Black Arts at OxyMain MenuIntroductionAmy Lyford's introduction to Art History 389 class projectWorks in the ExhibitionClose inspection of artists' works in contextBlack Arts, Culture and Community at Occidental: 1969-1972Landing page for Oxy historical context for the exhibition and the culture re: black student experience + curriculumBlack Arts, Culture and Community in Los Angeles: 1969-1972Landing page for research about the broader cultural, political, and artistic context in LA, 1969-1972BibliographyAll sources for the current iteration of Black Arts at OxyAmy Lyford7f58938a63eff8db4092d452d1f6451c2056d580Allison Wendt5f609f9e327122da9a07a273744d9e6d158702fcLeila Wang57ba150afc9b24810f035018ea1dcdcf8ac91999Christina Sabinf0fc1c7a57adf43a59c2ba72758e45fee772e3d4Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973bKellen Holte3d1dbad48f5400866a6acd47d4afed94700451aJennifer Keane585455368ba9baefcc126fd1c8f4bd3f64c3e50dSophia McGintye2afbd2b58ee1a169801b7d90740468951cc4d86Katherine Torrey6fe8a07abe4c528e68021a61b56ce660c8aa4882Emily Dwyer5902de6501051e6518d15bf822af5ad8e1c359d9Chloe Welmond980bbb8a8d7c8a417dc46daa91a71eecefd4118aKailee Stovalle823ac3a96f225f888ac5f74bc901add983ccdcfJocelyn Lob248c946ca9bbc33f02e61d9487c6b7452c7ed45
"Traditional Hang Up" by John Outterbridge (1969)
12016-12-12T12:34:55-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b128341An assemblage piece done by John Outterbridge in 1969 as part of his Containment Seriesplain2016-12-12T12:34:55-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b
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12016-12-12T12:35:54-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973bResemblance to a CrucifixVanessa Todd3plain2016-12-12T13:17:50-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b
12016-12-12T12:35:39-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973bIrony of MetalVanessa Todd3plain2016-12-12T13:17:49-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b
12016-12-12T12:36:12-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973bRepresentation of GallowsVanessa Todd3plain2016-12-12T13:17:52-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b
12016-12-12T12:35:23-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973bUse of the FlagVanessa Todd3plain2016-12-12T12:37:09-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b
12016-12-12T12:36:02-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973bFilling of the BaseVanessa Todd2plain2016-12-12T12:37:16-08:00Vanessa Toddd44a174f5c0bf51566a0822429f8a0c533cf973b
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12016-12-12T12:19:14-08:00John Outterbridge, "Traditional Hang Up," 196912A detailed discussion on John Outterbridge's piece, "Traditional Hang Up," (1969)plain3508562016-12-19T07:55:37-08:00John Outterbridge uses everyday objects and materials and transforms them into works which are not predicated on notions of beauty, but on understanding his surroundings and other peoples' lives. Much of Outterbridge's work makes use of his exposure to African folklore and Gullah culture (the last group of people in North and South Carolina to speak creole and retain majority African traditions) over the course of his upbringing in the South. Outterbridge's assemblage pieces offer a unique perspective on the traditions and struggles within the African American community in part because of the convergence of black folk culture and city concerns and sensibilities in his sculptures. The piece "Traditional Hang Up" was put on display at Occidental College in October of 1971. It is an assemblage allows Outterbridge to juxtapose diverse materials to achieve a patchwork effect. Disjuncture factors in heavily to any reading of "Traditional Hang-Up" because it sets the tone of irony and hypocrisy that appears in the individual elements of the sculpture. The piece was part of Outterbridge's first assemblage series called the Containment Series. Other works from the Containment Series deal with physical and psychological restriction; many are panels using metal and highlight industrialism. Among those works, "Traditional Hang Up" stands out for its unusual T-shape which resembles a partial crucifix and for its overt politics by incorporating an American flag. The arrangement of the stars and stripes in the piece creates only a fragmented view of the American flag not an exact imitation. The flag is a piece of steel, rather than the rag or cloth which Outterbridge used in later pieces, which strips it of all the lively animation a flag normally possesses. By changing the nature of the flag, he comments on the representation of African Americans who are not given the opportunity to express themselves as individuals to the same extent as the white majority. Similarly to the way he saw the flag operating as a tool of deception, Outterbridge viewed the relationship of African-Americans to Christianity as fraught with lies. While in many later works, spirituality is plays an affirmative role, in "Traditional Hang-Up" the crucifix-like shape speaks to Outterbridge's view that Christianity had done as much to justify violence against African-Americans as it had done to provide them spiritual support. The bottom half of "Traditional Hang-Up" is made from a carved wood, which is filled with figurines that resemble skulls stacked one upon the other. These skulls allude to the mass murder of Africans on trans-Atlantic slave ships and the deaths of so many more black people by the hand of slave owners, lynching mobs, and governmental authorities after reaching American land. The name of the piece and its T-shaped composition extend the reference to murder: the name refers to hanging, and the shape hints at the shape of gallows. John Outterbridge critiques nationhood and the American flag as false propaganda for a country which has from its genesis instituted governance and spirituality for the purpose of systematically killing and oppressing African Americans. Additionally, a flag left tattered is seen as a sign of disrespect, and this element of "Traditional Hang-Up" implies that murder of African-Americans has brought disgrace to the flag and to the country. This broader understanding of the flag's significance was complimented by Outterbridge's personal experiences with the flag. He enlisted in the army at age 19 and saw many neighbors and friends go serve the American military during his youth. Outterbridge recounts in an interview that he considered the American flag dubious because of its use in support of white supremacy; however, he also expresses pride in the flag’s role in his life and in the many African-Americans he knew to serve under the flag. It often decorated windows of homes in his childhood neighborhood to commemorate family members who died in military service. While "Traditional Hang Up" critiques the flag as a symbol which obscures reality, Outterbridge viewed it as a symbol which can be taken back.
Page created by Vanessa Todd and Allison Wendt in December 2016.