It’s easy to categorize Black’s assemblages alongside ’s
monumental pixelated portraits or ’s
large-scale recreations of famous artworks, which are made of hundreds of spools of thread. But Black’s work departs from these examples in that his are metonymic portraits, meaning that each component—the 7,600 spray-painted chess pieces in Deep Blue
(2014), for example—can stand in to represent the whole. The whole, in this case, is the iconic artist Marcel Duchamp’s historical legacy. Duchamp as a strategic player of the art world; his abandonment of art to pursue chess full time; his groundbreaking contribution to 20th-century Modernism with the
; and the victory of artificial intelligence over humanity (the IBM computer known as Deep Blue defeated the reigning chess world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997).