THE AMAZING BLACK MAN: Kumasi J. Barnett Solo Exhibition
Saturday, May 21 | Ongoing through July 16
@ The Peale
The Peale is thrilled to present THE AMAZING BLACK MAN, a groundbreaking exhibition by Baltimore-based artist Kumasi J. Barnett, curated by Jeffrey Kent, the Peale’s Chief Curator, and represented by L.A-based gallery Lowell Ryan Projects. With inspiration from classic comics like The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Superman, Daredevil and Captain America, this important exhibition features exuberant, hand-painted comic book covers. Each cover is actually painted over top of an older Marvel or DC comic book, replacing the heroes of yesteryear with new, contemporary characters such as “The Amazing Black-Man,” “The Media’s Thug,” “Whitedevil,” and “Police-Man.”
Other changes to traditional characters are also evident: Spiderman’s red and blue bodysuit turns into a hoodie and jeans; Superman’s logo becomes the stars and bars of the Confederate flag, and in Kumasi’s work, the supernatural, extraterrestrial world villains are more earthly; they are the police. “By addressing real world issues through a superhuman genre, Barnett’s work dissolves the disconnect between contemporary American narratives and the reality of ‘justice,’ making us reexamine cultural conceptions surrounding the Good versus Evil paradigm.” (Excerpted from Lowell Ryan Projects).
Kumasi J. Barnett received his MFA from The Ohio State University, and now lives and works in Baltimore, MD. Influenced by the aesthetics and narratives of comic books, his work subverts and imbues the often timeless genre with a present day social consciousness. Barnett frequently paints directly over old copies of comic books, changing their narratives into critiques of police brutality, racial profiling, and more broadly, systemic racism.
Barnett’s works have been exhibited widely both in the United States and abroad, including exhibitions at Lowell Ryan Projects, Los Angeles, CA; the SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY; City Lore, New York, NY; Con-Artist Collective, New York, NY; The Arsenal Gallery, New York, NY; Sulphur Bath Studio, Brooklyn, NY; and The Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY. Museum exhibitions include the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa; The Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL; and most recently the Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento, CA. Barnett presented a solo booth with Lowell Ryan Projects at The Armory Show 2020, in the Focus section curated by Jamillah James. Barnett’s work has been featured in Artforum, Ammo, Vibe, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, Autre, Artnet News, and The Guardian, among others.