Wrong Is Not My Name: Notes On (Black) Art: A BUST Book Review

by Robyn Smith

Beautifully weaving together memoir, criticism, and theory, Wrong Is Not My Name: Notes On (Black) Art is a reflection on Black womanhood, queerness, and the importance of storytelling. Author Erica N. Cardwell is 21 when her mother suddenly dies. Her grief, intentionally expressed in nonlinear ways, guides readers through a series of moments and works, including Aristotle’s Poetics (“tragedy conveys narrative action”); her mother’s diary (a “foundational text” given to her after her mother passed); Brooklyn artist Chitra Ganesh’s political art; and a section showcasing artist Adebunmi Gbadebo, which highlights Cardwell’s unique blend of art writing and biography. “If you could reach back, arm angled far and deep into the history you’ve walked through,” she writes, “you may be able to pinpoint the exact moment where anxiety showed itself to you.” 

There is also a strong sense of place that grounds this book, and Cardwell acknowledges that she has an umbilical relationship with New York. Wrong Is Not My Name is an astounding work by a singular writer, critic, and artist, and it is a privilege to bear witness to Cardwell’s unconventional journey.

Image Via The Feminist Press at CUNY

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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