Inspired by stories of historical and contemporary Black cowboys, when no softness came reimagines the trope of heroic male victors riding on horseback by illustrating a moment of respite and ease. Like many of Diedrick Brackens’s weavings, this scene of intimacy and tenderness creates personal mythologies that center queer Black identity.
In celebration of Pride 2021, we’ll be spotlighting LGBTQ+ artists and themes currently on view in The Slipstream: Reflection, Resilience, and Resistance in the Art of Our Time, an exhibition that offers space to stay grounded, gather strength, and consider paths into the future.
Diedrick Brackens (American, born 1989). when no softness came, 2019. Cotton and acrylic yarn. Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by The LIFEWTR Fund at Frieze New York 2019, 2019.12. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Image courtesy Various Small Fires LA)
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Diedrick Brackens at Oakville Galleries
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blessed are the mosquitoes, diedrick brackens, 2020
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Diedrick Brackens (American, 1989), opening tombs beneath the heart, 2018. Cotton and acrylic yarn, 72 x 79 in.
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Diedrick Brackens, ‘shape of a fever believer’, woven cotton and acrylic yarn, 2020
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Diedrick Brackens. the bravest sons, 2018
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Diedrick Brackens, the bravest sons, 2018
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Diedrick Brackens, “Flying Geese” (2020)
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diedrick brackens, “beyond the yard,” 2015, woven cotton and nylon yarn, bleach
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Diedrick Brackens at Jack Shainman Gallery
Queer community in natural settings inspired Diedrick Brackens latest show of vibrant weavings at Jack Shainman Gallery’s 20th Street location. Here, two figures connect to each other via the closeness of their echoing silhouettes as they create organic shapes in harmony with the landscape around them. (On view through August 20th). Diedrick Brackens, Summer Syllables, woven cotton and acrylic yarn, 86 x 80 inches, 2021.
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summer somewhere(for Danez)
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Diedrick Brackens by Connor Franta
VMan / March 2021
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Offsetting the comfort and warmth implied by the softness and pliability of textiles, Brackens’s iconographies embody the harsh realities of queer Blackness. The ritualistic compositions grapple with the untold everyday violence committed against Black people, including the unequal impact of HIV/AIDS on Black and marginalized populations; by extension, they also inadvertently speak to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on these very same communities. In the face of such injustices, Brackens upholds love and kinship as threads of connectedness that repair and sustain. — Charlene K. Lay, Frieze Magazine
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Diedrick Brackens. in the valley, 2018
C&: You also teach as an Assistant Professor at Cal State Long Beach. Do you see a responsibility in passing along the craft and tradition?
DB: That’s a difficult question. I see my responsibility centering around mentorship more than specifically cultivating a new cohort of weavers. There are such a precious few Black art students I have the chance to interact with in my time as an educator – I can count them on one hand. And I want to see that change. I want to pass on a sensitivity to material and process-driven approaches to making. I value craft practice and mastery and I want to continue to push for it as the art world continues to get techie.
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Diedrick Brackens, ‘The Cup is a Cloud’, woven cotton, acrylic yarn and mirrored acrylic, 2018
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When No Softness Came
Cotton and acrylic yarn, 2019
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Blanton Museum Artist Talk with Diedrick Brackens. November, 2020
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