There are times when I’m stunned by the riches available to us on the internet.
I’m thinking today about the power of a link.
Take this week. I got this email from The Paris Review.
Since seeing Ahmaud Arbery murdered, each day after homeschool, my daughter and I meet on the living room floor with images that I’ve found and copied from my father’s photo albums as we quarantine at his home in Texas. There are the faces of my grandmother and her sisters in the country standing grounded and barefoot on dirt roads, my face as a girl racing against the Houston heat to consume a melting ice cream cone in nothing but my panties, moments of Black joy captured in faces that I do not know but recognize all the same. We cut these faces out and put them in the wild on mountaintops, in gardens where they exchange breath with the trees, and in the sky. Using faces of the past, my daughter and I become the architects of Black futures. The practice of collaging has carried me through this grief-heavy quarantine, a meditative motion on nights when I cannot sleep.
Her sentence grabs me: “Using faces of the past, my daughter and I become the architects of Black futures.”
Bonét then writes about the artist Lorna Simpson, who is the one who created the astonishing collage of Black women’s faces.
It turns out that Lorna Simpson, a Brooklyn-born artist, has been making these collages, from old copies of Ebony and Jet magazines, for a long time.
My next link took me to a current online exhibition of her work, “Give Me Some Moments.”
Thanks to the internet, I’ve had the chance to spend time with this artist in a way I might not were it not for that link. Even if Simpson’s large-scale paintings are diminished when seen on my computer screen, I do get to see them. And add her to my bucket list of art to track down once we can travel again.
Thanks to the internet, I get to sit in Lorna Simpson’s studio and listen to her talk about what she does. The video above is from a few years back.
And here’s a conversation from last fall with Lorna Simpson and Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation. She is amazing. He is chatty. Excellent for listening while knitting.
This time of isolation has meant that galleries and art museums are under extreme stress. But every gallery and museum in the world is trying their hardest to connect with us. Go look up your favorite museum—you’ll see what I mean. You’ll be amazed at what can happen when you click a link.