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art, the SECA Art Award recognizes and honors individual Bay Area artists each year and includes an exhibition at SFMOMA. The 2019 SECA Art Award show features three Bay Area artists, each with a dedicated gallery: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Sahar Khoury, and Marlon Mullen. Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s interdisciplinary practice explores “the historical present,” her term for the persistent residue of history in contemporary life. Sahar Khoury transforms discarded materials into sculptures animated by freewheeling experimentation and personal narrative. Marlon Mullen takes magazine covers as his primary source imagery, translating them into vividly painted abstractions.

SF MOMA Highlights Contemporary Artists with 2019 SECA Art Award and New Work Shows This Winter

In addition to its major contemporary survey show SOFT POWER, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will showcase the work of local and international contemporary artists with SECA and New Work exhibitions this winter. The 2019 SECA Art Award exhibition will feature this year’s award recipients, Bay Area artists Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Sahar Khoury and Marlon Mullen in the museum’s second-floor California galleries. In New Work: Nevin Aladağ in the museum’s fourth-floor New Work gallery, Aladağ will explore culture, transformation and belonging with a series of sculptures that unite musical instruments.

ASAP Journal: “Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: The Evanesced: Embodied Disappearance”

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s work as an interdisciplinary visual artist, writer, and performer is a sustained practice in conjuring Black women’s past and present lives into intimate spaces. As she explains in her artist statement, “I make work that allows the dead to talk.”1 Her most recent ongoing project, The Evanesced, consists of over 100 drawings and large-scale paintings of missing Black women in the United States and the African diaspora; it also comprises a series of performances.

Misha Choudhry

With 'The Black Index,' Palo Alto Art Center explores representation

When printed photographs became available to the public in the mid-19th century, the phrase "the camera never lies" was coined, largely because the photograph was considered a faithful representation; a precise and infallible record of persons or events. We now know that the medium of photography is open to any number of manipulations and distortions. The current exhibition at the Palo Alto Art Center, "The Black Index," seeks to, according to a press release, "question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding," especially as it pertains to Black subjects.

Widewalls: “10 Exhibitions to See During Black History Month"

An annual celebration that originated in the United States, Black History Month pays tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled to achieve full citizenship in American society. It began with the Negro History Week that was initiated in 1925, which encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It became a central part of African American life by 1950 and the celebration was first expanded to a month in 1976. The University Art Galleries at UC Irvine will host the exhibition that brings together works by Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas. Titled The Black Index, it builds upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. These artists transformed photographs using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology, questioning the medium as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding.

LA Times: “We Exist in Other Ways, the Black Index”

It came in response to death. Bridget Cooks, an associate professor of African American studies and art history at UC Irvine, said in an interview Saturday that the idea for what is now “The Black Index,” an exhibition of works from six different artists that debuted Thursday, rose from an essay that she’d written for a textbook released just last year called “A Companion to Contemporary Drawing.” The essay focused on the efforts of featured artists Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar and Whitfield Lovell, whose work Cooks felt were invested in the beauty and survival of Black people. She gave a talk on her essay at Hunter College in New York about two years ago and was approached by Sarah Watson, the chief curator at Hunter College Art Galleries, to turn it into an exhibition.’

SF MOMA Artist Cribs: Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle

Artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle offers a tour of her Berkeley studio. See where the 2019 SECA art award winner and her son draw, paint, dance, experiment, and inspire.

“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” Lindsey Pannor

Thursday, November 7th of 2019 was marked by a conversation between Mark Godfrey and Kenyatta Hinkle, hosted by ARC at the David Brower Center. The two—Godfrey of the Tate Modern and Hinkle of UC Berkeley’s Art Practice Department—came together to discuss the opening of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the de Young Museum the night prior. By the time the collection reached the de Young it had travelled to five different locations throughout the United States.

SF Examiner: “Bold new work from SECA Award winners"

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently opened its biennial SECA Art Award Exhibition, and the showcase of 2019’s awardees should not be missed. The three winners represent a wide range of disciplines; Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is an inter- disciplinary visual artist, Marlon Mullen is a painter and Sahar Khoury is a sculptor Co-curated by Linde B. Lehtinen and Nancy Lim, the thoughtful, appreciative exhibition, running through April 12, is divided into three spaces, with each artist’s show in its own room.

Hannah Bennet

JUXTAPOZ Mag: “SECA Art Award Recipients Emerge @ SFMOMA"

Step into Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s space, and it’s “Like a Heat Wave,” her pieces arranged around walls of searing cadmium red that scorch a path through elements that she calls “the unspeakable, the unsayable.” With ink washes, acrylic paint, glitter, and collage, she transforms old images into what she calls the Historical Present. The result of almost anthropological research, she offers an arresting new lens on the romantic notion of Gone With The Wind or the exotica of National Geographic.

SFAC: “Proposals for the Sculpture Honoring Dr. Maya Angelou at the SF Main Library”

The San Francisco Arts Commission is conducting a selection process to choose an artist to create a sculpture honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou to be located at the San Francisco Main Library. The artwork is intended to honor one of the most significant literary artists and activists of our time, and will be an ever- present role model and inspiration to girls and young women. While most of the sculptures in the City’s collection that honor individuals recognize white men, the sculpture of Dr. Maya Angelou will redress this gender imbalance by not only honoring a woman, but a woman of color. Three artists were chosen as finalists by a Public Art Selection Panel to create site-specific proposals for this artwork opportunity: Jules Arthur, Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle, and Lava Thomas.

Big Think: “Only two of San Francisco's 87 public sculptures depict women — its newest will honor Maya Angelou"

Maya Angelou will be commemorated in a new permanent art installation in San Francisco. Poet and novelist, Angelou, had a storied relationship with the city. She attended the George Washington High School, and was said to have been one of San Francisco's first African American female streetcar conductors.

Mike Kolagrossi