How Do You Spell America? #7
American, born 1955
Although his subject matter and themes have evolved, Willie Cole has consistently used allusion and metaphor in his work to manipulate household items into a combination of his personal history and collective African American history. How Do You Spell America? #7 is one of eight “blackboard” works Cole created in which he used the word “America” as an acronym for seemingly random sentences that have potent messages. Akin to the work of Glenn Ligon and Jean Michel Basquiat, Cole deploys text as art and message; like Cy Twombly and Joseph Beuys, he incorporates the blackboard as a didactic trope to underscore the elemental nature of these words.