Colored Frames: A Visual Art Documentary (2007) Looks at Art and Racism
A startlingly impressive collection of art work by African American artists is interwoven with the memories of artists who experienced discrimination throughout their lives and their careers in a documentary relevant to Black History, filmmaker Lerone D. Wilson’s Colored Frames. Those of us who think of art as an international expression of talent might be surprised that in America even the art world was (and still is) largely discriminatory, stifling and exclusive of black artists. Colored Frames examines the struggle of artists from “the height of the Civil Rights Era leading up to the present.”
Black film and other social and cultural trends are discussed as well as the artistic merit of movie posters from Europe during the Blaxploitation era which were better examples of art than the exploitative posters that American studios commissioned. The movement of black artists into more abstract and impressionistic styles is also examined, as well as issues facing black artists such as the inequality represented in the prices paid for their art.
It is distressing to learn that discrimination against any people or form of art deprives people of the opportunity to experience the art of all people. No one will love every painting presented in Colored Frames: A Visual Art Documentary, but these incredible images defy categorization as “Black.” They capture universal emotions, history, and relevant themes regardless of the skin color of the artists or the subjects.
Participants in Colored Frames are gallery owners, artists, and African American art experts, including Benny Andrews, John Ashford, Gustave Blache III, Linda Goode Bryant, Nanette Carter, Ed Clark, Adger W. Cowans, Francks Deceus, Larry Hampton, Marva Huston, Gordon James, June Kelly, John Duke Kisch, Wangechi Mutu, Otto Neals, Ron Ollie, Howardena Pindell, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Danny Simons, Michael J. Singletary, Diane Smith, Duane Smith, Tafa, and Ann Tanksley. They share their memories, many painful, about attempts to have their works accepted and respected.