’63 Foot Soldiers

Artist: Joe Minter
installation | License plates, shoes, found toys, chains, metal grate, paint, plastic, and clothes | 1499x2057x787mm | 1999

Joe Minter uses found materials to create allegorical mixed-media critiques of the history of race and class inequities in the United States. Drawing on his training in construction and welding, Minter repurposes the detritus of rural life to make dense, geometrically complex, often anthropomorphic totems that mine the rich tradition of Southern yard art. Abstract assemblages of rusted chains, agricultural tools, household furniture, garments, license plates, and wood fragments on which he occasionally paints texts, Minter’s discrete sculptures share a visual vocabulary and approach with the work for which he is best known—an immersive sculptural environment in Birmingham, Alabama, begun in 1989 that he calls the African Village in America. Working in his backyard, which abuts a historically Black cemetery, Minter has set out to revise and reframe art history to account for four hundred years of excluded, discounted African American history. (Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art; Museum purchase with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. James Outland. © 2019 Joe Minter / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)