I can't believe we are already at Artletter number six. In June I had no idea what this would be and I doubted my ability to produce meaningful, educational work that is culturally impactful and would hopefully be fulfilling. I just knew I had to do something and what I was craving no one else was doing. In the last eight months I have learned a great deal about myself, art, and the world around me. This Artletter has pushed me to not only teach myself about these artists, but to share the knowledge I've acquired. I just love doing it and after years of searching for my purpose and my life's meaning, I feel like I finally found it. I love this shit. I literally can't get enough of it and I see myself doing this (art) for the rest of my life. It makes me happy. It fills me up with love and makes it feel like this life is worth it because we all know this last year has been hard to swallow and even harder to process. There have been several dark days, but I realized it's those dark days that make the sunny days a little more brighter. You appreciate it more.

When I look back at artworks and exhibitions from 2020, I appreciate them more. I don't know how I would have gotten through that year without art. In times like this you really need something to believe in....and as I started to believe in myself it lead to a greater type of freedom. 

In 2020, art believed in me, I believed in it, and ended up taking a chance on myself. Eight months later, I'm on artletter #6, finally in a flow with it. As the five artletters before, I hope this one inspires you and feeds you what you need. 

I appreciate you for believing in me and I can only show my gratitude by continuing to share what I love with you. Maybe you'll find something about art to love too.

As the singer Dinah Washington once said, 

"What good is love that no one shares?

With Love, 

Ciarra K. Walters 

P.s. If you love me, at all, pleaseee look at my Artletters + website on a computer! 

P.s.s. I want to wish a Happy 21st Birthday to the most revolutionary spirit I've ever met, my baby sister, Hallie. Love you girl, you inspire me. Happy Birthday. 

P.s.s.s. Happy Black Herstory/History Month, although we celebrate Black life everyday of the year over here.
Months ago, I watched the documentary, Levitated Mass, The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture and fell in love with this 340-ton boulder. A few weeks ago I was driving past LACMA's courtyard and saw Levitated Mass. Instantly. I had this vision of me performing and shooting self portraits underneath it. 

My vision would finally come to life a few weeks later on a cloudy Sunday with my friend Jacquen, who took the videos of me with Levitated Mass and offered me words of encouragement to actually perform and shoot because I was nervous! This was a popular sight. Luckily, I had a five minute window to photograph and perform. 

I will be releasing the photos and a write up about the work soon. Until then, learn more about Michael Heizer and his earth sculpture, Levitated Mass, in this documentary available on Amazon and Kanopy.

Watch my new performance and BTS of Under Mass below.
I posted a sneak peak of Under Mass on my Instagram a few weeks ago when a guy named Kyle reached out and asked if he could score this bts footage. He scored and posted it the following day and I was blown away! Big shout out to Kyle Alex Brett, who I hope to work with again in the future. I appreciate you Kyle for giving this video a life of its own!

Watch the video here + check out more of Kyle's work here

I didn't have much time to perform and can safely say, I was panicking. I had under 2 minutes to think and act quickly before a family with multiple children came running down. It's not my favorite performance. I can see where I lose flow, but I recognize that I am still flowing! Inspired by Kyle's work with the bts video I decided to throw some jazz over it.

Many more experimental performances to come. Tap into my performance here.

After weeks of sorting, organizing, and writing, my list of top exhibitions of 2020 in both museums and galleries has finally made its way to my website. I was fortunate enough to spend most of 2020 on the east coast, where museums remained opened most of the year, unlike L.A. (Does anyone else think its shady and weird that everything else is open in L.A. EXCEPT museums?)

Seven gallery exhibitions in both New York and L.A. ended up on my list including, Noah Davis' at David Zwirner, Lauren Halsey's at David Kordinsky, Luchita Hurtado's at Hauser & Wirth, and Glen Wilson's at Various Small Fires.

Four museum exhibitions made the list: Dia: Beacon, MoMA, The Guggenheim, and The Baltimore Museum of Art

Each exhibition features photos I took, along with short write ups about the work and how it made me feel. Some even include a performance and others, detailed videos of the work.

I am really missing museums and reviewing all this art from 2020 was much needed.  

Get lost in some art here

Top Photo: Noah Davis, 1975 (8), 2013
Left: Barry Le Va, 4 Layers, Placed, Dropped, Thrown, 1968-1971/2019
Right: Robert Smithson, Closed Mirror Square (Cayuga Salt Mine Project), 1969

I take photographs almost every day and where do these photos go? They hide away on my hard drive until I find a purpose for them in the world. I have finally found a purpose for these hideaway photos with Photos of the Month. Every month I will feature either recent or older photographs on my website and Artletter, including the story behind them and how they make me feel. Stay on the look out for that.  

This month in honor of Black Herstory Month and the month of Love, I am spotlighting my favorite couple, Bethel and Brandon, who happen to be two dear friends of mine. I took these photos in December, on film, and loved them! Almost as much as I love these two. 

Read more about this moment and see all four photos on my home page (scroll down a little) here

Fun Fact: Bethel is one of my roommates and Brandon is the friend who introduced me to our other two roommates in 2018, which is how I moved into this wonderful, loving home in L.A.
HBO recently released, Black Art in the Absence of Light, a  documentary highlighting Black artists, curators, and art historians along with the 1972 exhibition, Two Centuries of Black Art, by the late David Driskell. It taught me a lot. I would love to see more artists who are women highlighted and discussed and hope they turn this into a docu-series. There is enough content to do that and Black art deserves that documentation!

Watch Black Art, in the Absence of Light on HBO

I finally had the chance to watch Through A Lens Darkly, a documentary about Black photographers and photographs. I absolutely loved this documentary. It reminded me the importance of preserving our history through the camera. I learned more about photographers' work I was familiar with and discovered new photographers that I wished I'd known sooner! 

Watch Through A Lens Darkly on Youtube for free. 

In the spirit of love, I've included one of my favorite The Art Assignment videos spotlighting six artists couples. In the 10 minute video, The Art Assignment gives us some background info about the artists, their careers, and their relationships together. I appreciated that they chose art couples that sometimes get overshadowed by others like Frida and Diego, Jean Claude and Christo, Marina and Ulay, or Lee and Jackson. These are all great and interesting art couples that you should also look up if you're unfamiliar. I will say, it's nice to switch it up and talk about the couples we sometimes forget, like the iconic couple, Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight from the photo above.

Watch the video here. 

"The Art Assignment is a weekly PBS Digital Studios production hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green. We explore art and art history through the lens of things happening today."

Check out my curated playlist of my favorite The Art Assignment videos here.
This was a book that had been on my list for over a year. On my birthday, along with several others, I would finally add this art book to my collection. I have been slowly, but surely, making a dent in it.

What I Love:
I love how this book confronts the racist and complicated history of MoMA and their collection regarding Black art. I love that this book holds every art work made by a Black artist or artworks about Black people in MoMA's collection. Each work includes a written piece about it, offering context and a background story, which I find to be important to better understand the work itself. I am learning about artists I have never heard of and relearning about artists I love. The work I have been making has been inspired by this book or has helped me to understand the work I am making. There are so many Black artists to learn about!

This is a great book to have. If you are new to the art book game, I recommend purchasing books like this one, pay one price and learn about a variety of artists in one book. You can then decide what artists you like or want to know more about and buy their books! 

P.S. I have a list of art books to buy, with photos and links on my website. Click here to view

In December I released my first online exhibition, Anxiety, featuring 32 works from over 20 artists, including myself. Anxiety begins my newest series, Curated by Ciarra, a series of online exhibitions curated from my virtual collection, focusing on feelings, colors, and political topics. 

Read more and see more of Anxiety here. 

Right: Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I, 1969
Left: Pope.L., Foraging (The Air Itself/Dark Version), 1995

On Valentine's Day, Tahirah Hairston joined me in conversation about my exhibition, Anxiety. We discuss all 32 works, my virtual collection, and how Anxiety was brought to life. Instead of talking about boys and broken hearts, we talked about what we loved most: art.

Watch our conversation here
A dear friend of mine recently opened a fine art and canvas print shop, Hyena, in Leimert Park. I've been there every week purchasing prints + learning how to print. If you are looking for a printer in LA, hit up Hyena! Support Black businesses! Check out their website and pricing here.

View past ARTLETTERS here.
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This ARTLETTER is intended to educate and promote the arts to everyone.

Always free, always for the art.
Copyright © 2021 Ciarra K. Walters, All rights reserved.

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