Noel W Anderson lives and works in New York City, US


Noel W Anderson, Downw0rd Dog, 2021-22, distressed, draped cotton tapestry, 366 x 274 cm, courtesy NWA Studios, New York © Noel W Anderson

Racial conflict in the United States has often been figured as a pugilistic confrontation between cisgender men on opposing sides of the color line. Just think back, for instance, to Andy Warhol’s early-1960s Race Riot prints, which model a white liberal approach to the painting of history. Noel W Anderson’s jacquard tapestries of the last five or so years aim to give the lie to such fantasies, instead offering weavings based on historical photographs—some iconic, others less so—that underline the mechanisms through which Black male bodies the world over are imagined less as adversaries to be engaged and more as specimens and objects to be disciplined, at times to death, by the police and other agencies of the state. Of course, the artist, an African American man himself, is well aware of how images of Black death are ceaselessly circulated, caricatured, and consumed; indeed, these facts have everywhere informed his material choices. Anderson introduces an optical warp into his selected images, producing a perceptual disorientation that slows the apprehension of the depicted mise-en-scènes and serves to emphasize the materiality of the tapestries—made from cotton using a technology invented near the close of the transatlantic slave trade that eventually became a model for early computing. What Anderson’s work makes palpable, then, is Black being’s constitutive entanglement in the making of the modern world, both despite and because of the travesties of life, history, and representation that continue to be visited upon Black bodies past and present.

Huey Copeland


Noel W Anderson, Hood Dreams I, 2019-21, distressed, stretched cotton tapestry, 610 x 610 cm, courtesy NWA Studios, New York © Noel W Anderson


Inauguration Group Show, 2022, Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai (AE)

Heavy is the Crown, 2021, Telfair Museums, Jepson Center, Savannah (US) (solo)

Reflec/x/tion of a Blak Cat Bone, 2021, JDJ, New York City (US) (solo)

Blak Origin Moment, 2019, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga (US) (solo)

Opacity and Radiance, 2019, Ben Hunter, London (UK)