Saturday, June 15, 2024

Latest News in Black Art: International African American Museum Opened, Spelman Museum Launching National Collection Tour, Kadir Nelson’s July 4th Vision & More


Latest News in Black Art features updates and developments in the world of art and related culture


The International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C., is located at Gadsden’s Wharf. The historic site was a major landing point for enslaved Africans. | Photo courtesy International African American Museum



After two decades of planning and several delayed opening dates, the International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C., officially opened to the public on June 27. The museum is designed to “demonstrate how enslaved and free Africans shaped economic, political, and cultural development throughout the nation and beyond, while offering an insider’s look at the close connections to the renowned culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry.” (6/28) | More



Lauren LeBeaux Craig was appointed interim executive director of Newark Arts, a “community-centered non-profit” founded in Newark, N.J., in 1981. LeBeaux Craig is a lawyer who since 2018 has been serving as director of development and strategic initiatives at Newark Arts. She succeeds Felicia A. Swoope, who was hired to lead the organization at the start of 2022. (6/26) | More

After the New Orleans Museum of Art announced Amanda M. Maples had been hired as curator of African art, the museum received an onslaught of negative reactions to the appointment on social media. Commenters objected to the fact that Maples is white. (7/3) | Art Newspaper


EMMA AMOS, “2/4 Time,” 1984 (mixed media, 37 x 47 inches). | © Estate of Emma Amos. Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Spelman College Purchase. Photo courtesy Spelman College Museum of Fine Art



Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta, Ga., announced the first-ever national tour of its collection. “Silver Linings: Celebrating the Spelman Art Collection” premiered at Spelman in 2022, marking the 25th anniversary of the museum. The group exhibition features nearly 40 artists, including Emma Amos, Firelei Báez, Romare Bearden, Beverly Buchanan, Selma Burke, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Glenn Ligon, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Deborah Roberts, Lorna Simpson, and Carrie Mae Weems. The first stop on the five-city tour is Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where the exhibition opens at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center on Sept. 30. Subsequently, the show is traveling to Boise Art Museum in Idaho, the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tenn. (6/30) | More



Curators Diane Lima, Grada Kilomba, Hélio Menezes and Manuel Borja-Villel announced the full artist list for the Brazil’s 35th São Paulo Bienal (Sept. 6-Dec. 10, 2023). After releasing a partial artist list in April, the complete list features 120 international artists. Newly announced artists include Sônia Gomes, Simone Leigh, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Kapwani Kiwanga, Ibrahim Mahama, Senga Nengudi, Marlon Riggs, and Charles White. (6/29) | More


EDWARD MITCHELL BANNISTER, “Untitled (Walking Through a Field),” circa 1870s (oil on canvas, 22 x 42 1/4 inches). | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens



The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., announced new additions to its collection, including a pair of shadow portraits printed on fabric by Letitia Huckaby, made in 2020, and “Untitled (Walking Through a Field)” (circa 1870s), a New England landscape painting by Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828-1901). “Adding Bannister’s Untitled is an important milestone for the collection,” said Dennis Carr, Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art at The Huntington. “It is a major, previously unpublished work made at the height of his career. (6/27) | More

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) acquired more than 100 works of art, a broad selection of works across mediums, time, geography, and cultures. Key works by Black artists came from the P. Bruce Marine and Donald Hardy Collection. “Peace on Earth” (1938), a drawing by Charles White that depicts the 1919 Red Summer race riots in Chicago, was purchased, and 19 works by Edward Mitchell Bannister, Eldzier Cortor, David Driskell, Seydou Keïta, Joe Overstreet, Charles Ethan Porter, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Philemona Williamson, among others, were gifted to the museum. BMA also added to its collection works by Baltimore-area artists (Charles Mason III, Devin N. Morris, Lavar Munroe, and Elizabeth Talford Scott, and Joyce J. Scott) and artists featured in recent exhibitions (Omar Ba, Darrel Ellis, Larry W. Cook Jr., and Steffani Jemison). Paintings by Peter Bradley and Ben Enwonwu also joined the collection. | More

In addition, LaToya Ruby Frazier’s prize-winning installation “More Than Conquerors: A Monument for Community Health Workers of Baltimore, Maryland 2021-2022” was acquired by the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Paying tribute to the commitment and essential role of healthcare workers during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, the work consists 18 photographic portraits and related narratives presented on socially distanced IV poles (see video at the bottom of this page). The series was produced for the 58th Carnegie International (2022-2023) at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pa., where it won the Carnegie Prize. Frazier grew up in Braddock, Pa., outside Pittsburgh. Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md., gifted the installation to BMA. (6/26) | More


KADIR NELSON, “Declaration of Independence.” | The New Yorker, July 3, 2023



Los Angeles artist Kadir Nelson‘s cover of the July 3, 2023, issue of The New Yorker magazine captures a girl with long braids flowing down her back, roller skating in Times Square on the Fourth of July. Titled “Declaration of Independence,” the image was inspired by a real person Nelson saw recently at a roller-skating rink where he was celebrating his wedding anniversary. Explaining his vision to New Yorker Art Editor Françoise Mouly, Nelson said he noticed a young African American girl immersed in her phone, stylishly dressed, wearing custom-painted skates, and “gliding effortlessly over the wooden floor to the loud music.” He added that he told his wife: “That would make a great cover painting for The New Yorker.” (6/26). | More



Ghanaian artist Prince Gyasi‘s latest project is a collaboration with Pirelli, the Italian tire company famous for its wall calendar. Since 1964, the calendar has included images of notable models and musicians by internationally renowned photographers. Gyasi describes his work as offering “a counter-narrative to dominant Western notions of ‘Africa.’” His images are defined by electric color and often feature street kids from his hometown of Jamestown. Gyasi is photographing Pirelli’s 2024 calendar, celebrating 60 years since it was first launched. (6/28) | More


Artist LaToya Ruby Frazier explains her Carnegie Prize-winning project “More Than Conquerors: A Monument for Community Health Workers of Baltimore, Maryland 2021-2022” and introduces the healthcare workers who were her subjects. The installation was acquired by the Baltimore Museum of Art. | Video by Carnegie Museum of Art


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