CentralTrak Exhibit Ponders Race and Culture
What does black culture have to do with architecture? In “The Black Architecture Project,” a new exhibition at CentralTrak, architectural theorist and designer Darell W. Fields has set out to find some answers.
“Architecture is inherently social,” says Fields, a lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas and an artist in residence at the University’s CentralTrak artist residency. “It is the most compelling demonstration of material culture.”
“But ‘real’ architecture is only a mask. … The mask, always in a state of denial, must deny any black associations,” Fields says.
Fields’ exhibit explores his subject with architectural models, photographs, prints and sketches.
“Blackness itself is almost always misunderstood as being strictly racial and social,” Fields says. “In aesthetics, however, blackness can be found to be a source of creativity and invention for any number of disciplines – including architecture.”
As the son of one of Dallas’ first black police officers, William Maxine Starks, Fields has a personal interest in the city. A graduate of Skyline High School, Fields earned his bachelor’s degree at UT Arlington and continued his studies in architecture at Harvard University, earning both a master’s degree and a PhD.
Fields began the project two decades ago and stresses that it is not finished – it’s merely a trajectory in time. He described “The Black Architecture Project” as a study of identity – his own very complex autobiography.