If you happen to find yourself in Chicago, may I recommend stopping by The Museum of Contemporary Photography to check out their latest exhibit: Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity.
The exhibit seeks to distinguish the historical and contemporary expressions of the Black Dandy phenomenon in popular culture. The first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, this project highlights young men in city-landscapes who defy stereotypical and monolithic understandings of Black masculinity by remixing Victorian-era fashion with traditional African sartorial sensibilities. Featuring work from emerging and renown photographers and filmmakers from the US, Europe and Africa including several from Rose Callahan from I Am Dandy fame, the show looks to combat the limited and narrow ideas of masculinity and men’s fashion.
In a time where media images of black men continue to reinforce stereotypes rather than offer a broader view of African-American experiences, curator Shantrelle Lewis hopes to push against these preconceived notions. “There’s something to be said about how images continue to perpetuate aggression and fear of black men in our society, images that are closely related to the commercialized image of the thug and the rapper, what we hear on the radio and what we see in films and on TV,” Lewis said. “It’s a manufactured image. I think of those images as being controlled and I think it’s time we collectively as a society across races and demographics begin to really dismantle them.”
The show runs from April 6th – July 12.