Killer of Sheep. 1977. USA. Directed by Charles Burnett. Courtesy of Milestone Films/Photofest. © Milestone Films

Black Intimacy explores the ways in which black familial, romantic, and platonic relationships have been portrayed onscreen, with a particular focus on black filmmakers' attempts at navigating between intimate, personal stories and more broadly political material. Given the legacy of American racial politics, can black love be portrayed onscreen without "making a statement" about race, or is it impossible for the personal to be separated from the political?

Comprising 16 films, two shorts, and a television episode, the series highlights the various ways in which love and relationships are colored by the political, across a wide spectrum of perspectives. Several of the films—Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep, for instance—deal with a particular kind of black male figure and pay close attention to black male identity and struggle; films like Claudine, A Warm December, and The Inkwell portray very different types of black romances and family structures to illustrate a broader scope of love and relationships; the notion of how black women are treated as love interests and how their needs are explored and honored is at the heart of Loosing Ground; and black queer identity, intimacy, and vulnerability are front and center in Looking for Langston and The Watermelon Woman.

Organized by Adeze Wilford, Joint Fellow, Department of Film, MoMA, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

The exhibition is supported by the Annual Film Fund.

Past events

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.