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Local Color and Its Discontents

Local Color and Its Discontents

The DeLuxe Show

(p.192) (p.193) Chapter 3 Local Color and Its Discontents
Darby English
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the exhibition, The DeLuxe Show, curated by painter Peter Bradley and held in a black ghetto. It is argued that DeLuxe placed its faith in the possibility alone that an encounter with modern art in a congenial surround might spur the youngest among Houston's black poor to recognize a larger imaginative and experiential horizon than people in their circumstances were regularly associated with. This optimism registered the intense hope and expectation of DeLuxe's organizer that the exhibition would engender a whole other idea about the terrain and texture of social life. DeLuxe was an attempt to implement the specifically modernist aspiration to give the beholder something irreducibly original to the experience of this work of art, here and now. DeLuxe thus represents an insistence on the sociality of a mode of ambition that once wanted nothing more than to set the aesthetic apart.

Keywords:   modern art, modernism, black art, black ghetto, Peter Bradley, social life

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