Black Visual Archive (BVA) was dedicated to the documentation and review of contemporary black and post-black visual culture. Founded by Meg Onli in 2010, BVA was a collection of critical writings that contextualized the work of African American artists and cultural workers through historical and visual history. Based in Chicago, BVA investigated the city as a unique site for black visual culture with articles, reviews, and interviews that surveyed the works of such Chicago-based artists as Kerry James Marshall and Theaster Gates, while also reflecting on the archives of Johnson Publishing Company and Numero Group. Finding common threads among art, sports, and music, BVA’s articles looked outside the white cube and linked works to their socio-cultural constructs, with a particular interest in how contemporary cultural makers mine the complex history of black representation in America.
Meg Onli is an artist and writer currently working in Chicago. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Onli moved to Chicago to complete a BFA with an emphasis in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown nationally and in 2009 she had her first solo exhibition, “The Underground Railroad Project,” at Twelve Galleries in Chicago. Onli’s writing, which investigates the intricacies of black visual representations and histories in America, is catalogued on the website Black Visual Archive, which she founded in 2010. From 2006 to 2010, she was the associate producer of the Chicago-based art and culture podcast and blog Bad at Sports. She has also written for the Art21 blog as well as Daily Serving. In 2012 she participated in the AICA Art Writing Workshop—a partnership between the Arts Writers Grant Program and the International Art Critics Association/USA Section.