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Robert Glasper Experiment

The Robert Glasper Experiment's combined renditions of two of my favorite songs; Little Dragon's "Twice" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Am hopeful that multiple viewings of this artistry might tide you over until the new Style Noir is unleashed on October 10. Enjoy-- and disseminate.

Last Minute Gifts for Kids

Style Noir Gifts for Kids

A selection of gifts for your favorite little ones that are sure to stimulate their natural appetites for creativity and play. Plus a dash of tongue-in-cheek swagger for good measure. Gift guides For Her and For Home are on the way!

The items are (clockwise, from top left): Blume Forever striped tie tee, EyeClops mini projector, retro scooter, Flip Mino HD, Junk Prints Visionary necklace, fabric markers with which your little one can put his or her artistic signature on a pair of crisp white TOMS shoes, Junk Prints rainbow pattern duffle, and a scaled down djembe.

Last Minute Gifts for Him

Still at a loss for what to buy him? Perhaps this gift guide will spark some ideas. Click on the image to be whisked away to product and pricing information. Guides for Her, Baby and Home are forthcoming!

The items are (clockwise, from top left) Kehinde Wiley's latest book, Black Light, a Still Life NYC hat, William Ismael plates, WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie Kansai laptop case, Earnest Sewn x Victor Glemaud Collection sweaters, an Overachievers t-shirt, and a Canon g11.

On Ruud van Empel

Ruud van Empel is a Dutch photographer with a penchant for shooting gorgeous Black children in slightly fantastical, tropical environments. I was first exposed to his work via gallerist James Danzinger's blog, The Year in Pictures:
Van Empel’s trademark pieces are Rousseau-like creations picturing (mostly) black children in the middle of vibrant jungle or verdant landscapes. Created and collaged and using photoshop, they are made up of hundreds of individual photographs so that every detail shimmers with life. The photographs of the children are slightly manipulated in a way that makes them appear fictional. Van Empel’s work imagines a world somewhere between children’s books, paintings, and science fiction.

I understand that many people may feel a little queasy about the political correctness of such imagery, but looking at Van Empel’s pictures of both black and white children, there’s so much more visual oomph to the black subjects it’s easy to understand that the explanation is simply pictorial. Also the children are not so much pictured as unschooled natives but as sophisticated and elegant visitors to their edenic but strange environments.
In this post I've juxtaposed van Empel's work with old family photos shot in Liberia, West Africa circa 1955-1960. Though both images were shot indoors, you can be sure that the landscape just outside was not at all unlike the lush wonderlands depicted in van Empel's photographs. The two little boys are my father and uncle-- sophisticated and elegant yes, but hardly visitors.

Posing Beauty Giveaway Winner

The first ever Style Noir giveaway has arrived just in time for the holidays! Deborah Willis' recently released Posing Beauty: African-American Images from the 1890s to the Present features hundreds of inspired-- and inspiring-- depictions of Black Americans, beginning with the turn of the century and continuing to the present day, and I've got a copy to give away to one lucky Style Noir reader. Keep it for yourself or gift it-- although this will be difficult after you thumb through it, I promise-- to your favorite budding shutterbug.

Entry is simple: leave a comment about the best holiday gift you've ever received by midnight on Friday, December 11th. On Saturday, I'll toss all the gracious participants' names into a virtual hat and randomly select a winner. For two entries and two chances to win, fan Style Noir on Facebook, where I'm prone to posting lil' tidbits that don't appear here.

Bonne chance!

WINNER: Congratulations to AMINA, who doubled her odds by becoming a fan of Style Noir on Facebook. Thank you all for your participation-- some of the answers were truly lovely! Bryant, have fun in China! Amina, email your mailing address to stylenoir at gmail dot com and we'll ship your treasure out to you ASAP. Enjoy!

Esperanza Interprets Lauren

Mark Bradford

2009 MacArthur Fellow Mark Bradford creates massive collages out of found materials he gathers in his neighborhood in South Central LA. End papers, remnants of signage, string and other interesting bits are assembled into modernist master works that suggest not only literal cartography, but also figurative map making of the cultural and psychological varieties.

Bradford's first sale was his painting, "Dreadlocks caint tell me nothing," which was purchased by collector and philanthropist Eileen Harris Norton in 2001.

The artist is represented by Sikkema Jenkins.