Call and Response: Arvie Smith Talks Trash

Jackson Arn, Frieze Magazine, October 27, 2022

If the mammy, the sambo, the picaninny — indeed, the whole rotten army of stereotypes that whiteness invented to belittle Blackness — represent some of the filthiest trash America’s dreamed up, then ‘Arvie Smith: Call and Response’, now on view at Monique Meloche in Chicago, acts as a gorgeous garbage dump for it. There are slave masters and hypocrite-priests, swastikas and confederate flags, and somewhere near the centre of almost all of these paintings are the slave ships that started it all. A few even include what look like white performers in blackface, though, really, it’s all a form of white caricature in one way or another.


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