by Tameka Ellington
Textures synthesizes research in history, fashion, art, and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of peoples of African descent. Long a fraught topic for African Americans and others in the diaspora, Black hair is here addressed by artists, barbers, and activists in both its historical perceptions and its ramifications for self and society today. Combs, products, and implements from the collection of hair pioneer Willie Morrow are paired here with masterworks from artists like Sonya Clark, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, and Alison Saar. Exploring topics such as the preferential treatment of straight hair, the social hierarchies of skin, and the power and politics of display, Textures is a landmark exploration of Black hair and its important, complicated place in history.