The Artists

Beneath a Full Moon, a Healing Ritual

A recent textile work by Diedrick Brackens responds to a startling statistic about the ongoing AIDS epidemic.

Diedrick Brackens’s “Flying Geese” (2020).
Credit...Courtesy the artist; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles/Seoul; and Jack Shainman, New York © Diedrick Brackens

In each installment of The Artists, T highlights a recent or little-shown work by a Black artist, along with a few words from that artist putting the work into context. This week, we’re looking at a recent piece by Diedrick Brackens, who is known for his woven textiles, which are the subject of a solo exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, on view through May 16, 2021.

Name: Diedrick Brackens

Age: 31

Based in: Los Angeles

Originally from: Mexia, Texas

When and where did you make this work? This work was made in February, in my studio in L.A.

Can you describe what is going on in the work? The weaving is a scene of an imagined ritual between three people in a barren landscape, under a full moon.

What inspired you to make this work? It was inspired by the ongoing AIDS epidemic. There is a C.D.C. statistic from 2016 that reads, “If current H.I.V. diagnoses rates persist, about 1 in 2 Black men who have sex with men (M.S.M.) and 1 in 4 Latino M.S.M. in the United States will be diagnosed with H.I.V. during their lifetime.” It was startling. I made a series of pieces inspired by the statistic. The work is a meditation on healing, ritual and disease.

What’s the work of art in any medium that changed your life? A woodcut by Alison Saar titled “Cotton Eater II” (2014).