In 1949 the City of Oakland, CA designed the double-decked Cypress Street Viaduct to ease traffic on local streets leading to the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Built during the “white roads through black bedrooms” era, the route was partially chosen to displace perceived slums in West Oakland. It was destroyed by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The collapse of the upper tier onto the lower tier resulted in 42 fatalities despite rescue efforts by neighborhood residents. Oakland successfully resisted efforts to rebuild the freeway in the same location. After the viaduct was torn down, Cypress Street was renamed Mandela Parkway, in honor of Nelson Mandela, and a landscaped median strip was planted where the viaduct once stood.
This piece is inspired by an old favorite Donald Judd (June 3, 1928 – February 12, 1994) an American artist associated with minimalism. In addition, a new favorite Ellsworth Kelly (May 31, 1923 – December 27, 2015) was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker associated with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and minimalism. Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. It is often interpreted as a reaction against Abstract expressionism and a bridge to Postminimal art practices.
1 of 14
The installation is comprised of 14 - 20” x 20” images. Each photograph was captured within 1 hour while strolling down Mandela Parkway in West Oakland. After Black & White processing, 1 color from a spectrum of 14 was applied to each. White & Black shapes were created that rotate around the center of the images in 14 equal increments.
The whiteness that covers most of each image represents the white supremacy that oppresses its nonwhite victims in order to maintain its power. The bar that bisects each image represents the segregation between white and nonwhite. The lines that intersect with the circle and broken cross create the infrastructure for the white way to hover over the other. The black barbs create a pattern of stitches used, in appearance only, to bring white and nonwhite together.
I wonder how much more colorful this world would be if we had less White Supremacy overpowering it.