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Culture Type: The Month in Black Art, Here’s What Happened in March 2023

 

Highlights of March news and announcements include Brooke A. Minto’s appointment to lead Columbus Museum of Art, passing of artist and master printer Lou Stovall, Derrick Adams joining Gagosian gallery, Colette Veasey-Cullors named dean of International Center of Photography School, plus awards for Carrie Mae Weems, Adrian Piper, Faith Ringgold, and Sharon Farmer

 


LIBRARIES | March 31: Led by Joy Bivins, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture in Harlem is run by 13 directors, curators, and archivists — all of them women. | Video by CBS New York

 

REPRESENTATION > | March 2: Gasogian announces global representation of Derrick Adams (right). New York-based artist expresses himself in variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, collage, performance, video, and growing series of public projects. In September, mega gallery will present solo exhibition of paintings by Adams at Beverly Hills location. | More

AWARDS & HONORS > | March 2: New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts announces 2023 gala honorees are Deborah Willis, chair of Department of Photography & Imaging, and Hank Willis Thomas. Artists will be first mother and son honored. Celebration is April 3. | More

AWARDS & HONORS | March 2: Joan Mitchell Foundation announces 16 artists participating in foundation’s 2023 artist-in-residence program at Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, including Pamela Council, M. Florine Démosthène, L. Kasimu Harris, LaToya M. Hobbs, Ariston Jacks, Soraya Jean-Louis, Nyeema Morgan, Ebony G. Patterson, and Pat Phillips. Artists were previously selected for residencies delayed due to COVID-19 or other scheduling conflicts. | More

TELEVISION | March 3: The Exhibit, reality competition show featuring seven visual artists vying for $100,000 and solo exhibition at Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, debuts on MTV and Smithsonian Channel (March 7). Competitors include Chicago-based figurative painter Jennifer Warren (winner episode 1), multidisciplinary artist Baseera Khan of New York (winner episode 2), and Atlanta printmaker Jamaal Barber (winner episode 3). Dometi Pongo serves as host and artist Adam Pendleton is among judges. (See trailer below) | More

LIVES | March 3: Beloved artist and master printer Lou Stovall (below) dies at Washington, D.C., home at age 86. Stovall “…created intricate, vividly colored screen prints—often in collaboration with nationally recognized artists including Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence and Sam Gilliam—while turning his backyard studio into one of Washington’s most vibrant artistic hubs…” His recent exhibitions include “Lou Stovall: The Museum Workship” at Phillips Collection and “Lou Stovall: On Inventions and Color” at Kreeger Museum. | Washington Post

APPOINTMENTS > | March 6: Genia Reaves (right) promoted to chief of protection services at National Gallery of Art. She joined Washington, D.C., museum in 2016 as assistant chief and served as acting chief for 18 months before landing new appointment. Reaves retired from Prince Georges County Police Department in Maryland after 22 years, starting as patrol officer and working in community policing and recruitment before moving to Criminal Investigation Division, where she rose from sergeant to lieutenant, and eventually captain. More

REPRESENTATION | March 7: Otobong Nkanga now represented by Lisson Gallery. Expressing herself through drawing, installation, performance, photography, textiles and sculpture, Nkanga focuses on ecological themes, translating natural world “into networked, aggregated situations evoking memory, labour, home, care, ownership, emotion, touch and smell.” Her work will be featured in “Matter as Actor,” group exhibition that opens May 3 at Lisson’s London space. Nigerian-born artist lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. | More

AWARDS & HONORS | March 8: Harvard University announces Berlin-based, American artist Adrian Piper is recipient of 2023 Harvard Arts Medal. Conceptual artist, analytical philosopher, and Harvard alum, Piper will be honored April 26 in pre-recorded ceremony. | More

AWARDS & HONORS > | March 8: Carrie Mae Weems (right) named 2023 Hasselblad Award Laureate, in recognition of “her decades of work capturing the struggle for equality and painful history that African Americans have experienced, all under the undeniably captivating power of her photography.” Weems will be honored Oct. 13 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Prestigious prize includes gold medal, about $187,000, medium format Hasselblad camera, solo exhibition at Hasselblad Center, and publication. Weems is first Black woman to receive prestigious annual award given since 1980. Photo © Rolex/Audoin Desforges | More

ACQUISITIONS | March 8: Archive of Roland L. Freeman, “one of the country’s most important and prolific photographers of Black life in the 20th century” now housed in Southern Folklife Collection at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Wilson Special Collections Library. For more than 50 years, Freeman has documented Black communities, particularly in U.S. South, public figures, folk art and artists, including quilters. Acquisition of his papers, 10,000 photographic prints, 400,000 negatives, 24,000 slides, and 9,000 contact sheets, made possible by Kohler Foundation. | More

 


PUBLIC ART | Titled, “Shadow of a Face,” a new Harriet Tubman monument by Nina Cooke John includes an audio narrative about Tubman, spoken by Queen Latifah, and additional stories about the Underground Railroad and free Black communities in New Jersey. | Courtesy DreamPlay/Cesar Melgar

 

PUBLIC ART | March 9: Harriet Tubman monument (above) designed by Jamaican-born architect and designer Nina Cooke John unveiled in Newark, N.J. Installation graces newly named Harriet Tubman Square, where statue of Christopher Columbus stood until 2020, when space was called Washington Park. | NBC News

AWARDS & HONORS | March 10: American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York announces 2023 Art Award winners, each receiving $10,000, including Lorraine O’Grady, Cameron Rowland, Cauleen Smith, and Ouattara Watts. | More

REPRESENTATION | March 11: Kate MacGarry gallery in London announces representation of British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu, whose work spans film, painting, textiles, performance and social practice. Ndiritu’s mid-career survey, “Healing The Museum,” opens in April at S.M.A.K., the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, Belgium. | More

APPOINTMENTS | March 13: Brooklyn Arts Council announces Rasu Jilani is organization’s new executive director. Independent curator, cultural producer and social sculptor previously worked at Lambent Foundation and NEW INC, New Museum’s art and tech incubator. | More

 


APPOINTMENTS | Brooke A. Minto is the new executive director of Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, effective May 15. | Photo courtesy Brooke A. Minto

 

APPOINTMENTS | March 13: Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, taps Brooke A. Minto (top of page) as executive director and CEO. She starts on May 15. Arts administrator, art historian and educator, Minto brings two decades of experience across museums and arts organizations, most recently serving as inaugural executive director of Black Trustees Alliance for Art Museums. | More

BIENNIALS > | March 13: Republic of Benin announces first-ever national pavilion will debut at 2024 Venice Biennale, curated by Azu Nwagbogu (right). Nigerian-born Nwagbogu, founded Lagos nonprofit African Artists’ Foundation in 2007; helped establish LagosPhoto photography festival in 2010; and served as director of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, from 2018-19. Photo Courtesy Azu Nwagbogu | Art Newspaper

AWARDS & HONORS | March 13: Corning Museum of Glass awards 2022 Rakow Commission to conceptual artist and writer Charisse Pearlina Weston. She gives lecture and unveils new mixed-media work at Corning, N.Y., museum on March 16. Houston, Texas-born, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Watson is 2022-23 Artist in Residence at Studio Museum in Harlem. | More

EVENTS | March 13: Pace Gallery in New York announces gala (May 20) and auction co-hosted by gallery artist Adam Pendleton and tennis champion Venus Williams benefitting Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project. Pendleton and artists Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Julie Mehretu jointly purchased dilapidated Tryon, N.C., property in 2017, saving it from destruction. Project is part of African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. | More

LIVES | March 14: Dorothy Fisher, widow of artist Felrath Hines (1913-1993), dies in Boston. She was 101. Fisher was special events organizer for Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art (now American Art Museum) when she met and married Hines, abstract painter and then-chief conservator at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. | Legacy.com

| March 15: Devan Shimoyama covers spring issue of Bomb magazine. Inside features interview with Shimoyama conducted by artist Jeffrey Gibson. Working in painting, sculpture, installations, and photography, Shimoyama focuses on self portraiture and “applies tarot, Black diasporic religions, drag, epic fantasy world-building, and magical girl transformations to his practice.” Born in Philadelphia, he is also professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. | Bomb Magazine

NEWS | March 16: Under leadership of new director Gilane Tawadros, Whitechapel Gallery in London eliminates six jobs, including three curatorial positions. | Art Newspaper

AWARDS & HONORS | March 16: American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York announces annual awards, “highest honors for excellence in the arts.” Three honorees include Faith Ringgold, who is receiving Gold Medal for Painting at May 24 ceremony. | Associated Press

NEWS | March 16: Black Wall Street Gallery in Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, Black-owned gallery that promotes building relationships and community, facing myriad allegations including failing to pay artist commissions and staff salaries. | Artnet News

 


AUCTIONS | BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS, “Stanley,” 1971 (oil on canvas. 72 x 49 5/8 inches / 82.8 x 127 cm). | © Copyright Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks

 

AUCTIONS | March 16: Barkley L. Hendricks painted a portrait of his friend Stanley Whitney when both artists were Yale MFA students. Half a century later, “Stanley” (1971) is headed to auction in May at Christie’s New York from the collection of Boston real estate investor Gerald Fineberg, with an estimate of $5 million-7 million. If reached, result would establish new record at auction for artist, whose current high mark is $4 million. | Wall Street Journal

APPOINTMENTS | March 17: Museums Association of the Caribbean announces Ariana Curtis has joined board of directors. Curtis is first curator of Latinx Studies at Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. | More

AWARDS & HONORS | March 18: National Press Photographers Association bestows Founder’s Award, organization’s highest honor, on Sharon Farmer. First African American woman hired as official White House photographer in 1993, Farmer later became first woman and first African American to direct White House Photography Office (1999-2001). | More

AWARDS & HONORS | March 21: President Biden recognizes excellence in American culture at White House, bestowing federal government’s highest arts and humanities honors on 23 individuals and organizations. National Medal of Arts recipients include Gladys Knight, Billie Holiday Theater, and International Association of Blacks in Dance. National Humanities Medals go to Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Earl Lewis, Bryan Stevenson, and Colson Whitehead, among others. | More

APPOINTMENTS > | March 21: Vivian Crockett (right) and Isabella Rjeille named co-curators of 2026 New Museum Triennial. Crockett is co-curator of “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined,” currently on view at New Museum through June 4. In 2022, she joined New Museum as curator from Dallas Museum of Art, where she was assistant curator of contemporary art. Rjeille is curator at Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Ciara Elle Bryan | More

ACQUISITIONS | March 22: Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College acquires more than 1,600 press photographs documenting Civil Rights Movement. Transformative gift from donors Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg made in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams. After her husband, NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated in Mississippi in 1963, Evers-Williams moved to Claremont, Calif., and enrolled at Pomona, earning B.A. degree in sociology in 1968. Acquisition coincides with Evers-Williams’s recent donation of her archives to Pomona. Gifts mark her 90th birthday. | More

REPRESENTATION | March 22: Adrienne Elise Tarver is now represented by OCHI Gallery in Los Angeles. Working across painting, sculpture, installation, textiles, photography, and video, her work explores “complexity and invisibility of Black female identity.” Tarver’s second solo exhibition with gallery (“To Learn the Dark”) is currently on view through April 15. | More

APPOINTMENTS > | March 23: Eileen Musundi (right), head of exhibitions, Directorate of Antiquities, Sites and Monuments at National Museums of Kenya is joining Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for new, four-month African art residency, beginning this month. She will organize public education programming based on her expertise in African textiles and explore potential exhibition with works from Met collection traveling on loan to Nairobi. Photo Courtesy The Met | More

APPOINTMENTS | March 23: Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., names Joey Quiñones head of fiber department and artist-in-residence. Artist and educator, Quiñones works with variety of materials exploring African American and Caribbean history and complexity of Afro-Latinx identity. Quiñones joins Cranbrook from Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., where they served as assistant professor of sculpture and founded Fibers and Mixed Media Studio in Sculpture/Dimensional Studies Division. Previously, Quiñones taught English for 17 years at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. | More

APPOINTMENTS | March 27: Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art announces three new hires, including Jade Packer in newly created role of director of community initiatives, effective March 1. She previously handled strategic engagement in PBS North Carolina’s education and innovation department. | More

APPOINTMENTS | March 27: Redell Hearn is named chief educator at New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), newly created position leading Learning and Engagement department. Previously, Hearn was founding director of Department of Academic Affairs at Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. Earlier, she was curator of history at California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Her first day at NOMA was Feb. 6. | More

NEWS | March 28: Visiting “Black Power Naps” installation at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Heather Agyepong finds no rest or refuge. After engaging a white visitor who is laughing and in turn describes her as “aggressive” to staff, Agyepong is ejected from museum and posted on Twitter about it (March 25). Creators of installation, artists Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa, share similar experience. In separate incident, they were told to be quiet in own installation by a white visitor. MoMA apologized to Agyepong, British Ghanaian artist recognized for award-winning photography practice, and committed to staff training and exploring procedural changes. | Art Newspaper

| March 29: International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York announces Colette Veasey-Cullors (below) is joining its school as dean and deputy director. She brings three decades of experience as educator, artist, and photographer, joining ICP from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, where she is currently interim vice provost for undergraduate studies. Previously, Veasey-Cullors was associate dean for Division of Design and Media and chair of Photography Department at MICA. Earlier, she was tenured associate professor and Photography Area coordinator at Howard University. ICP describes Veasey-Cullors as “first BIPOC leader of ICP’s school.” She starts June 15. (Photo by Jay Gould) | More

CT

 


TELEVISION | The Exhibit is a reality competition show pitting painters, sculptors, and multidisciplinary artists against one another in weekly challenges. Airing on MTV and the Smithsonian Channel, the series is filmed primarily in a studio space at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. | Video by MICA

 

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