artists & participants
I Call My Brother Sun Because He Shines Like One is a multi-media installation which explores contemporary stereotypes of African-Americans, adornment, black aesthetics, and black visual traditions. Melding disparate elements of African and African American history with found objects, Pruitt creates an array of works including drawing, sculpture, and video. For example, a .38 caliber prop gun emblazoned with the Nike “swoosh” logo and the silhouette of Air Jordan in mid-dunk is appropriately entitled Just Do It. As such, this piece delves into the notion of how black culture is co-opted and marketed back to black consumers. At the same time, Low Rider Art, a bicycle wheel with a highly polished chrome frame and a crushed velvet seat, plays with the idea of blacks as “readymade artists”, focussing their creative energies on personal possessions (i.e., bikes, cars, clothes, backyards, teeth) rather than investing in western ideas of art making.
Pruitt writes: “I have been educated by the contemporary art system, but my neighborhood, and most of its residents, are unaware of this world, and that world is unaware of it. This is the dichotomy out of which I work. An inhabitant of two worlds, my work attempts to bridge the gap between African cultural traditions supposedly lost to African Americans, and contemporary art making tactics. I fuse Hip-hop sensibilities, rewritten histories, and penchant for the found, (or cheaply bought) object. I romanticize the revolutionary ideologies of the seventies, the dope fresh styles of the eighties, and the conceptual art making practices of the nineties. I collect objects, quotes, and events from my stereotypically disenfranchised neighborhood, bring them back to my studio, and mix them up to make art. My materials are artifacts stained with memory and meaning. I use these artifacts to make objects and images that expound on the black condition in America, and I use a chitlin circuit style of humor to sneak it into the subconscious of my audience.”
Robert Pruitt lives and works in Houston, TX, and was recently featured in Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art at the Contemporary Art Museum and Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas at the Dallas Museum of Art. Pressetext
Robert A. Pruitt - I Call My Brother Sun Because He Shines Like One