Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

Aperture Launches The New Black Vanguard with Antwaun Sargent at NeueHouse

Inside The New Black Vanguard book launch, cocktail, and conversation with Antwaun Sargent, Tyler Mitchell, and Jamal Nxedlana.

 - October 31, 2019

Last week, in partnership with Airbnb Magazine, Aperture celebrated the launch of The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion by Antwaun Sargent.

Books with Friends: The New Black Vanguard with Antwaun Sargent at NeueHouse

On Monday, October 21, guests gathered at NeueHouse in New York City for a book launch, cocktail, and conversation featuring New Black Vanguard author Antwaun Sargent and artist contributors Tyler Mitchell and Jamal Nxedlana. Sargent, Mitchell, and Nxedlana spoke about their work and the international scope of Black artists working today, and signed copies of the newly released book. Guests enjoyed whiskey and specialty cocktails by Glenfiddich.

Curator and critic Antwaun Sargent kicked off the discussion. “As someone who has been devoted to Black artistic production, particularly emerging voices, the only choice was to look at the ways in which young Black photographers were redefining space in photography,” he remarked. “I wanted to create a book that held that space. That not only looked at the moment, but also looked at the past, and possibly a future.”

In The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion, Sargent addresses a radical transformation taking place in fashion and art today. The publication opens up conversations around the role of the Black body and Black lives as subject matter. Collectively, the fifteen artists featured celebrate Black creativity and the cross-pollination between art, fashion, and culture in constructing an image.

“You have to be so radically committed to highlighting people who look like you. Highlighting friends, people who are unknown, who are not models, who aren’t traditional models, who live in the middle of nowhere, who you found on Instagram,” said Tyler Mitchell of his approach to casting in his work.

Johannesburg-based Nxedlana is similarly unorthodox in sourcing his material: “Joburg is a subject for me, not just a backdrop,” he remarked. “I try to showcase its subcultures in the work that I create.” Nxedlana, a cultural entrepreneur and visual artist, is cofounder of Bubblegum Club, a platform for alternative narratives on South African art and society. “We’re living in a place with a colonial history, and a history of oppression. So, my work tries to contest that,” he shared. “It’s about creating your own spaces,” added Mitchell. “To take control of the image, which is to say, to take control of Blackness.”

The evening was photographed by BFA.


The New Black Vanguard is presented in partnership with Airbnb Magazine.


Aperture also thanks NeueHouse and Glenfiddich for their support.


Click here for a look inside the opening of The New Black Vanguard, Curated by Antwaun Sargent on October 24, 2019.