Artist Robert Colescott, who in 1997 became the first African-American to represent the U.S. in the Venice Biennale, died on June 4th at home in Tucson, Arizona. Colescott was a figure painter of vividly colored canvases drawing widely from racial and sexual stereotypes and steeped in historical references. In his satirical appropriation of hateful imagery, Colescott set the stage for contemporary artists such as Ellen Gallagher, Kara Walker, and Kalup Linzy. “Colescott embodied the old saw that you gotta laugh to keep from crying because it hurts too much inside,” writes Charlie Finch in his Artnet obit.
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