Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Culture Type: Black Art History, Here’s What Happened in February 2023


Highlights of February Black art news and announcements include next Venice Architecture Biennale emphasizing African diaspora, Huntington Library hires decorative arts curator, archives of Just Above Midtown gallery and Black Press newspapers being preserved & much more


REPRESENTATION | From left, Self portrait by artist Jimmy Robert: JIMMY ROBERT, “Frammenti I,” 2022 (archival inkjet print, oak frame, glass); Portrait of artist Brandon Ndife by Tim Schutsky for Interview Magazine, 2021, Courtesy Greene Naftali


REPRESENTATION | Feb. 1: Thomas Dane Gallery of London and Naples, Italy, announces representation of Jimmy Robert (above left) in collaboration with Tanya Leighton and Stigter Van Doesburg. Robert works across performance, photography, film and collage. His first exhibition with Thomas Dane was in Naples in 2022. Born in Guadeloupe, Robert lives and works in Berlin, Germany. | More

REPRESENTATION | Feb. 1: Greene Naftali gallery in New York now represents artist Brandon Ndife (above right). Indiana-born, New York-based artist “works to unsettle the life cycles of consumer objects, using found furniture culled from the urban landscape as the basis for his sculptures.” In March, Ndife’s work will be included in group show at Greene Naftali. His first solo exhibition with the gallery opens fall 2024. | More

NEWS | Feb. 1: Souls Grown Deep Foundation & Community Partnership (SGD) launches custom print program featuring nearly 200 fine art prints and archival reproductions by more than 30 Black artists from U.S. South, including Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Roe, Mose Tolliver, and 20-plus Gee’s Bend quilters. Artists are “equal revenue-sharing partners on sales of both paintings and frames,” according to SGD. | More

ACQUISITIONS | Feb. 3: David C. Driskell Center receives archives of artist, art historian, and curator Michael D. Harris (1948-2022). Harris joined AfriCOBRA in 1979 and taught at several universities, eventually retiring in 2020 from Emory University where he was a professor of art history. Gift from Harris estate, archives measure 24 linear feet (with 90 GB of digital files). | More

MUSEUMS | Feb. 4: New York State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) donates $1 million to Brooklyn Museum to support Art of Africa Gallery, museum’s first permanent space for African art. | More

NEWS | Feb. 4: Recent resignations of six board members from American chapter of International Association of Art Critics (half its leadership ranks) over organization’s failure to implement diversity plan, shine light on “widening rift” and entrenched issues in field. | New York Times

APPOINTMENTS > | Feb. 6: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announces Lauren Cross (right) is new Gail-Oxford Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts. Previously, she was assistant professor and program coordinator of interdisciplinary art and design studies at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Cross started at The Huntington in San Marino, Calif., near Los Angeles, in January. (Photo courtesy The Huntington) | More

BIENNIALS | Feb. 7-June 11: 15th Sharjah Biennial in United Arab Emirates opens with theme, Thinking Historically in the Present, conceived several years ago by late Nigerian-born curator Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019). | The National – UAE

APPOINTMENTS | Feb. 7: Heather Canlas Rigg appointed artistic director of Toronto’s CONTACT Photography Festival. She starts March. 1. | More

AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 7: Royal Academy of Arts in London elects new Royal Academicians, including Barbara Walker in category of Painting, Veronica Ryan for Sculpture, and U.S. painter Kerry James Marshall as Honorary Royal Academician. | More

AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 8: College Art Association announces 2023 Awards for Distinction, including Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey recognized with Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work over his four-decade career. | More

TELEVISION | Feb. 9: Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announces new reality show, “The Exhibit: Finding The Next Great Artist,” debuting March 3 on MTV and March 7 on Smithsonian Channel. Competing artists include Jamaal Barber and Jennifer Warren. Collector Keith Rivers and artist Adam Pendleton are among guest judges. | More

APPOINTMENTS | Feb. 9: California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco names Leah Van der Mei chief operating officer and head of government affairs. She joined Academy in 2008 and was promoted from most recent role of director of public operations and access. Based in Golden Gate Park, Academy houses world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum. | More

PUBLIC ART | Feb. 12: After debuting at Super Bowl Experience at Phoenix Convention Center, artist Hank Willis Thomas‘s “Opportunity (Reflection)” (2023) sculpture of disembodied arm with outstretched hand reaching up into air and palming football exhibited on Great Lawn outside State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., during Super Bowl LVII. Subsquently, 10-foot stainless steel work moved to Arizona State Art Museum for display through March 2024. | More

GRANTS | Feb. 13: Mellon, Ford, Getty, and Terra Foundations announce Advancing Latinx Art in Museums. New initiative prioritizing U.S. Latinx art provides $5 million (10 grants of $500,000) to museums and art institutions for “creation and formalization” of 10 permanent early and mid-career curatorial positions. | More

APPOINTMENTS | Feb. 14: Pharrell Williams tapped as next men’s wear creative director at Louis Vuitton. | New York Times

AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 15: Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens names Hilton Als inaugural Hannah and Russel Kully Distinguished Fellow in the History of American Art. Als is curator of “The Hilton Als Series: Njideka Akunyili Crosby,” currently on view through June 12 at The Huntington in San Marino, Calif., near Los Angeles. | More

APPOINTMENTS | Feb. 15: At Howard University, Phylicia Rashad, dean of Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts named inaugural Toni Morrison Chair in Arts and Humanities. | More

GRANTS | Feb. 15: Mellon Foundation commits $125 million to Imagining Freedom, multiyear grant initiative supporting arts and humanities organizations dedicated to re-envisioning criminal legal system and countering effects of mass incarceration. | More


Lot 8: ROBERT COLESCOTT (1925-2009), “Miss Liberty,” 1980 (acrylic on canvas, 84 x 72 inches / 213.4 x 182.9 cm). | Estimate $5 million-$7 millon. SOLD for $3.7 million hammer price, $4,500,375 fees included


AUCTIONS | Feb. 17: “Miss Liberty” (1980) painting by Robert Colescott (1925-2009) sells for $4.5 million at Bonhams in Los Angeles. Although below estimate, result was artist’s second-highest at auction. Art Bridges Foundation, nonprofit founded by Walmart heir Alice Walton is winning bidder. | ARTnews

AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 21-22: Texas Cultural Trust gives out annual Texas Medal of Arts Awards to 11 recipients, including Austin artist Deborah Roberts. | More

BIENNIALS | Feb. 22: Details of 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale announced. Curated by Lesley Lokko and titled The Laboratory of the Future, international architecture exhibition runs May 20 to Nov. 26, in Venice, Italy. 18th edition will feature 63 National Pavilions and 89 participants, with 50/50 gender balance, and more than half from Africa or the African Diaspora. Contributors include Adjaye Associates, atelier masōmī led by Mariam Kamara, Theaster Gates Studio, and Kéré Architecture led by 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize recipient Diébédo Francis Kéré, among many others. | ArchDaily

ARCHIVES | Feb. 22: Thanks to $2 million gift from Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and team of 14 students, Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is digitizes Black Press Archives, collection of Black newspapers donated by National Newspaper Publishers Association. | More

AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 22: Nigerian-born, Ghana-based sculptor El Anatsui is selected for Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern in London. New site-specific installation in vast space will debut Oct. 10. | Culture Type

AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 22: In Canada, artist Tim Whiten wins 2022 Gershon Iskowitz Prize. Established by Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in partnership with Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), annual honor includes $75,000 and solo exhibition at AGO. | More


TELEVISION | Coming Soon: New season of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” on PBS will feature artists Daniel Lind-Ramos, Amy Sherald, Rose B. Simpson, and Alex Da Corte on first episode. | Video by Art21


TELEVISION | Feb. 22: Art21 announces 11th season of “Art in the Twenty-First Century,” award-winning series exploring work of contemporary visual artists. Launching April 7 on PBS, new season includes 12 artists, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Amy Sherald, Linda Goode Bryant, Christine Sun Kim, Theaster Gates, and Hank Willis Thomas, and Anicka Yi, among them. | More

ARCHIVES | Feb. 22: Following presentation of historic “Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces” exhibition, Museum of Modern Art in New York establishes archive dedicated to pivotal gallery founded by Linda Goode Bryant with funding support from Mellon Foundation. |

SYMPOSIUMS | Feb. 23: Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts American Crossings: The Complex Legacy of Robert Colescott with Met veteran Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director and CEO of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles; Met veteran Lowery Stokes Sims, curator and art historian; Met curator Sylvia Yount; and artist Rashid Johnson; with Met associate curator Akili Tommasino serving as moderator. | View Video

EVENTS | Feb. 23: Brooklyn Museum announces plans to honor artist Carrie Mae Weems at Brooklyn Artists Ball, annual fundraiser benefitting museum programming on April 25. Artist Mickalene Thomas will “reimagine” event space, museum’s Beaux-Arts Court, in collaboration with sponsor Dior. | More

MUSEUMS | Feb. 23: Philadelphia Museum of Art is creating “new center dedicated to the study, acquisition and care of art from continental Africa and the African diaspora.” Center is supported by undisclosed amount of funding from financier and museum trustee Ira Brind. | New York Times

| Feb. 24: MacDowell in Peterborough, N.H., one of oldest and most prestigious artist residency programs in the United States, announces next executive director is Chiwoniso “Chi” Kaitano (left). Zimbabwe-born Kaitano previously served as executive director of two organizations based in Brooklyn, N.Y.—Girl Be Heard and prior to that Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy. She starts in MacDowell’s New York City office on March 13. Photo by Julie Bridgham | More

EVENTS | Feb. 25: Artist Julie Mehretu honored at annual Amref Health Africa ArtBall and art auction in Brooklyn, N.Y., benefitting the Africa-based healthcare nonprofit. | More

MUSEUMS | Feb. 28: Museum of the African Diaspora and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art share plans for new joint curatorial appointment. Assistant Curator of the Art of the African Diaspora will focus on co-created exhibitions, artist projects, and public programming. Job opportunity will be posted in March and inaugural curator expected to be announced late summer 2023. | More

MUSEUMS | Feb. 28: After facing many delays due to COVID and construction problems, forthcoming International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C., announces new opening date is June 27, 2023. | New York Times

ACQUISITIONS | Feb. 28: Mississippi Museum of Art acquires 131 quilts by African American artists. Collection assembled over time by photographer Roland L. Freeman comes to museum through Kohler Foundation. | More


PUBLIC ART | In celebration of Black History Month, ABC’s Good Morning America spotlights Charlotte, N.C., mural artist Georgie Nakima on Feb. 1. “My work is rooted in Afrofuturism. There is Black hope in the future. There is Black resilience in the future. It is how we imagine the future we want to live in,” she said. | Video by Good Morning America


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