In 1986 Gallery 1199 in New York and the Muse Community Museum in Brooklyn jointly organized a two-part exhibition for “Where We At” Black Women Artists, the collective of African American women artists. The exhibition was an initiative of “Where We At,” when its members decided to invite a number of African American male artists to create a collaborative installation exhibition. According to the exhibition organizers, African American artists Charles Abramson and Senga Nengudi, “1 + 1 = 3” is an erotic equation. Male and female work together to create a third thing that has qualities of both yet also has a life of its own. The most interesting aspect of this project was the photographs of couples by the well-known African American photographer and artist Coreen Simpson. Simpson was invited to photograph the couples and the final products of their collaboration. The process of photographing the project becomes a new artistic performance on its own right, a process in which the artists and the photographer entered into a separate dialogue and negotiation of their own. This article reproduces many of Simpson’s photographs, along with her accompanying text, “Spirits.”

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