HMAAC Opens Robert Hodge's It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

July 12 - September 7, 2019

Style Magazine Newswire | 7/15/2019, 3:44 p.m.

HMAAC is delighted to originate It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, a solo exhibition of the works by Robert Hodge. The exhibit opens July 12 and runs through September 7, 2019. Like Public Enemy’s eponymous album, Hodge’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back explores the push and pull of questions of identity, self-awareness, and inclusion vs. exclusion, among others, in the context of the contemporary American social fabric. These new works integrate silkscreening and other printmaking techniques, inspired by the Warhol prints on display at The Andy Warhol Museum as well as Afrofuturism and its aesthetics.

Fusing collaged images of traditional African masks, pop cultural icons, and 20th century musical figures with a vibrant, technicolor palette, the works on display simultaneously revere and remix their subjects, projecting an impression of celebratory remembrance.

According to HMAAC Exhibitions Manager, Dominic Clay, “Everyone knows that when Robert Hodge speaks through his art the message is profound.”

In “Mirror”, the words “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” hover above repeating images of Nefertiti in modulating colors, embellished with sewing and abstracted passages of paint. Hodge presents Nefertiti as a figure of reverence, reasserting as an almost totemic symbol of self-love. In “Atomic Bomb”, Hodge juxtaposes images of Mr. T with African masks, a UFO, and imagery associated with Sun Ra and Afrika Bambaataa, key musical figures tied to the Afrofuturist movement. Hodge comments on the divisive consequences of competition, jealousy, and racism in “Man vs. Man”, pairing imagery of fighting men and cutouts of Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, among others, with an American Flag. Snatches of advertising, such as the “Supreme” and “Arm & Hammer” logos appear in other works, a testament to the consumerist, brand-driven foundations of society and culture.

“This exhibition is both compelling and timely,” HMAAC CEO John Guess, Jr. said, “exploring issues of contemporary society that we are confronted with as a nation and that require everyone’s attention to insure a positive common future for us all.”

The exhibition is graciously sponsored by HEB, Melanie Lawson and John Guess, Jr., and the Board of Directors of the Houston Museum of African American Culture.