In the window of the Superchief Gallery at Culturefix on the Lower East Side of Manhattan hangs a Marcus Garvey Boulevard / Nostrand Avenue coat of arms welded and cut by Coby Kennedy, one of the three Pratt-educated artists in this week’s BLACK POWER art show. Kennedy’s art comments on cultural diffusion and power dynamics through the lens of a dystopian Brooklyn 400 years in the future with only passing stylistic similarities from post-apocalyptic films like Road Warrior. He found an outlet for fascination with the ways in which cultural expectations can be manipulated as a graffiti writer in Washington, DC with the Dot-Com crew where he would carry out his missions carrying his spray cans in a briefcase instead of a backpack and wearing collared shirts and blazers instead of the graffiti writer uniform of baggy pants and hoodie.
On the wall are 5-foot long, stylized versions of old-school zip guns that bear a slight resemblance to the artillery in the Japanese animated film Princess Mononoke. The centerpieces, though, are in the back of the gallery. Two vending machines from the fictional company “KROGER” that sell machine guns, cheap screw-top liquor and cigarettes. A scantily clad woman pitches the wares on a screen playing a loop of a terrestrial analog broadcast style infomercial exhorting the consumer to buy into the promise of empowerment through violence.