Noel W. Anderson

b. 1981 in Louisville, Kentucky; lives and works in New York, New York


Artist Noel W. Anderson explores the evolving makeup of black male identity through his reworking of found images and textiles, such as erased Ebony pages and distressed jacquard tapestries.

He writes, in part: “The use of cotton and its attendant vocabulary once woven is an intricate exchange with American history. The grain of images, the ‘nap of the weave,’ the wavering borders suggest the margin creeps into the frame. Collapse is irresistible. Loose threads and the natural warp of the material represent a glitch that invites viewers to revisit their memories and notions. The Jacquard weave recalls analog while accompanying sound and video further develop the artist’s dialogue with how technological developments have changed our seeing. The digital artifact doesn’t glitch or slip. This trains a contemporary eye to trust the given image. The simultaneous familiarity and distortion of these ground images welcome viewers, while forcing them to physically shift in order to register the tapestries’ meanings. This is an exercise in perspective alteration.”

During his Tamarind residency, Anderson created a series of three lithographs that extend his interest in image distortion and cultural meanings. The selectivity and sensitivity with which he dissolved found media images points to the physical and metaphorical power of representation.

Anderson was recently included in the Studio Museum of Harlem’s exhibition Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet, and Contemporary Art, which included an internationally published book. He held an appointment as a Visiting Lecturer at Vanderbilt University, and was also a recent Visiting Artist and Lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, France. In 2018, he was awarded the NYFA artist fellowship grant and the prestigious Jerome Prize. His solo exhibition Blak Origin Moment debuted at the Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati) in February 2017 and travelled to the Hunter Museum of American Art in October 2019. His first monograph, Blak Origin Moment, was published in conjunction with this exhibition. In 2021, his work will be the subject of a solo exhibition, Noel W. Anderson: Heavy is the Crown, at Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia. Anderson holds a BFA from Ohio Wesleyan University, an MFA from Indiana University in Printmaking, and an MFA from Yale University in Sculpture. He is currently Area Head of Printmaking in NYU’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions.


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