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Tschabalala Self’s Paintings Celebrate the Beauty of Everyday Black Life

“There is so much hope and exceptionalism entwined in the American identity,” says Tschabalala Self, the day after Election Day. There’s a weariness in her voice that likely has as much to do with the protracted presidential race as it does with being in the final stretch of preparations for her solo exhibition at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Lower Manhattan. The 30-year-old artist is perched in the gallery’s back room, FaceTiming from the director’s desk where she sits surrounded by framed prints of fellow artists Lee Jaffe, Koo Jeong A and Wyatt Kahn, all of whom have had their work hung in the gallery’s Great Jones Street space. “American identity is a fantasy that our citizens treasure about themselves,” Self continues. “But our reality tells a different story.”

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