Monday, August 7, 2017

Artist Talk: Titus Kaphar...Can Art Amend History?

"Titus Kaphar makes paintings and sculptures that wrestle with the struggles of the past while speaking to the diversity and advances of the present. In an unforgettable live workshop, Kaphar takes a brush full of white paint to a replica of a 17th-century Frans Hals painting, obscuring parts of the composition and bringing its hidden story into view. There is a narrative coded in art like this, Kaphar says. What happens when we shift our focus and confront unspoken truths?"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BAP: Celebrating Seven Years on Twitter

For seven years (2004-2010), I compiled and published the print version of the Guide to Black Art Exhibitions (ISSN 1559-5129) through the Black Art Project (BAP). A number of those archival print editions are accessible online via Scribd. In addition, select print editions of the Guide are a part of the reference or archival collections of such institutions as the Library of Congress, Smithsonian American Art/Portrait Gallery Library, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, the New York Public Library (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture), Chicago Public Library, the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, Detroit Public Library, Newark Public Library, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and others.

After the print version of the Guide ceased publication, I had to create another vehicle through which I could channel information relating to Black art exhibitions. To achieve that goal, I looked toward creating a blog page that would focus on a large, but select number of exhibitions during any given year. In addition to the blog page, I decided that each exhibition would be announced via Twitter at some time during its exhibition cycle. Twitter would become the marketing informational source. In the beginning of this social media venture, I committed myself to learning how Twitter might afford me an opportunity to connect with an inter-generational group of readers from a cross-section of the world. The goal was to greatly expand and grow the readership beyond those readers who had access to the print publication. With that as my focus, I was open to explore and made a personal commitment to try Twitter for a year to determine if it would meet BAP needs of sharing and connecting more readers to the world of Black visual artists. 

June 20th marked seven years, that I said hello to a new adventure (Twitter), not having the slightest idea of how to implement the goal that I had conceived and envisioned. Back in June of 2010, I was willing to face a bigger challenge that required me to stretch my skill set in a direction of becoming familiar with new platforms to share information electronically. Within a few months, I was comfortable with Twitter and am still learning the vocabulary and symbols of this micro-blogging tool as an informational source. From the beginning, it has been and will remain my intent to focus 90-95% of the tweets towards the visual arts, covering all aspects of the art world. 

The success of creating and promoting an online Guide to Black Art Exhibitions did not simply rest in my enhancing my technological skills as a blogger, but is based to an even larger extent on a large number of individuals, groups, and organizations that follow BAP on the Blog and particularly on Twitter. Their consistent willingness to like, mention, retweet, and share tweets to their circle of friends, family, acquaintances, and others have been greatly appreciated. I look at those followers as a part of an international family who mutually support Black visual artists, and understand their importance and the impact that they have made to enhance the quality of the visual experience. So, I personally thank all BAP followers for any support that you have provided over the past seven years. It has been greatly appreciated. #gratitude #SupportBlackArtists 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Terry Dixon: Kinetic Abstraction

Terry Dixon in his studio in Guangzhou, China 
Chicago based artist, Terry Dixon, is working on one of his most ambitious and critical new bodies of artwork to date in his art studio in China. Dixon is doing a three month artist residency in the city of Guangzhou, China. Terry is known for the combination of his photography work juxtaposed with his paintings and signature line creations, and intense colors, but this time around he just wants to focus on his line work, color, texture and patterns.

fig. 1: Terry Dixon, Kinetic Abstraction #1, 2017, mixed media on linen, 60" x 168". Photo by Terry Dixon.  

This 60" x 168" mixed media on linen (fig. 1) is one of Dixon's biggest paintings in his career to date. The painting will be the focal piece in his upcoming solo exhibition, Kinetic Abstraction, that will be opening in China on July 2, 2017
photo by Terry Dixon
at the Redtory Art and Design Factory. Kinetic Abstraction  is based  on the connectivity of lines, patterns and shapes. Kinetic means movement and the lines in the artwork create motion on the surface of the canvas. The lines, patterns and painted shapes are intertwined within each other, creating a maze structure to the viewer's eye. The mixed media techniques create a dynamic world of entry and exit points inside the surface of each art piece. When viewing each piece, there is something new that is seen within the different layers of the work because of the intricate creation of the line design. Artist Terry Dixon has a background in animation and his paintings show a heavy influence in his world of abstracted movement. A large portion of his abstract paintings are all intuitively created and are inspired by the rhythm of electronic and jazz music. His intuitive creations take you through a dynamic visual exploration of lines, patterns, colors, shapes and sound.  

DETAIL: Kinetic Abstraction #1
DETAIL: Kinetic Abstraction #1

DETAIL: Kinetic Abstraction #1

DETAIL: Kinetic Abstraction #1
The following images are the artist, Terry Dixon, completing artwork for his upcoming exhibition, Kinetic Abstraction, in Guangzhou, China. To learn and see more about artist Terry Dixon visit his website.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for June - August 2017 | Part 2

This is the second part of a two part series focusing on Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for June - August 2017. This continuation focuses on those institutions that are presenting a single artist exhibition and will include the following: Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Craft and Folk Art Museum Los Angeles, Knoxville Museum of Art,  and Sumter County Gallery of Art.

As stated in part one of this series, "This is a very select list of exhibitions and although the exhibitions represented do paint the depth and breadth of art being produced by African American artists, it is not at all comprehensive when it comes to the number of exhibitions that are currently on view or forthcoming. The aim has been to select exhibitions that show works reflecting inter-generational production by male and female artists from across the country which are on view in various types of venues." To supplement this post, the reader is encouraged to view a more expansive offering of exhibitions highlighting the work of African American artists at the BAP Blog page entitled: Select Art Exhibitions in 2017. That page is updated on a weekly basis by either adding newly discovered exhibitions or removing those that are approaching their expiration date. Its intent is to provide comprehensive coverage of ongoing exhibitions on view for the current year.  

Boston, Massachusetts   

Sun Splashed, Artin
2013, Chromogenic color print,
83 7/8" x 63”. Photographed by Lee Jaffe
Courtesy the artist; Galleria Continua,
San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins,
and Havana; and Lehmann Maupin,
New York and Hong Kong. NW.45, ©2017 Nari Ward.  

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) presents Nari Ward: Sun Splashed which is the most significant exhibition of the artist's work to date, and it will be on view through September 4, 2017. The exhibition is organized by Diana Nawi who is associate curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Nari Ward was introduced to the Boston art scene in the 1998 exhibition, The Quiet in the Land, and again in 2000 as a part of a public project, Art of the Emerald Necklace, "an outdoor exhibition sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art and by Vita Brevis, the institute's separate program of temporary public art, [was] on view... through August 20. It [featured] temporary works by nine artists and landscape architects placed in and around the last system of urban parks [Frederick Law] Olmsted designed.... 

The artworks either celebrate or beg comparison with Olmsted's complex and subtle 19th-century vision; in a few cases they direct a contemporary spotlight on his left-to-crumble ideas." (Remembering Olmsted's Vision for Boston by Ann Wilson Lloyd, August 6, 2000, New York Times).

The Boston presentation of this current exhibition, Sun Splashed, is coordinated by Ruth Erickson, ICA Associate Curator. According to Erickson, "Emerging alongside a notable group of African-American artists who rose to prominence in the 1990s, Ward takes on a massive and tactile approach to art-making and has expanded contemporary definitions of installation, assemblage, and site-specificity. His deft use of found objects imbues his work with an instinctive connection to the past as well as the present, allowing him to challenge viewers' perceptions of familiar objects and experiences."

Sun Splashed  speaks to the issues around politics, spirituality, identity, and migration. The artworks which are made from soda pop bottles, shoelaces, shopping carts and other found materials that speak to the artist's distinctive experimentation of creating works in sculpture, collage, video, installation, and photographs. This exhibition, consisting of approximately 43 works, draws on diverse art histories and visual traditions, ranging from folk practices and ritual object-making to avant-garde and conceptual legacies of the twentieth century. Ward imbues his work with layered meanings connected to cultural expression, history, and the Black experience, paying particular attention to his native Jamaica and his adopted home of Harlem. 

Nari Ward, Savior, 1996, Shopping cart, plastic garbage bags, cloth, bottles, 
metal fence, earth, wheel, mirror, chair, and clocks, 128” × 36” × 23”.
Collection of Jennifer McSweeney, NW.09. Courtesy of artist and Lehmann Maupin,
New York and Hong Kong. Photo by EG Schenpf, Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art.
©2017 Nari Ward.

Savior, shopping cart featured in the image above, is a 10-foot tall sculpture that transforms a quotidian shopping cart through intricate assemblage and wrapping. "The encrusted cart, with its Christianity-inflected title, looks like a regal version of the carts that homeless or itinerant people use to collect cans and move their belongings. Ward addresses those who reside on the margins of the city's social structures and economies - the street vendors, the homeless, the disenfranchised." (museum label)

Nari Ward, Radha LiquorsouL, 2010,
Metal and neon sign, PVC tube with artificial flowers,
shoelaces, and shoe tips, 126” × 25” × 29”, 
Collection of Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann
NW.34. Courtesy the artist and Lehman Maupin,
New York and Hong Kong, ©2017 Nari Ward  
Radha LiquorsouL, which is exhibited in the above image, is a part of a group of works made from out-of-use liquor store signs that Ward removed from buildings in New York. "Ward decorates the large neon signs with found objects...the final artwork is like a ritualistic beacon produced by urban streets, communal rituals, and personal affect." (museum label)

A catalogue accompanies this exhibition.

Program Highlights:
Nari Ward - A Segue into History
An Artist Talk: Explore this video and audio recording featuring Nari Ward.

Interactive tour led by one of the ICA’s expert guides. 
Saturday, June 24, 2017, 2:30 PM
Sunday, June 25, 2017, 2:30 PM
Saturday, July 1, 2017, 2:30 PM
Sunday, July 2, 2017, 2:30 PM
SEE more dates at Interactive tour.

Nari Ward Naturalization Drawing Table
"Participate in artist Nari Ward’s artwork Naturalization Drawing Table, in conjunction with his exhibition Nari Ward: Sun Splashed. Based on Ward’s personal experience of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, this interactive artwork gives museum visitors a better understanding of that process."   

Saturday, July 1, 2017, 1:00–4:00 PM
Thursday, July 13, 2017, 5:00–8:00 PM
Saturday, August 5, 2017, 1:00–4:00 PM
Thursday, August 17, 2017, 5:00–8:00 PM

Knoxville, Tennessee

Beauford Delaney, Knoxville, 1969. Watercolor and gouache on paper,
24” x 15 ¾”, Knoxville Museum of Art, purchase with funds provided by the
Rachael Patterson Young Art Acquisition Reserve. All images © Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

The acquisition and display of works by Beauford Delaney have been part of a larger effort to bring long-overdue attention to the artist's legacy in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. That effort and dream have been realized as the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) presents Gathering Light: Works by Beauford Delaney from the KMA Collection, on view through July 23, 2017. 

Gathering Light includes more than 30 of Delaney's paintings and drawings that were purchased from the artist's estate between 2014 and 2016 in what has amounted to one of the most significant art acquisition in the KMA's 27-year history. Nearly all of these works have never been on public view. Accompanying the works acquired by the KMA are also a small collection of paintings from the artist's estate that the museum hopes to raise funds to purchase.

KMA Executive Director David Butler states "We are thrilled to shine light on one of the world's greatest artists and local hero, Beauford Delaney. His legacy has been recognized internationally, but he less well-known here at home. We hope this exhibition helps to change that."

Beauford Delaney, Untitled (New York City) circa 1945. Watercolor on paper, 15 ½” x 22 ½”,
Knoxville Museum of Art, purchase with funds provided by the KMA Collectors Circle.

Beauford Delaney was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1901 and died in Paris, France in 1979. "Delaney is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness, he achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and  free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and vibrant surfaces. The KMA's growing collection promises to serve as a vital resource for the preservation and celebration of this East Tennessee master's work."(PR)

Los Angeles, California

Betye Saar, Liberation, 2011, Mixed media on vintage washboard.
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts and Tilton, Los Angeles, CA. Collection of Sheila Silber. 
Betye Saar: Keepin' It Clean, a solo exhibition of the seminal contemporary artist's washboard assemblage sculptures is on view at The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) through August 20, 2017. Saar began the washboard assemblage sculptures in the late 1990s and continues to make them to this day.

"Saar commonly utilizes racialized, derogatory images of Black Americans in her art as political and social devices. The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972) is Saar’s most well-known art work, which transformed the stereotypical, nurturing mammy into a militant warrior with a gun. Aunt Jemima continues to be a reference point for Saar even now, as she brings her back to life to take on the ongoing racial injustices faced by Black America, including disproportionate police violence and poverty. Combining images of mammies and laundresses with potent words from spirituals and poetry within the washboard structure, Saar emboldens and ennobles the once subservient figure - no longer in service of white supremacy." (PR)  Listen as Saar discusses The Liberation of Aunt Jemima in the following video.

We Was Mostly ‘Bout Survival
, 2017
Mixed media assemblage on
vintage ironing board
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts
& Tilton, Los Angeles, CA
Betye Saar, We Was Mostly ‘Bout Survival, 2017
Mixed media assemblage on vintage ironing board
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts and Tilton, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo: Robert WedemeyeAdd caption

Keepin' It Clean which presents twenty-four new and historical works that center on the washboard as a symbol of the unresolved legacy of slavery and the subsequent oppressive systems facing Black Americans today was curated in close collaboration with the artist. Saar's renewed focus on making washboard assemblages stands as an urgent act of cleansing the race-and-gendered-based violence that American society continues to inflict. In Saar's own words, "the increase of police shootings and the Black Lives Matter protests are examples that America has not yet cleaned up her act."

According to Holly Jerger, curator of Keepin' It Clean, "Betye Saar's washboard assemblages are brilliant in how they address the ongoing, multi-dimensional issues surrounding race, gender, and class in America. She compresses these enormous, complex concerns into intimate works that speak on both a personal and political level. With the increasing erosion of civil rights in our country, it is more important than ever to exhibit Saar's work, and we are deeply honored to have the opportunity." 

A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an essay by Steven Nelson, Director of the African Studies Center and professor of African and African American art history at UCLA. 

Program Highlight:
Keepin' It Clean: A Conversation with Betye Saar and Steven Nelson   
Sunday, June 25, 2017   3:00 PM 
Space is limited, RSVP required:

William Paul Thomas, Stephanie's Financé, oil on canvas, 24"x 36".

The Sumter County Gallery of Art presents two exhibitions, William Paul Thomas: Loved Ones and Saba Taj: Muslims are Awesome, on view through June 23, 2017. Both Thomas and Taj belong to communities that are experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety as their status as Americans is questioned. 

According to Karen Watson, Director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art, "It is more important than ever to provide an opportunity for the voices and visions of these artists to be seen and heard. The Sumter Gallery of Art is committed to presenting challenging art that, we hope, will increase understanding and break down barriers."  Watson goes further to state that "Loved Ones is an appropriate title for the exhibition, because the titles of the portraits are familial descriptions - a little girl's dad, an auntie's grandson, a friend's fiancé." The image above, Stephanie's Financé, features Johannes James Barfield. Thomas "took the photo reference for this after they had just left a movie theater in Greensboro.  Johannes is an artist currently working on his MFA at VCU.  We met while he was living in Greensboro. He included me in a series of photographic portraits exploring family."(PR) 

William Paul Thomas's goal for Loved Ones can be readily understood as it is explained in his artist statement: "Many people have an immediate psychological connection and/or identification to faces. As people are drawn to look closer at the portraits, questions about the subject's state of mind arise. Are they sad, reflective, angry? If the expression is ambiguous enough, we might begin to project our own emotions onto them to interpret the
painting's meaning. We regularly celebrate women and men of prominence in mass media, so I take advantage of the opportunity to highlight the working people in my community that impact me more directly than an untouchable celebrity or distant historical figure could. The work begins as an intimate
William Paul Thomas, Evie's Last, oil on canvas,
24"x 36".
acknowledgement of an individual and is subsequently transformed into a set of symbols poised for the viewer's investigation." Thomas's selection of the people he uses as models is twofold: it is a way of recognizing their significance in his life, and it serves as a way of honoring everyday people who often move through the world unnoticed.

William Paul Thomas's current series, Cyanosis, is a part of the Sumter Gallery exhibition, Loved Ones. The series explores the condition of being deprived of basic human rights, being marginalized, or victimized and the artist does this by painting parts of the subjects faces blue. Cyanosis is a way to describe the bluish tone of the skin that results from lack of oxygen in the blood. In a real life situation, a recent witnessing of deprivation of oxygen was the strangulation death of Eric Garner by NYPD police officers. Evie's Last (image to the right) features Anthony Hill who is Thomas's brother; Anthony is Evona Hill's youngest son. According to Thomas, "Anthony will be 20 this year. He was in first grade by the time I went to college, so we haven’t been able to spend as much time together as I would like. He is a talented musician  and is in at least two Metal bands."

Saba Taj: Muslims are Awesome is the second exhibition on view through June 23, 2017 at the Sumter County Gallery of Art. Saba Taj is a self-identified queer, visual artist and activist whose work centers around identity and challenging Islamophobia and sexism. 

work by Saba Taj

When asked what it's like to produce art during a time of Islamophobia in America, Taj notes that her "entire life as an American has been a time of Islamophobia, and it is something that she directly confronts in her work. Early on she felt a responsibility to use her art to explore Islamophobia, but more recently has found that simply by being a socially engaged Muslim and gay woman of color in America, themes of systemic marginalization emerge in her work because that is embedded in how she grapples with her own identity."(PR) 
Saba Taj thinks of art as a way to control the narrative and representation of Muslim Americans, and also as an act of resistance in a world that threatens to diminish people because of who they love and what they believe."

work by Saba Taj
From her artist statement, Saba Taj states "I grew up internalizing a lot of racist and sexist messaging. My work undoes these toxic falsehoods and navigates the nuances of intersectionality, by focusing on representation. The constructed 2-dimensional story of these women, oppressed and lacking agency in an imagined 'Muslim world,' has been a partial justification for military intervention and fuels Islamophobia. Muslims are Awesome is a collection of works that pushes back against Islamophobic narratives by illustrating hybridized identity. Truly, Muslims are a combination of many parts, ever changing over time, complicated by diaspora, and highly individualized. Muslims are Awesome challenges dehumanizing, hegemonic representations of Muslim women as oppressed, in need of liberation by white America. Many of the portraits offer a non-Muslim viewer entry points through humor, beauty, and shared cultural symbols."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

ARCH Presents FUSION: Three Pop-Ups of Art, Fashion, and Design

From its inception in 2013, the Anacostia Arts Center (Washington, D.C.) has received most interest from young, smart boutique owners; there is clearly a deep enthusiasm and strong creative pulse for the fashion arts east of the river. FUSION is the response to that call.

Vintage and Charmed kicked off the series of three store pop-ups with a reception on June 9th at 6PM. This location provides these entrepreneurs with the platform to stretch their creativity beyond the 500sq ft. gallery space they currently hold inside the Anacostia Arts Center. Each of these woman-owned businesses is thrilled to push the boundaries of visual merchandising to dramatic results.

FUSION will run from June 9 through August 19 at 2208 MLK Jr Ave SE. Featuring Vintage and Charmed, The Den, and Nubian Hueman. Each boutique will determine their own store hours.
  • Vintage and Charmed - June 9 through June 25
  • The Den - July 8 through July 23
  • Nubian Hueman - August 5 through August 19

Vintage and Charmed
Created by Washington, D.C. native and Anacostia resident Lynette McNeil-Voss; Vintage and Charmed began as an Ebay store. The demand for the hand-picked items grew so rapidly that in the summer of 2011, Lynette opened her first location in Maryland; she outgrew the store within two years. Lynette has hosted fashion shows and kiosks across the region, she has a keen eye for fashion and is always on the hunt for unique pieces. Vintage and Charmed has items from main-street to high-end designer labels. The store will be open 11am - 7pm Monday - Friday, and 12pm - 5pm Saturday and Sunday.
Interior view of Vintage and Charmed.

The Den
Maryam Foye is the founding artistic director of HBC Theater Company, LLC. The Den: Reading Room and Artist Exchange is a project of HBC theater. The vision is to serve as a safe space that promotes community engagement, creative entrepreneurship, self-efficacy and art as activism.  As a Playback Theater practitioner, the bulk of her work is collecting, retelling and documenting the stories of people of color, women and children.

Nubian Hueman
Dubbed one of Washington DC's Best Boutiques by Washington City Paper, Nubian Hueman features cultural goods along with art of various mediums reflecting the African Diaspora and Black culture. The store serves as a means to promote collective interaction, community development, and global responsibility through a fresh and artistic platform. Owner and Lead Curator Anika Hobbs, has always had an interest in the convergence of fashion, interior design, and business. Nubian Hueman Boutique started as an online store and graduated to brick-and-mortar location in 2013 and is scheduled to expand in the next few months.

ARCH is a small, nonprofit neighborhood-based organization with its entire focus on the economic regeneration of Washington DC's Historic Community of Anacostia, using arts, culture, and the creative economy. Its mission is to create, in partnership with the residents and stakeholders of the neighborhood, a home for arts, culture, and small businesses fulfilling our commitment to the revitalization of Historic Anacostia.  Anacostia should be a vibrant residential and commercial neighborhood that retains its historic charm and is filled with small businesses and cultural organizations that serve Anacostia residents and create a destination for visitors.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for June - August 2017 | Part 1

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for June - August 2017 focuses on exhibitions that are on view or will open in the coming month. To that end, the Black Art Project has decided to release the post as a two part series, the first focusing on group exhibitions and the second focusing on individual artist exhibitions. The exhibitions, in this two part series, are presented by the following institutions: Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Brooklyn Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Craft and Folk Art Museum Los Angeles, Kemper Museum of of Contemporary Art, Knoxville Museum of Art, Speed Art Museum, and Sumter County Gallery of Art.

This is a very select list of exhibitions and although the exhibitions represented  do paint the depth and breadth of art being produced by African American artists, it is not at all comprehensive when it comes to the number of exhibitions that are currently on view or forthcoming. The aim has been to select exhibitions that show works reflecting inter-generational production by male and female artists from across the country which are on view in various types of venues. To view a more expansive offering of exhibitions highlighting the work of African American artists, please visit the BAP Blog page entitled: Select Art Exhibitions in 2017. That page is updated on a weekly basis by either adding newly discovered exhibitions or removing those that are approaching their expiration date. Its intent is to provide comprehensive coverage of ongoing exhibitions on view for the current year. 

Brooklyn, New York

Faith Ringgold (American, born 1930). For the Women's House, 1971. Oil on canvas, 96” x 96” Courtesy of Rose M. Singer Center, Rikers Island Correctional Center. ©2017 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brookly Museum continues its celebration with a groundbreaking exhibition, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85, featuring more than forty artists. We Wanted a Revolution, which will be on view through September 17, 2017, highlights a remarkable group of artists who committed themselves to activism during a period of profound social change marked by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the Women's Movement, the Anti-War Movement and the Gay Liberation Movement, among others. This groundbreaking exhibition will reorient conversations and recreate new dialogues  around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history as it writes a broader more inclusive story of the multiple feminisms that shaped this period.

Emma Amos (American, born 1938). Preparing for a Face Lift, 1981.
etching and crayon, 8 ¼” × 7 ¾. Courtesy of Emma Amos.
© Emma Amos; courtesy of the artist and Ryan Lee,
New York. Licensed by VAGA, New York

We Wanted a Revolution features a broad sample of works in various media that are as diverse as the artists featured in the exhibition, "including conceptual, performance, film, and video art, as well as photography, painting, sculpture, and printmaking that reflects the aesthetics, politics, cultural priorities, and social imperatives of this period."(PR) The exhibition includes the following: Emma Amos, Camille Billops, Kay Brown, Vivian E. Browne, Linda Goode Bryant, Beverly Buchanan, Carole Byard, Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ayoka Chenzira, Christine Choy and Susan Robeson, Blondell Cummings, Julie Dash, Pat Davis, Jeff Donaldson, Maren Hassinger, Janet Henry, Virginia Jaramillo, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Lisa Jones, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Dindga McCannon, Barbara McCullough, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Alva Rogers, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.

We Wanted a Revolution is built around a key group of movements,

Jan van Raay (American, born 1942). Faith Ringgold (right)
and Michele Wallace (middle) at Art Workers Coalition
Protest, Whitney Museum, 1971. Digital C-print. Courtesy of
Jan van Raay, Portland, OR, 305-37. © Jan van Raay

collectives, and communities that included: Spiral Group and the Black Arts Movement, Where We at Black Women Artists Collective, Art Workers' Coalition (AWC), Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), Women, Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation (WSABAL), Just Above Midtown Gallery, and others. According to Rujeko Hockley, co-curator of the exhibition, "Working within
tightly knit and often overlapping personal, political, and collaborative creative communities, the artists in this exhibition were committed to self-determination, free expression, and radical liberation. Their lives and careers advance a multidimensional understanding of the histories of art and social change in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century." Catherine Morris, co-curator, added "This exhibition injects a new conversation into mainstream art histories of feminist art in a way that expands, enriches, and complicates the canon by presenting some of the most creative artists of this period within a political, cultural, and social conversation about art-making, race, class, and gender. The resulting work, sometimes collaborative and other times contentious, continues to resonate today."

A catalogue/sourcebook which "will ignite further scholarship while showing the true breadth and diversity of black women’s engagement with art, the art world, and politics from the 1960s to the 1980s" accompanies this exhibition.  

Program Highlights:
Artist's Eye:
"This series of intimate, in-gallery talks focuses on artists’ practices and their works’ relationship to larger art-historical and political themes. Each talk features either an exhibition artist or an artist of a younger generation."

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 2:00 PM

Saturday, July 8, 2017, 2:00 PM

Saturday, August 12, 2017, 2:00 PM

Saturday, September 9, 2017, 2:00 PM

Detroit, Michigan

Wadsworth Jarrell, Three Queens, 1971, 
acrylic on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presents Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement, July 23 through October 22, 2017. The exhibition is part of a city-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion. 

Allie McGhee, Black Attack, 1968,
oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Art of Rebellion is co-organized by the DIA and Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which is hosting a complementary exhibition, Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion. Both Art of Rebellion and Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion are part of a community-wide reflection on the Detroit rebellion of 1967. This community-wide initiative involves about 100 local institutions led by the Detroit Historical Museum. Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA Director states, "The commemoration of the 1967 Detroit rebellion provides an opportunity to call attention to the talented and often overlooked artists who were reacting to the struggle for social, political and racial justice during the 1960s and 70s." Further, "The DIA's collaboration with the Wright Museum lays a foundation from which we are building a strategic and lasting working relationship that will help bring our community closer together."

Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement features 34

Hale Woodruff, Ancestral Memory, 1966,
oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.
Featured in Black Arts Movement section.
paintings, sculptures and photographs mostly by African American artists working both collectively and independently in the 1960s and 70s. Most of the exhibition focuses on works created by five artist collectives: Spiral Group, Kamoinge  Workshop, Weusi, Black Arts Movement (BAM), and AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). In addition to work produced by artists associated with an artist collective, the exhibition highlights the works by artists who were not part of a collective and artists working in later decades who were inspired by art from the Civil Rights Movement. Many African American artists working in the 1980s to the present were inspired by artists in the collectives.

The following is a brief overview of the five collectives featured in the exhibition, Art of Rebellion:

Spiral Group: This New York based collective was active from 1963 to 1965/66. It was founded by Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, and others with a mission to explore the relationship of art and activism, and to advance the Civil Rights Movement's platform of social change. There was a focus on the commitment of black artists in the struggle for civil liberties. SEE: Culture Type and ARTnews 

Kamoinge Workshop: Formed in 1963 "for the purpose of providing crucial support and solidarity for those [black] artist vying towards artistic equality within the industry of photography." (Kamoinge website) 

Weusi: Ademola Olugebefola and Otto Neals were original founders of the WEUSI Artist Collective in 1965. This ongoing collective is dedicated to eradicating negative misrepresentations of black culture in the media and to teaching African Americans about their heritage. (PR)

Black Arts Movement: Active in New York 1965-76 and founded by poet and playwright Amiri Baraka. This politically motivated group of black poets, artists, dramatists, musicians, and writers emerged in the wake of the Black Power Movement.    

AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists): Established in Chicago in 1968 by Jeffrey Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogue, and Gerald Williams. These artist created powerful art that was understandable, relevant, and accessible. They regarded art making as a revolutionary act and developed Afrocentric aesthetic principles and concepts that reflected the style, colors, cool attitude, and rhythm associated with African American culture. (PR)

A scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Program Highlight:
July 29, 2017, 1:00 PM
Detroit Film Theatre: Detroit Home Movies
"This is a year-long project to uncover and exhibit home movies made around 1967 that depict everyday life in Detroit's diverse communities. The project is dedicated to observing and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Detroit's 1967 rebellion and is a partnership of the DIA, Detroit Free Press, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Detroit Historical Society, and Bridge magazine."(PR)

Further Readings:
Detroit: Race Riots, Racial Conflicts, and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide by Joe T. Darden and Richard Walter Thomas (Michigan State University Press, 2013).

The Fifty-Year Rebellion: How the U.S. Political Crisis Began in Detroit by Scott Kurashige (University of California Press, July 2017).

Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City by Heather Ann Thompson (Cornell University Press, 2017). 

Kansas City, Missouri

Chakaia Booker, El Gato, 2001,
rubber, tire and wood, 48”x 42”x 42”.
Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art’
Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Museum purchase,
Enid and Crosby Kemper and William T. Kemper Acquisition Fund,
2004.12. ©Chakaia Booker. Photo: Dan Wayne

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, which will be on view June 8 through September 17, 2017. After its closing at the Kemper, it will travel to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Magnetic Fields "marks the first U.S. presentation dedicated exclusively to the formal and historical dialogue of abstraction by women artists of color."

Magnetic Fields focuses a long-overdue lens on the contributions of women

Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991,
oil on canvas, triptych, 70½” x 150”.
Courtesy of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia
artists of color within the lineage
of non-representational art making. The exhibition aims to spark a broader and more inclusive presentation of American abstraction going forward. Although Magnetic Fields focuses on works by female artists to the exclusion of male artists, it fulfills its mission beautifully as it presents the works of an inter-generational group of artists, amplifying the formal and conceptual connections among these twenty-one artists born between 1891 and 1981. Many of these artists are presented in conversation for the first time. Their work is presented in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and drawing. With these artists and their works, the viewer will experience a diverse range of unique visual vocabularies within non-representational expression. By highlighting the artists' individual approaches to form, color, composition, material exploration and conceptual impetus within hard-edge and gestural abstraction, Majestic Fields provides an expanded history of abstraction.

Alma Thomas, Orion, 1973, acrylic on canvas,

59¾”x 54”x 1¼”. Courtesy of the National Museum of Women in the Arts,

Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmia Holladay. ©Alma Woodsy Thomas.

Photo: Lee Stalsworth

The following artists are included in Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today: Candida Alvarez, Betty Blayton, Chakaia Booker, Lilian Thomas Burwell, Nanette Carter, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Deborah Dancy, Abigail DeVille, Maren Hassinger, Jennie C. Jones,  Evangeline “EJ” Montgomery, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Howardena Pindell, Mavis Pusey, Shinique Smith, Gilda Snowden, Sylvia Snowden, Kianja Strobert, Alma Thomas, Mildred Thompson, and Brenna Youngblood.

Co-curators Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina stated, “As curators, we are honored to present this incredible, intergenerational group of artists.” They added, “This exhibition is intended to be a platform to further their visibility, as well as to generate more inclusive conversations about the history of American abstraction that consider the accomplishments and contributions of women artists of color going forward.”

A catalogue will accompany Magnetic Fields.

Program Highlights: 
For a full program schedule SEE: Adult Programs

Reflections: The artists of Magnetic Fields presented by Erin Dziedzic. 

Session II: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 5:00-6:30 PM
Session III: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 5:00-6:30 PM
Session IV: Thursday, September 7, 2017, 5:00-6:00 PM
Members Only | RSVP to Teresa Woods:

Thursday, June 8, 2017, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
Exhibition Opening and Artist/Curator Panel Discussion, Magnetic Fields 
"A conversation on topics of American abstraction (history, themes, and influence) kicks off the opening of the groundbreaking group exhibition Magnetic Fields, featuring artists Candida Alvarez, Lilian Thomas Burwell, and Shinique Smith, moderated by co-curators of the exhibition Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina."  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Magnetic Fields Catalogue Launch and Conversation with Valerie Cassel Oliver and Jennie Jones, moderated by co-curator Erin Dziedzic.

Louisville, Kentucky
Speed Art Museum 

Amy Sherald, High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain't No Cotton Pickin' Negroes, 2011
, oil on canvas.*

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art will be on view through October 14, 2017 at the Speed Art Museum. This exhibition, which was co-organized with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and the Speed Art Museum, is the Speed's largest and most ambitious contemporary art exhibition to date. 

According to Miranda Lash, co-curator of Southern Accent and curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Museum of Art, Southern Accent "showcases a plurality of voices and perspectives, male and female, native and newcomer, outsider and insider, to demonstrate that the South is an evolving concept." The exhibition creates a portrait of southern identity through the works of 60 artists that reflects work dating back to the 1950s, but primarily focusing on art produced within the past 30 years. Lash states "Through the eyes of artists, we see the South as it has been envisioned and experienced, from its dark legacies of slavery and segregation, to its future as a region of rapidly changing demographics and growing urban centers. While the exhibition focuses on the myths, realities, and stereotypes associated with one part of the country, how we imagine the South speaks to how we think about the United States overall." 

The following artists are featured in Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art: Terry Adkins, Walter Inglis Anderson, Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Sanford Biggers, Willie Birch, Rachel
Barkley L. Hendricks, Down Home Taste, 1971. *
Boillot, Douglas Bourgeois, Roger Brown, Beverly Buchanan, Diego Camposeco, Mel Chin, William Christenberry, Sonya Clark, Robert Colescott, William Cordova, Jerstin Crosby and Bill Thelen, Thornton Dial, Sam Durant, William Eggleston, Minnie Jones Evans, Ralph Fasanella, Skylar Fein, Howard Finster, Michael Galinsky, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Deborah Grant, Barkley L. Hendricks, James Herbert and R.E.M., Birney Imes, Jessica Ingram, George Jenne, Deborah Luster, Sally Mann, Kerry James Marshall, Henry Harrison Mayes, Richard Misrach, Jing Niu, Tameka Norris, Catherine Opie, Gordon Parks, Ebony G. Patterson, Fahamu Pecou, Tom Rankin, Dario Robleto, Jim Roche, James "JP" Scott, Amy Sherald, Xaviera Simmons, Mark Steinmetz, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Hank Willis Thomas, Burk Uzzle, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jeff Whetstone.

Southern Accent is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that offers a robust expansion of the investigations raised by works in the exhibition, with text ranging from groundbreaking scholarship to poetry, song lyrics and personal reflections. The catalogue is available for purchase at the Museum Store.

Program Highlights:
For a full program schedule SEE: Southern Accent Programming

Gallery Talk Series: This monthly gallery talk series uses a different topic as a lens through which to explore one artwork.

Saturday, June 17, 2017, 11:30 AM
Art + Poetry (Join Dr. Kristi Maxwell, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Louisville, to consider how the power of language can also convey a sense of the south in the Southern Accent exhibition.)

Saturday, July 29, 2017, 11:30 AM
Art + Resistance (Join Speed Contemporary Curator Miranda Lash to explore the theme of resistance in the Southern Accent exhibition.)

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 11:30 AM
Art + Photography (Join Lucy Kacir, Community Outreach and Studio Programs Coordinator, to learn about the photographic processes used by artists in the Southern Accent exhibition.)

Artist Performance: 
Sonya Clark: Unraveling  
Southern Accent artist Sonya Clark will perform her powerful piece Unraveling.
For this artwork, Clark carefully unravels a confederate flag thread by thread and invites members of the public to join her in this process.

Sunday, October 14, 2017, 2:00-4:00 PM

*Image credits: 
Amy Sherald, High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain't No Cotton Pickin' Negroes, 2011, oil on canvas. Collection of Keith Timmons, ESQ, CPA. Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. ©Amy Sherald

Barkley L. Hendricks, Down Home Taste, 1971, oil and acrylic on linen, 48"x 48". Courtesy of the Office of the Dean of Students, Cornell University. Gift of Michael Straight to the Willard Straight Hall Collection.