But what if you can’t help but be black? Youngman has some advice for you too:
Youngman is pointing to the fact that, whereas white men can make unmarked art — art that is just art, not art of a particular kind — the art of people of color and women is always interpreted in light of their race or gender. Accordingly, if members of these groups want to be successful artists, they must make marked art, art that audiences recognize as the kind of art black people or women make. Further, they must perform “black artist” or “female artist” by adopting the identities that art critics expect and desire to see.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.