Black Belt

Main Gallery Dec 11, 2004–Feb 12, 2005

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Black Belt
Dec 11, 2004–Feb 12, 2005





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Rico Gatson, The Art of Battle, 2003 (detail)

Black Belt offered an in-depth look at a particular intersection between African American and Asian American cultures from the 1970s and 1980s. The nearly fifty works in different media by nineteen contemporary American artists of diverse backgrounds interpreted political and philosophical connections among people of color, and explored their resonance in pop culture and urban life. When Carl Douglas’s song “Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting” was a hit, and Bruce Lee was making his last film, Game of Death (costarring Kareem Abdul Jabar), young people break dancing and rhyming in the Bronx were creating the foundation for hip-hop culture. At the same time, the Asian immigration boom was changing the urban landscape of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Black Belt reflected this unique cross-cultural fascination with Bruce Lee, Kung Fu, and Eastern martial arts imagery in a wide range of works in different media. Black Belt was organized by Christine Y. Kim, the Studio Museum in Harlem.