André Leon Gray
United States, born 1969
Black Magic (It's Fantastic), 2005
Acrylic, rhinestones, basketball, braided synthetic hair, street sweeper brush, shoelaces, headband, miniature clay pots, wood, and cowrie shells on wood ironing board
67 x 31 x 9 ½ in.
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Purchased with funds from the Friends of African and African American Art, and with additional funds provided by North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
Using discarded objects, André Leon Gray crafts artworks that speak to spirituality, philosophy, and black culture. In this mask-like sculpture, he comments on the desires for power and achievement that are a part of competitive sports. The mask’s head is crowned with a basketball framed by a street sweeper’s brush.Beneath it, rhinestones form a stylized basketball, its grip lines tipped like compass arrows suggesting movement, perhaps the quest for success. That design is inspired by drawings used in Haitian Vodou ceremonies to invoke spirits. On the mask’s headband hovers one of basketball’s most celebrated “spirits,” Michael Jordan.
© André Leon Gray, photo courtesy of the artist and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh