To have “skin in the game” is to have a personal stake in a competitive endeavor, placing assets at risk, win or lose.  For Black folk in this game we call America, the asset risked is the body itself ­- its physical being and cultural identity.

Curated by Brent Holmes, SKIN IN THE GAME presents works by 17 artists working during this time of unrest that challenge mainstream assumptions of Black identity and artistic practice.

Their pieces range from experiments in Afrofuturism and Afropunk to street portraiture, abstraction, exercises in queer humor, and the appropriation of minstrelsy. Media includes video and animation, digital illustration, performance video, VR (virtual reality), painting, photography, and sculpture.

The artists featured are AJ McClenon, Antwane Lee, Ashanti McGee, Ashley Hairston Doughy, Carlos Ramirez, Cat Jones, Crackheadbarney, Dana Satterwhite, Jason Woodberry, Karla Lagunas, Lance L Smith, Marcus Kiser, Mark Steven Greenfield, Q’shaundra James, Saladboibookclub, Se7en Captures, and Sloane Siobhan.

Although focusing primarily on Black voices, SKIN IN THE GAME includes artists of various ethnicities and backgrounds who show solidarity and commitment to the cause of racial justice.

The exhibition will launch online as a virtual exhibition with the intention to open doors to view the works in-person in Palos Verdes Art Center’s galleries, COVID mandates permitting. Zoom events will be announced providing discussion with the artists.

“The dangers inherent in being Black-bodied in America are an intractable reality in the ever-unraveling story of our nation. The epistemological battlefield that we occupy in this cultural moment has centered itself around American Blackness. Physical Blackness, as ontological tract, forces a constant undulating dynamism that has built the cultural landscape of these United States.  The myth of Black inferiority is persistently abetted by spaces and structures intended to constrain Black excellence.  The inherited risk of long perpetuated subjugation places the African diaspora in a scenario of perpetual precarity. Despite this consistent danger and harm, Black people have developed a panoply of self-expression as diverse as the people it emanates from. The intent of this exhibition is not a display of Black suffering, but a depiction of self within the context imparted by possession of a Black body and the associated interiority within the shifting modalities of Black consciousness.”

Brent Holmes, Curator

Brent Holmes is an artist, activist and cultural animator whose work investigates contemporary social structures through a historical lens. Much of his work examines epistemological warfare, the body, food, play, and cultural discourse. He has exhibited at the Torrance Art Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, and is part of the permanent collection of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. He is the co-organizer of local performance art event RADAR, a food writer, and photojournalist for Nevada Public Radio.