Diedrick Brackens: darling divined
June 4 – September 15 2019
Diedrick Brackens constructs intricately woven textiles that speak to the complexities of black and queer identity in the United States. Interlacing diverse traditions—including West African weaving, European tapestries, and quilting from the American south—Brackens creates figurative narratives and cosmographic abstractions that lyrically merge commemoration, allegory, and lived experience. He uses both commercial dyes and unconventional colorants such as wine, tea, and bleach, and foregrounds the loaded symbolism of materials like cotton, with its links to the transatlantic slave trade. Through a meticulous and mindful process, Brackens inscribes his weavings with symbolic materials and figures that probe the tangled threads of American history.
In 2019, the New Museum presented “darling divined”, Diedrick Brackens’s first solo museum exhibition in New York. In the exhibition, Brackens presented a selection of new and recent weavings in the Museum’s Lobby Gallery. Their titles draw from poetry and literature by writers such as Essex Hemphill (1957–1995), a poet and activist known for openly addressing race, sexuality, the rise of HIV/AIDS, and other issues affecting the queer African-American community. This body of work was inspired by Hemphill’s poems, particularly “The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts” (1996), which speaks to the intricacies of familial relationships and the radical gesture of birthing one’s own identity. Brackens’s large-scale tapestries portray moments of intimacy, generosity, and affection between coupled beings, whether they be animals, lovers, relatives, or friends. “Diedrick Brackens: darling divined” was curated by Margot Norton, Curator, and Francesca Altamura, Curatorial Assistant.