Nathaniel Donnett’s ZZZ’s reviewed

10 Jan
Photo credit: Nathaniel Donnett

Photo credit: Nathaniel Donnett

December 17th, 2012 – Carrie Marie Schneider

ZZzzzzzz by Nathaniel Donnett was the result of his one-week residency at Art League Houston as part of the group show/mini residency STACKS, curated by Robert Pruitt. On opening night for STACKS, the five participating artists—Phillip Pyle II, Nathaniel Donnett, Jamal Cyrus, M’kina Tapscott and Autumn Knight—were clad in gray hazmat suits while they inventoried, announced, axed and fed collected objects that their offerers felt represented “blackness” into a wood chipper. Each subsequent week one of these artists is invited to use the remnants in their own exhibition.

In a panel discussion for ZZzzzzzz, Pruitt framed STACKS as a way to make public and tangible the conversations he’d been having with his peers, as well as a way to defy the lack of expectation and exhibition of rigorous conceptual work and theory-based investigations by black artists, “to show that we talk about what they do not think we are thinking about.” When asked whether continuing to rehash and redefine “Black Art” only continues black artists’ confinement to an expected loop, Pruitt said it is the conversation that matters.

On that note, I’d like to point out that the talk for ZZzzzzzz was rare in two ways: 1. It was a participatory performance work that asked to hear about the participants’ experiences. 2. It was a panel discussion that actually included discussion.

Nathaniel Donnett was the second STACKS artist to have his go. His first choice of medium was time travel, but barring that, dreams were the next best thing.

Inspired by Carl Jung’s writing and his St. Elizabeth experiment (to determine if African Americans had a different consciousness than white Americans), Donnett led a week chock full of investigations around the idea of “Black Imagination.” It started with inviting four people, two artists and two collectors, to spend the night in the gallery space. They slept, attempted to sleep, or cursed Donnett for sleep deprivation to a soundtrack he created from lectures, found sounds and music. “Donnie Darko” also played.

Continue reading the article here

zz n6 donnett photo credit

zz n9 donnett photo credit

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: