New Exhibit Explores Black Dandy Style and Masculine Identity

BALTIMORE—Call it dapper-style, swagger or “dandyism,” Black men with a penchant for color and the refined appointments of haberdashery, both new and vintage, have gained popular and academic attention in recent years. Two books—“Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity”
and “Gentlemen of Bacongo”
—examine “dandyism” and have popularized the name for the aesthetic style that has existed for generations throughout history in America and in Black cultures around the world.

“A Revolution in Etiquette-Connoisseurs of SWAG,” 2010 (digital C-print) by Hanif Abdur Rahim.

“Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity,” a new exhibit at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture takes a creative approach, exploring the phenomenon and its subjects through the work of 20 emerging photographers and filmmakers.

The exhibit is on view from Jan. 29 to May 13, 2012, and also includes 13 “Global Dandy” images from the Global Africa Project (which was on view at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York last year).

All photos by Arts Observer

The exhibit includes images from 20 emerging photographers.

Photographs by Jamaican-born Radcliffe Roye captured during a month spent in Central Africa.

Detail of “Pomp + In this Circumstance,” 2011 (mixed media and digital print) by Nyugen Smith.

Images by Guyanese photographer Kwesi Abbensetts of two Fort Greene, Brooklyn, subjects—Rob and Adeleke. From left, “Splendor,” “Light Blue” and “Astonishment,” (all 2011 digital prints).

Images by Jamala Johns of three “dandy” gentlemen, from top to bottom row, Jamiyl, Wellington and Alexander (all works digital photography and mixed media).

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