Updated: Feb 26, 2021
The Los Angeles art scene is exclusive enough, but to successfully and authentically take on the space as a Black man is not to go unnoticed. Howard University graduate Antoine 'AJ' Girard, art professional and cultural strategist, has made his mark by joining artists such as Lauren Halsey in connecting the Black community to gallery and institutional art spaces. Girard has an ease about him that allows him to not only be welcomed into these gate-kept zones, but to take the liberty of bringing folks in with him. That isn't to say it doesn't come at a price, or without sacrifice.
After lending his talents to The Broad and CAAM, and most recently and notably, the Underground Museum, AJ became a fixture in the Black art scene in LA and was quickly labeled for his ability to build bridges between spaces and communities. From streetwear and sneakers to students in underfunded school districts, Girard is part of a larger effort to impact museum culture and the way Black people experience and interact with it.
His next adventure is his curatorial debut; A show titled Shattered Glass, that will be on view next month at Jeffrey Deitch Projects. This exhibition, in collaboration with Melahn Frierson, features forty artists of color whose subjects demand the very white space in which they are being presented. The works gathered for this exhibit shift the narrative that we're used to, entirely. Being accustomed to the erasure or placement of Black and Brown bodies low on the hierarchical rung of the art ladder is exactly what this show opposes. The curators intended to bring together a collection of works that shatter the glass of the long existing power structures in the art world.
We were lucky enough to snag a bit of time with AJ to discuss the upcoming show and the responsibilities he feels when bringing Black bodies into white spaces.
See the show:
March 20–May 22, 2021
925 N. Orange Drive, Los Angeles