Every year the rich, famous and influential descend on Miami Beach for Art Basel. While celebrities strategically positioning themselves in front of priceless works for that perfect ‘gram, one of the most important activist movements is taking their own artistic position. Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) hashtag and movement, will curate a group show at the New Art Dealers Alliance fair that includes works by emerging black artists, such as Sadie Barnette, Damon Davis, Kandis Williams, Oto Abasi, and Kenyatta A.C.
For Miami Art Week the Black Lives Matter Global Network is also launching merchandise created with artist Hebru Brantley, whose work is heavily influenced by the South Side of Chicago’s Afro Cobra movement in the 1960s and ’70s. The collection features limited edition long sleeve T-Shirts and hoodies with Brantley’s iconic illustrations and “BLACK LIVES MATTER” design. They are still available on the BLM website.
This is not BLM’s first foray into the art world, or merch for that matter. Just last month organizers sold limited-edition tote bags and other products that featured designs by the graphic artist and Black Panther member, Emory Douglas. The collection is also available on their website. The striking and coherent aesthetics of BLM has supplemented the movement’s tireless community building, organizing and protesting over recent years. And while their presence at Miami Art Week is significant, the movement’s collaborative attitude, strong visual language and utilization of merch reflects the political potential of clothing within this current moment.
If you’re feeling a little lost, don’t worry! Here’s everywhere you need to go during Art Basel Miami Beach, according to DJ Tennis.