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Full Circle 

When: Oct. 1-31 2008

Race (skin color) and culture were always linked in the past, but there are signs, like the success of the Obama candidacy, that we may be moving toward a more fluid, open notion of identity. Pigmentation and identity are becoming, to use a diplomatic term, decoupled as we move toward a blended multiracial society. In art we find stylistic traditionalists, rebels, and synthesizers. Joe Sam follows African-American artists like Jacob Lawrence and Robert Colescott in learning from the Euro-American tribes (e.g., cannibalistic Picasseans, playful, carefree Rauschenbergers, and shiftless Appropriationists), while pursuing an ethnographic aesthetic that renders justice to the black experience. Joyce Gordon Gallery is showing Sam's vibrant new mixed-media assemblages, entitled Full Circle, made from "found materials from the planet" in homage to Third-World artists; he was inspired by the music of Omar Sousa and Bob Marley. Through October 31 at Joyce Gordon Gallery (406 14th St.,Oakland).510-465-8928.

— DeWitt Cheng


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