"STOP IT WHITEMAN! YOU'RE WRECKING THE WORLD!"
KUMASI J BARNETT
AT THE SPRING BREAK ART FAIR
“STOP IT WHITEMAN! YOU’RE WRECKING THE WORLD” presents the work of Kumasi J Barnett a Brooklyn based artist who is re-envisioning American pop culture through his overtly political yet ominously personal paintings.
In his new series Kumasi J. Barnett satirizes “The American Way” by appropriating and transforming familiar comic book imagery. Beloved heroes like Superman and Spider-Man are transformed into meta-cultural icons like The Amazing Black-Man or The Thug. These champions form a brutal hyper-realistic version of America today. Barnett is constructing a new subculture of heroes who take on a terrifying host of novel super villains. Stereotypes, prejudices, southern-pride, and killer police are all parts of Barnett’s new evil alliance, all attacking “The True American Heroes”.
Acquired from years of gathering, the comic books Barnett uses in this series are personal mementos sourced from his private collection. The collection includes recent purchases that revisit and re-engage the artist’s youth spent among the dusty shelves of comic book stores. By defacing these familiar comic books Kumasi puts his finger on the pulse of America today. We see here a schizophrenic America, one that celebrates and hates both our differences and our sameness.
In Barnett’s series, each comic is repainted to obscure and obliterate the original American icon. This allows a new and often terrible story to be built around a fragile and familiar American experience. The result is small nostalgic paintings that walk a fragile tightrope over pain, mockery, humor, and truth. Barnett’s work shakes the1 tightrope of culture that unites us all as Americans, both in its heroic iconography and stereotyped racism.