Claudia Rankine's book-length poem 'Citizen' was nominated for National Book Critics Circle awards in the categories of poetry and criticism. It is one of the most devastating takes on American culture I have read in a long time, laying bare the stakes of being black in a country long ambivalent about our presence here.
There is an imagined thing called black culture. But culture is a construction. It is learned behavior, not innate. The black American experience is the American experience.
In writing, something is always left out: it can't be articulated in the space of an essay.
The Carrie Mae Weems photograph 'Blue Black Boy,' I thought, was fantastic.
'A Small Band' was commissioned for the facade of the Central Pavilion at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale in 2013.
In 2011, 'Yourself in the World,' a book of my writings and interviews, was published in conjunction with a retrospective of my work at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
There was a time when I was a huge TV addict. I used to race home from school to watch 'Dark Shadows.'
In '89, I got a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. That's when I started to get into group shows. Suddenly, I sort of 'came out' as an artist.
I'm not an Abstraction Expressionist, but I think dedication to paintings comes from an early interest in that work.
I love Monk's song, 'Just a Gigolo.' It's probably a minor song for him, but whenever I hear a recording of him playing it, I'm mesmerized because Monk clearly loved pop music. He took it very seriously and made an amazing thing out of it.
I don't cook, and I don't care to, but Gabrielle Hamilton made me realize that food is about love and connection. And she has had a hell of an interesting life.
I'm interested in when language fails, when it is opaque.
Throughout African-American literature, the writer has, in a sense, been burdened by the necessity of pleading the case for the whole race. For example, writers of slave narratives tend to lose their individual voices, as they were expected to stand in for all other voices, which were absent.
One of the interesting things about quoting in an artwork is that there is a repeated confusion about who is speaking - one essentially becomes the author of a quote one uses.
Artists such as Lorna Simpson, Zoe Leonard, Byron Kim and Stephen Andrews and I are around the same age, and I know them personally. The discussions I have had with them over the years have influenced the work that I have made throughout my career.
Literature has been a treacherous site for black Americans because literary production has been so tied with the project of proving our humanity through the act of writing.