Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Curator Discusses Exhibition: "Spiral: Perspectives on an African-American Art Collective"

Spiral: Perspectives on an African-American Art Collective is currently on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art through March 6, 2011, and features work by Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Charles Alston, Hale Woodruff, Reginald Gammon, Richard Mayhew, and Emma Amos.

Spiral was a diverse group of African American artists, originally consisting of 12 members, who met in 1963 seeking to find the Black aesthetic and the extent of their commitment in the struggle for Civil Rights. As an African American collective, the group presented an exhibition, First Group Showing: Works in Black and White, on May 14 - June 4 [1965] with an aesthetic limitation of restricting its palette to the colors black and white. With confidence, it can be stated that the use of this color palette carried some symbolic overtures. The exhibit reflected the different identities and views of the artists included in the group, yet it was unified by its common theme. It was during this period, of the Spiral Group, that Romare Bearden, as one of its founding members, developed his technique of collage.

Further readings.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Select List of African American Art Collections

After releasing the Reading Scene 1, focusing on The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect, I begin to explore what other "personal collections" were documented in a published catalogue. This exploration and discovery led to the compilation of the following list, African American Art Collections, in WorldCat. It includes, to the best of my knowledge, art collections that were personally developed by individuals or families. The list does not include collections that had their origin as an institutional, organizational, or corporate collection; catalogues of many of those collections exist, but they are not the focus of this list. Over time, as other "private" (personal, individual, family) collections are identified, and catalogues exist, they will be added. Suggestions for inclusion are welcome and may be sent via comments. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Select Art Exhibitions in 2011

Notice the Updated Right Sidebar

The right sidebar has been updated to include Select Art Exhibitions in 2011. This list only includes those exhibitions that are currently on view until they close in January or those that have an opening date either in January or February. Other exhibitions will be added to the sidebar throughout 2011 as they approach their opening dates.  

Black Art Project welcomes any information or leads that you might have relating to black (African American) art exhibitions, particularly regional exhibitions that are not traditionally marketed on a national scale. The Project will verify the accuracy of any information submitted. Thank you for any assistance that you provide.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reading Scene 1

  • Kinsey, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect. Los Angeles: The Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation for Arts and Education, 2009.

This 154 page catalogue, The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect, accompanies an exhibition with the same name. It presents, in historical perspective, the story of the African American experience from 1632 - present; the story speaks through original art, historical artifacts, and documents. Because it presents stories of African American achievement and contributions through art, documents, memorabilia, as well as other ephemera, it makes an excellent teaching tool, gift, or resource for personal discovery and inspiration. The Foreword, written by Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, presented a wonderful back story of how Blackmon and Kinsey were connected through a 1903 letter featured in Blackmon's book. The letter was from Carrie Kinsey to President Theodore Roosevelt, describing how her 14-year-old brother had been kidnapped and sold into slavery.

The catalogue is divided into sections, focusing on aspects of the African American experience. Each section is highlighted with appropriate documents, artifacts, ephemera, and art to tell its story. Some of the sections featured include: Slavery, African Americans and War, Forging Freedom, The Birth of an Aesthetic, A New Generation of Masters, and etc.

This family's story, which is told through their collection and the essays written by each family member (Bernard, Shirley, and Khalil), reflects a rich cultural and historical heritage that the family is preserving for future generations.

The exhibition, The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect, will be on display in National Museum of African American History and Culture's gallery at the National Museum of American History (Washington, DC) through May 1, 2011. To purchase a copy of the catalogue, visit the museum store or order here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reading Scene

This post simply introduces BAP readers to a new feature, Reading Scene, which has been added to the BAP blog. 

The Reading Scene does not replace the BAP Booklist, but simply serves as yet another means of sharing information regarding reading material that may be of interest or helpful to BAP readers. Unlike the BAP Booklist that focuses on books and exhibition catalogues directly focused on African American art and only includes materials published in the current year, Reading Scene will highlight materials, including books, exhibition catalogues, magazine and journal articles, electronic links of a broader art interest, as well as those with an African American art focus regardless of the year of publication. Because of the writer's interest in collecting historical materials, this new feature allows the flexibility to introduce historical titles that may assist in framing African American art in a historical context within the fine arts, and highlighting African American contributions to note their inclusion. As a combined reading source, these lists should prove beneficial to the artist, collector, art historian, gallerist, or anyone with a keen interest in the fine arts. The logistics for these lists are in an evolving stage and are subject to change based on interests, publishing patterns, and the over-all availability of interesting and exciting materials to share. BAP welcomes comments and any suggestions that you would like to share.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baltimore Museum of Art: The Director Shares the African American Art Collection

This tour with Doreen Bolger, Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), features highlights from BMA's African American art collection which began in 1939. The Baltimore Museum of Art played an early role in exhibiting African American art. The museum's first exhibition, Contemporary Negro Art, with an exclusive African American art focus, was held from February 13 - 19, 1939. There was a 24-page catalogue, with introductory words from Alain Locke, accompanying this exhibition. This 1939 catalogue is a rare find today, existing in approximately sixteen libraries, on an international scale. See if there is a library near you that owns a copy: Libraries

The 1939 Contemporary Negro Art exhibition presented paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings from a large number of artists, including Charles Alston, Henry Wilmer Bannarn, Richmond Barthé, Robert Blackburn, Samuel Joseph Brown, Aaron Douglas, Elton Clay Fax, Sollace J. Glenn, Rex Goreleigh, Palmer C. Hayden, William Hayden, Louise E. Jefferson, Wilmer Jennings, Malvin Gray Johnson, Sargent Johnson, Lois M. Jones, Ronald Joseph, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Richard Lindsey, Ronald Moody, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Robert Neal, Frederick Perry, Florence V. Purviance, Roland St. John, Albert Alexander Smith, James Lesesne Wells, and Hale Woodruff.

Updated 12/08/10: Thanks to Linda Tompkins-Baldwin, Library Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, I can now share the full 1939 exhibition catalogue of Contemporary Negro Art.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

E-FLASH 2: Black Art Exhibitions in 2010

A few more exhibitions have been discovered since the first E-FLASH of 2010 was released on August 29, 2010. Bear in mind that this post will not include any exhibitions at venues that have been previously featured in either the Guide to Black Art Exhibitions in 2010, the quarterly E-List Updates, or the first 2010 E-Flash

 Black Art Project (BAP) welcomes any information or leads that you might have relating to Black art exhibitions, particularly regional exhibitions that are not traditionally marketed on a national scale. The Project will verify the accuracy of any information submitted. Also, keep in mind that a select number of exhibitions and links to information regarding those exhibitions are always available in the right sidebar of the blog under Selected Art Exhibitions.... Through visiting and reading about these exhibitions and other art related issues, enjoy the exploration and discovery of African American art.

Follow on this journey as we discover and support African American art exhibitions. The following are a few samples of exhibitions that are available around the country. 


Albany, New York

Ed Clark, Louisiana Series, 1978,
Acrylic / canvas, 56” x 68 ½”
African American Abstract Masters is the current exhibition on view through December 12, 2010 at The Opalka Gallery, the site for public exhibitions for The Sage Colleges, located on the campus of Sage College of Albany. This exhibition features 14 artists, Robert Blackburn, Betty Blayton, Frank Bowling, Ed Clark, Herbert Gentry, Bill Hutson, Harlan Jackson, Norman Lewis, Sam Middleton, Joe Overstreet, Thomas Sills, Merton Simpson, Alma Thomas, Frank Wimberley, who have "enlisted a variety of approaches and aesthetic influences over the span of six decades. They invoke through abstraction an art of light, color, materials, gesture, sweep and space. All originally felt the aesthetic influence of Abstract Expressionism."

The exhibit is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. The Opalka Gallery is located at 140 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, New York. For further information either call: 518/292-7742 or visit Opalka Gallery. Read Art in America review. 

Adelphi, Maryland

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) presents Color Exploration: Simplicity in the Art of McArthur Binion through February 28, 2011 in the Arts Program Gallery,UMUC Inn and Conference Center, Lower Level. A Meet the Artist Reception will be held on Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 6:00–8:00 p.m.

"McArthur Binion has been creating colorful works of art and exploring the medium of crayons for approximately 37 years. Some of his works bring to life his family’s transition from tenant farmers in the south to factory workers in the north; others are explorations of color with crayons and, most recently, inks. His art is both simple and complex, geometrical and abstract, and colorful and historical."

To request additional information, please call 301-985-7937.

Atlanta, Georgia
Kendell Carter, It Is What It Is, But It Isn't, Trois Gallery (SCAD Atlanta),
installation view, 2010. Photograph by SCAD visual media department

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) exhibitions department presents It Is What It Is, But It Isn't, a solo exhibition by artist Kendell Carter. The exhibit will be on view through December 08, 2010 at Trois Gallery located at 1600 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia.

Kendell Carter, native of New Orleans and currently residing in Los Angeles,   combines a design-based sensibility with a hybridization of cultural styles and references—from Baroque to hip-hop— creating installations that offer unique observations about form and function.

Trois Gallery (SCAD Atlanta) is located at 1600 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit SCAD.  

College Park, Maryland

The David Driskell Center presents Jacob Lawrence: Prints, 1963 - 2000, A Comprehensive Survey. Jacob Lawrence. The exhibition features over 70 prints, and will be on view until December 17, 2010. Organized by the DC Moore Gallery in New York City, the works presented in the exhibition depict the life of African Americans, addressing "the themes of joy, suffering, equality, and struggle, as well as justice, hope, and aspiration."

Jacob Lawrence, General Toussaint L'Overture,
1986, Silk screen on Bainbridge 2-ply paper;
edition of 100, 25AP, © 2010 The Jacob and
Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation,
Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Of particular note, works from three of Lawrence's major print series, The Legend of John Brown, Eight Studies for the Book of Genesis, and General Toussaint L'Overture, are included in the exhibition. These series highlight the importance of narrative in Lawrence's body of work. 

For further information, please call: 301/ 314-2615 or visit Driskell Center.       

Coral Gables, Florida

Ernest T. Crichlow, Anyone's Date,
1940, Gouache on paper, 9" x 7"
The University  of Miami Lowe Art Museum presents The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper through January 16, 2011. "Selections from one of the premier collections of African American art provide a rare opportunity for the public to view master graphics spanning three centuries. The sixty-nine works in the exhibition include drawings, etchings, lithographs, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, gouaches, and screen prints by such noted artists as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Alison Saar."

The Lowe Art Museum will also feature a selection of works by African American artists from its permanent collection to complement the Kelley Collection exhibition.

The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California.

The Lowe Art Museum is located at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables, Florida; for further information, call: 305/ 284-3535 or visit: Lowe Museum.

Memphis, Tennessee

Richmond Barthé,
Josephine Baker,
12 ½” x 6” x 9 ½”
Richmond Barthé: Harlem Renaissance Sculptor takes a contemplative look back at this artist's extraordinary career by examining over 25 of his most important sculptures. The exhibition will be on view at The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee through January 2, 2011. 

Samella Lewis, Barthé's biographer and curator of this exhibition, makes the following statement regarding the artist's works: "In Barthe's sculptures, we are aware of his passion and vigor, which exceed the boundaries of his figures. An examination of The Boxer (1942), Inner Music (1956) and Julius (1942) will attest to his ability to bridge the gap between realism and abstract form. Although the artist's sculptures on the surface appear to be traditional figurative forms, upon closer examination, many works are expressionistic, with elongated and uniquely distorted characteristics."    

Richmond Barthé: Harlem Renaissance Sculptor is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California.

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is located at 4339 Park Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee; for further information, call: 901/ 761-5250 or visit: Dixon Gallery.

New York, New York

Philemona Williamson, Dusty Afternoon,
2010, Oil on linen, 48" x 60"
June Kelly Gallery presents Philemona Williamson: Fractured Tales, a series of new paintings on view until December 14, 2010. In the Gallery's statement, "Williamson's paintings recognize the searching, the alienation, and the commonplace tempests encountered in the growth to maturity. Her (Williamson) new work - spirited in its imagery, color, movement, and brushwork - demonstrates her understanding of the critical reality that life by design at any stage has unpredictable fractures."

June Kelly Gallery is located at 166 Mercer Street (between Houston and Prince Streets), New York, New York. For further information either contact by phone: 212/ 226-1660 or visit the site: June Kelly Gallery

Two exhibitions, sponsored by the Studio Museum in Harlem, are featured in this post. Mark Bradford: Alphabet is the results of an ongoing merchant posters project in which Bradford canvasses his South Los Angeles neighborhood for advertisements and signs, and then "repurposes their message to comment on the needs and desires of not only his local community, but the world at large."  This major new body of work, produced over the past year, includes twenty-six individual works on paper, each depicting a single alphabet. Mark Bradford: Alphabet is on view through March 13, 2011. 

Dawoud Bey, A Man in a Bowler Hat,
1976, Silver print, Gift of the artist
The second highlighted exhibition is Dawoud Bey's Harlem, USA, representing a series of works that cover the time period, 1975 - 1979, in which Bey takes viewers on a journey through this historic neighborhood. Dawoud Bey's Harlem, USA is on view through January 2, 2011. For further reading, see the artist's blog statement: Dawoud Bey.

For a list of all current exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, view: Studio Museum. The museum is located at 144 West 125th Street, New York, New York, and its phone number: 212/ 864-4500.  

North Miami, Florida

Museum of Contemporary Art's Knight Exhibition Series features Shinique Smith's first large-scale United States museum exhibition, Shinique Smith: Menagerie. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami in association with Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Shinique Smith: Menagerie will be on view through November 19, 2010.

Shinique Smith, Bale Variant No. 0017,
2009,  Clothing, fabric, ink, twine,
ribbon and wood, 72' x 52"x 52",
Private Collection

 Menagerie is an appropriate title for the assortment of paintings, drawings, videos, and three-dimensional work Smith has assembled. "Since bursting onto the scene in 2002, this young New York-based artist has produced works that combine complex social and cultural references with a broad array of art historical sources, including Abstract Expressionism, colorfield painting, minimal sculpture and Japanese calligraphy. Her sculpture and installations are composed of collections and  accumulations of found objects and second-hand clothing, which she ties together to form minimal cubes or wraps into bulbous bundles. Urban life is suggested both in her sculptures as well as the graffiti-like gestures of her exuberant paintings."
  Orangeburg, South Carolina

Frank Smith: Visualizing Jazz is an exhibit currently on display through November 29, 2010 at the Arthur Rose Museum, Claflin University (Orangeburg, South Carolina). According to Winston Kennedy, Chair of the Art Department, the experience of viewing the exhibit "will have you seeing jazz." Winston's plans are to play music from jazz legends to accompany the exhibit, inspiring  "a visual statement about the work at the exhibit." 

Claflin University Art Department Chair, Winston Kennedy discusses
the symbolism behind Frank Smith's mixed media piece, Other Voices.
Frank Smith, a Chicago native, was one of the artist who made a considerable contribution to the development of the AfriCobra (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) art movement. According to Smith, "the aesthetic philosophy of my work is to seek and explore visual equivalents of jazz." As demonstrated in the mixed-media art piece, in the image above, Smith colorfully illustrates the disjointed rhythms of jazz employing "a style of sewing various pieces together in a way that resembles the improvisation of a jazz composition." Frank Smith: Visualizing Jazz will travel to various sites in the Southeastern United States; that schedule is being finalized.

For additional information regarding Frank Smith: Visualizing Jazz, contact Prof. Kennedy at 803/ 535-5810. 

Orlando, Florida

Against All Odds: The Art of the Highwaymen is an Orange County Regional History Center special 10th anniversary exhibit on view through January 2, 2011. Who were the Highwaymen? Stated quite simply, "the Highwaymen began as a group of African American artists who, against all odds, managed to prosper selling their paintings in the segregated South of the 1950s and ‘60s. One charismatic man dreamed big and developed a fast method of painting that he generously shared with 25 others, and they collectively produced more than 200,000 paintings over a 30-year period." This current exhibit includes paintings by all 26 Highwaymen. 

The Orange County Regional History Center is located at 65 East Central Boulevard, Orlando, Florida, and their telephone number is: 407/ 836-8500. For details and accompanying programming, see: History Center.

For further selected readings on the Highwaymen, see this list at:

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), an affiliate of the North Carolina Museum of Art, presents two compelling exhibitions. The exhibits, Shinique Smith: Every Brick, showcasing textile-based collage and Glenda Wharton: The Zo, consisting of hand-drawn animation will be on view from November 18, 2010 through February 13, 2011.

Both exhibitions were curated by SECCA's Curator of Contemporary Art, Steven Matijcio who explains: "Both of these artists create work that combines a wide variety of materials, media, and influences. Glenda Wharton breathes new life into the increasingly rare practice of hand-drawn animation, while Shinique Smith turns second hand clothing into sculpture that vibrates with lived energy. In different, but related ways, they trace a path from dark to light."

Shinique Smith: Every Brick

Shinique Smith, Open Secret, 2010       
 Image courtesy of the artist
 Shinique Smith, as a Baltimore-born, Brooklyn-based artist, "confronts the iconic works, conventions, and legacies of art history with lyrical reconsiderations. Marrying influences of graffiti, collage, and fashion with performance, painting, and sculpture, her cross-disciplinary work bristles with lived energy. Across large-scale canvases, monuments cobbled from used textiles, and site-specific installations, she vividly translates the materials and aesthetics of urban life into agents of institutional reform. ...A selection of past works provide the context for a series of new works that map an abstract, yet intense passage from dark to light."

Glenda Wharton, Ribbon Child, Pencil,
ink, 2 overlapping hand-drawn
 animation cels

Glenda Wharton: The Zo

The Zo, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was screened at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, was Glenda Wharton's first feature-length animation. Wharton is a Winston-Salem artists and SECCA will be the first venue to present this film in Winston-Salem where it was created.

SECCA is located at 750 Marguerite Drive, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. For further information, visit: SECCA."This exhibition sheds light on the pieces and processes of The Zo's making: highlighting Wharton's drawings and pencil tests, the haunting soundtrack of the film, and a behind the scenes video that takes us into the studio of the artist."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Art in Special Collections: Latino and African American Fine Art and Photography Collections...

The following abstract was taken from Art Documentation which is the official bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 1982-present. Published twice a year (spring and fall) it includes articles and information relevant to art librarianship and visual resources curatorship. "Art in Special Collections: Latino and African American Fine Art and Photography Collections in Academic Institutions" by Rebecca Hankins and Miguel Juárez was a featured article in the current issue.

"Often university libraries or archive/special collections house large fine art and photographic collections by African American and Latino artists. These collections are frequently hidden due to inadequate funding to promote them, minimal exhibit space, insufficient staffing with requisite exhibition and curatorial expertise, and/or diminished cataloging or digital priority. This article seeks to address the concerns and issues that affect this lack of exposure within academic special collections in both large and small institutions. The intent is to highlight successful strategies that can be used by other repositories seeking to diversify their art and photography holdings."

I made a request through Rebecca Hankins to have some way to share this article with readers and followers of the blog. Through Rebecca's efforts, the editor of Art Documentation has given me a pdf of the article to share with others. SEE:
My thanks are extended to Rebecca and Miguel, as well as the editor and staff at Art Documentation.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Swann Galleries: African American Fine Art , Sale 2224

Swann Galleries held its ninth African American Fine Art sale on October 7, 2010. This was the continuation of an on-going series of auctions devoted entirely to African-American fine art, beginning in February 2007. In comparison to American art, as a whole, African American art is still in its nascent stage as it relates to auctions. Because there has not been an extensive amount of African American art at auction, these works can still be acquired at very reasonable prices. Unfortunately, the art produced by African American artists is clearly undervalued by any standard of judgment. For the time being, many good to excellent works are affordable even for the beginning and mid-level private collector or smaller institutions that have included collecting works by African American artists as a part of their collection development policy goal. 

This most recent auction of 140 lots had a success rate of selling 2/3 of the lots, leaving 42 lots unsold. Questions abound as to the why the 42 lots did not sell. Is the economy still at an unsettling stage for the average collector in this area of collecting? Is it fair to assume that the highs and lows of the general financial market is reflected in the art market? Have the "investor-collector" and the "speculative-collector" become less visible as in the housing market? Are the results from this current art sale simply an overall trend or pattern in the area of fine art auctions? Were the available items not of interest based on style, subject matter, artist representation? In spite of the many questions, the results from art auctions can have a positive impact on an artist's financial future. Simply stated, when an artist's prices rise at auction, then the prices on new works sold by the artist or their dealer will also rise.

Robert Colescott, A Legend Dimly Told, 1982,
Acrylic on canvas, 84 x 72 inches
Approximately 17 lots either met or exceeded their high expectations; however, two items were among record prices at Swann's African-American Fine Art auction. The top lot was Robert Colescott's A Legend Dimly Told, that sold for $132,000 inclusive of buyer's premium, setting an auction record for the artist. A Legend Dimly Told which is an acrylic on canvas (84 x 72 inches) and dated 1982 had an estimate of $50,000 - $75,000. According to the exhibition catalogue, it had been exhibited in "The Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1983; Robert Colescott: A Retrospective, 1975 -1986, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California; and a traveling exhibition, 1987 - 1989." For more information on  Colescott, read Robert Colescott's obituary from the New York Times and his oral history interview  from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. 

Sargent Claude Johnson, Mask, 1933,
Copper repoussé with gilding,
12½ x 6½ x 2 inches

 Sargent Johnson's Mask (lot 8), one of my personal favorites in the auction, also set an artist record when it sold for $67,200 inclusive of buyer's premium. Its pre-auction estimate was $30,000 - $50,000. As stated in the Swann auction catalogue, "Mask is an excellent example of Sargent Johnson's work in repoussé from the 1930s, and the first of its kind to come to auction. It is among the earliest examples of his sculpture incorporating African forms with modernist design." For further reading, see: Sargent Johnson, Retrospective (an exhibition catalogue from the exhibition curated by Evangeline J. Montgomery at the Oakland Museum, Art Division Special Gallery, February 23 to March 21, 1971.); Sargent Johnson : African American Modernist (an exhibition catalogue from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, March 13 to July 7, 1998; and Sargent Johnson (an article by E. J. Montgomery in the International Review of African American Art, vol. 6 (2) 1984, pages 4-17. Check your local library for these and other titles relating to African American art and artists. Also, see the Smithsonian Archives of American Art's oral history interview with Johnson which was conducted July 31, 1964.  

As I indicated, lot 8 was one of my personal favorites; overall, I was drawn to the small sculptural pieces. Other favorites included Charles Alston's Untitled (lot 13, Head of a Man) which was one of the unsold pieces and Elizabeth Catlett's polished cast bronze (lot 98, Portrait) which did sell for its low estimate ($24,000 inclusive of buyer's premium). Also, Dox Thrash's Portrait of a Young Man (lot 18), Robert Pious' Joe Louis vs. Clarence "Red" Burman (lot 22), Lois Jones' Le Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre, Paris (lot 42), and Hale Woodruff's Returning Home (lot 9) were of special interest. I am now anxiously awaiting the next African-American Fine Art auction at Swann Galleries.

To view the results of the African American Fine Art Sale 2224, see: sale results and prices including buyer's premium.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National Black Memorabilia, Art, Doll and Collectible Show

 The National Black Memorabilia, Art, Doll and Collectible Show, celebrating it 27th year, will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 16 - 17, 2011 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Plans have been well underway and are led by Lindsey B. Johnson of L. Johnson Promotions, Ltd.  Johnson indicates "the show is now 2 days and in addition to black memorabilia, we are highlighting black fine art and African American dolls."  

Black Panther materials
 Johnson further emphasizes that "the items included in the Show will be original black memorabilia and collectibles, and no reproductions." A short lists of categories of items included will feature: historical artifacts and documents, books, autographs, paintings, sports memorabilia, dolls, photographic items, figurines, coins, stamps, paper collectibles, quilts, jewelry, and etc. 

Black Pipe detail
 The National Black Memorabilia, Art, Doll and Collectible Show will not only provide a venue for the public to purchase, but to be educated on the African American experience. There will be educational exhibits, book signings, and celebrity autograph sessions. In addition, it will afford both vendors and customers an opportunity to meet black memorabilia collectors, black artists, black doll makers, and the like.


Mooress (figural)
 Also, this is an opportunity for the visual artist who works in multi-media, collaged assemblages and the like to acquire original pieces of black memorabilia or ephemera to incorporate into their art, evoking a sense of memory, ancestry, and any common cultural connection between the past and the present.  

There is still time to become a vendor for the National Black Memorabilia, Art, Doll and Collectible Show, so submit your application early. If there are any questions or you need additional information, please call 301/ 649-1915, view   or send an email to


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sanford Biggers: Artist Talk

Sanford Biggers was commissioned to create a temporary public artwork as the Marshall S. Cogan Visiting Artist in the Public Art Program at Harvard. His work which was a fusion of meditative, historical, and contemporary concerns was on view November 6 - December 2, 2009. "The work included a performance on site—with vocalist Imani Uzuri, members of Harvard’s a cappella group KeyChange, and instrumentalist Sumie Kaneko—offering an imaginative mash up of Sufi poetry, Sun Ra, and black spirituals."

Interview: Whitehot Magazine

Further Readings: 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Black Art Project (BAP) Booklist 2

This is a continuation of the inaugural Black Art Project (BAP) Booklist that was published on June 9, 2010. This continuing feature from BAP highlights recently published books that have an African American art focus. As stated in the earlier release, identifying titles as they are recently published or in pre-publication status is crucial for those building a library that has some focus on African American art because of the small print runs in which these titles are published. 

  • African-American Fine Art (Public Auction 2224, October 7). New York: Swann Auction Galleries, 2010.
This sale includes 140 lots of works in  various media from many sought-after African-American artists, ranging from rare early 20th Century paintings and sculptures through desirable contemporary pieces, including fine photographs. A short role call of artists included are as follows: Augusta Savage, Sargent Claude Johnson, William Edmondson, Charles Alston, Robert Savon Pious, Beauford Delaney, Bob Thompson, Al Loving, Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, Dox Thrash, William H. Johnson, Robert Colescott, David Hammons, John Biggers, William H. Johnson, Allan Rohan Crite, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Arthur P. Bedou, Chester Higgins, Jr., Dawoud Bey, and others. View the online catalogue.

  • Barson, Tanya and Peter Gorschlüter (editors). Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic. London: Tate Liverspool in association with Tate Publishing, New York, 2010.

Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic is an exhibition that explored the impact of different black cultures from around the Atlantic on art from the early twentieth-century to today. This catalogue accompanied the exhibition. Taking its inspiration from Paul Gilroy's 1993 influential book, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, the exhibition featured over 140 works by more than 60 artists. Gilroy used the term The Black Atlantic "to describe the transmission of black cultures around the Atlantic, and the instances of cultural hybridity, that occurred as a result of transatlantic slavery and its legacy." Divided into seven chronological sections, the exhibition, charted "new forms of art arising from black culture and the work of black artists and intellectuals, it opens up an alternative, transatlantic reading of modernism and contemporary culture." The exhibition was on view at the Tate Liverpool (UK) from January 29 - April 25, 2010.

  • de Chassey, Eric, I Mutanti- Ellen Gallagher. Roma, Italy: Drago (SCB Distributors, North America), 2010.
I Mutanti is the exhibition catalogue for the Villa Medici exhibition of the same title. The catalog is made up of five volumes that correspond to the five artists participating in the show, representing some of the most controversial and thought-provoking artists of the 21st century. This 56-page volume features Ellen Gallagher and includes a "montage of over 25 full color images prepared by Gallagher and texts in three languages (French, Italian, and English) by Villa Medici director, Eric de Chassey. To view sample pages of images from the catalogue, visit Drago.

  • Garcia, Miki, Sanford Biggers: Moon Medicine. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, 2010.

This catalogue was produced in conjunction with the exhibition Sanford Biggers: Moon Medicine and is the first publication entirely dedicated to his practice despite showing internationally and being the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and residencies. With this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, the Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF) succeeds in its mission "to support the most compelling artists of our time and to bring world-class programming to the Tri-Counties." The exhibition was featured at CAF from March 6 - May 2, 2010.

  • Gooding, Mel. Frank Bowling O.B.E., RA: Paintings 1974-2010. New York: Spanierman Modern.
This thirty-two-page catalogue with eleven full-page color plates, and color illustrations of the remaining works in the show accompanied an exhibition with the same title at Spanierman Modern. The exhibition is on view through October 16, 2010; to view the online exhibit, follow this link: Frank Bowling. The exhibition presents "twenty-three richly textured canvases in the abstract expressionist and color field mode by the first black artist in history to be elected to the Royal Academy, London. Born in British Guyana, Bowling studied in London, lived for ten years in New York, and now divides his time between the two cities. Honored in 2008 with the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for his service to art, Bowling has an international standing for his dedication to the modernist tradition."  

  • Pegg, Thom. The Parkway Collection of Important 20th Century African-American Works of Art. Kansas City, Missouri: Parkway Galleries, LTD.
The Parkway Collection of Important 20th Century African-American Works of Art is presented through two gallery venues: Tyler Fine Art in St. Louis, Missouri and Ward and Ward Fine Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Many of the works in this exhibition were produced at the height of the artists' critical period of recognition.

As mentioned in the catalogue, accompanying The Parkway Collection... exhibition, "African-American art is at once both a subset of American art and an unprecedented blend of African and European influences: a new and uniquely American genre. It is a tremendous body of work that has been, for the most part, overlooked by collectors and museums alike for the first ninety years of the 20th century. There have been exceptions, and these individuals and institutions have enjoyed the freedom of assembling remarkable collections with very little competition." See the The Parkway Collection at  Tyler Fine Art in St. Louis through September 28, 2010.  

  • Schwab, Tess Sol and John Paul Driscoll. African Americans; Seeing and Seen, 1766 - 1916. New York: Babcock Galleries, 2010.  

African Americans: Seeing and Seen, 1766 – 1916 is a 48 page catalogue that accompanied an exhibition, sharing the same title which was held at Babcock Galleries (New York from January 21 - April 2, 2010). The exhibition has been defined as “an incisive overview of refined and controversial fine art and popular culture images of African Americans as artists and subjects. Bitter brutality and cruel caricature alternate with respectful revelations and positive portrayals of the status of African Americans. It may be said that all portrayals become betrayals in revealing the motivations and prejudices of their creator, and the images in this exhibition offer telling insights into the prevailing notions of the period. Each work is not only a signpost of the complex nature of our cultural forebearers, but also a harbinger of the ongoing struggle for equal rights in the United States.”

  • Willis, Deborah (editor). Black Venus 2010: They Called Her "Hottenot". Philadelphia: Temple University, 2010.

Black Venus 2010 is an important book highlighting a revised visual history of black women in America and throughout the African diaspora. "As a young South African woman of about twenty, Saartjie Baartman, the so-called ‘Hottenot Venus,’ was brought to London and placed on exhibit in 1810. Clad in the Victorian equivalent of a body stocking, and paraded through the streets and on stage in a cage she became a human spectacle in London and Paris. Baartman’s distinctive physique became the object of ridicule, curiosity, scientific inquiry, and desire until and after her premature death. The figure of Sarah Baartman was reduced to her sexual parts."

An impressive list of cross-disciplinary contributors (approximately 40) present  wide-ranging essays, poems, and images that "grapple with the enduring legacy of this young African woman (Saartjie Baartman) who forever remains a touchstone for black women.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trenton Doyle Hancock: Artist Talk

Vegans     Mobile      Underworld     Experimentation     

Storytelling     Creatures       Mythology       Narrative

Mounds     New Directions      

Trenton Doyle Hancock:  "For me the color pink is the binding element of all my work. I feel like it's the binding element to all humilities. If you strip away the skin, we're all pink. It's an innocent color...but it's also a suggestive color that could be considered very naughty."  

For further exploration, also view the artist talk directly related to Hancock's  new installation, A Better Promise, at the Seattle Art Museum in the Olympic Sculpture Park until March 4, 2012.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

NEWS Announcements, Upcoming Programs and Activities

Alexandria, Virginia

Genealogist Char McCargo Bah will conduct a workshop and illustrated lecture "showing how she successfully traced descendants of people buried at Freedmen's Cemetery (Alexandria, Virginia) and how these techniques can be applied to any family research." Ms. Bah will discuss her methods on Saturday, September 18, 2010 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at the Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia). Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, please call 703/ 746-4356 or visit

Atlanta, Georgia

High Museum of Art features Kehinde Wiley, in its Conversations with Contemporary Artists series, on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm in Rich Theater. Kehinde Wiley is known for his vibrant, larger-than-life reinterpretations of classical portraits featuring young African-American men. In his talk, "Wiley will discuss the influence of Old Master painting on his work, including artists such as Titian, David, and Memling."  

Seating is limited; tickets are available through the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404/733-5000 and 

Baltimore, Maryland

THINK TANK--2010 and Beyond: New Directions in African American Art - Transformative Aesthetic Curriculum Design will be hosted by The Center for Race and Culture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). This conference will be held on November 11-14 in Baltimore at the school's Falvey Hall, Brown Center, 1301 W. Mount Royal Avenue. ..."THINK TANK will explore new directions in African American art and aesthetics, especially topics related to curriculum design for K-12 art education programs."  For details, see:

Birmingham, Alabama

Sankofa Society: Friends of African-American and African Art (Birmingham Museum of Art) are sponsoring their 2nd Annual Soirée, SPIRAL: Moving Outward and Constantly Upward, celebrating African-American art and culture on Saturday, September 11, 2010 from 6:30 - 10:00 pm. Also, Sanfofa will present a lecture by artist Emma Amos on September 12 at 2:30 pm in Steiner Auditorium. Ms. Amos is the group's honored guest at the 2010 Soirée. For more information, visit: 

Chicago, Illinois

The Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC) of the Art Institute of Chicago honors Dr. Margaret Burroughs with the Legends and Legacy Award on October 22, 2010 from 6:30 - 10:00 pm. Reservations are required. For details and to purchase a ticket, SEE:  
LAC encourages you to send a tribute. Share your story via e-mail with LAC and tell them how Dr. Burroughs has inspired you by writing a tribute, then send it to the following address:

DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY received a Terra Foundation Award ($37,000) to support educational programming and the 2011 exhibition Buried Treasures: Art in African American Museums, "drawn from the collections of 30 African American institutions around the country. The exhibition will display approximately 90 works of art by 19th- and 20th-century African American artists." Through its grant program, the Terra Foundation for American Art actively supports and initiates historical American art exhibitions, scholarship, and programs in Chicago, the United States, and throughout the world. See more on the Terra Foundation.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Duncanson Artist-in-Residence was established in 1986 by the Robert S. Duncanson Society of the Taft Museum of Art to honor the "relationship that was established between African-American painter Robert S. Duncanson (1821-1872), who painted the murals in the Museum's foyer, and Cincinnati art patron Nicholas Longworth (1782-1863)." The Society annually recognizes the achievements of contemporary African American artists through the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program. The recipient of the 2010 award is Nokuthula Nywenyama.

For two weeks, the artist is active "through public performances, workshops, and outreach to area schools, working with students in the classroom to broaden their horizons in the area of fine arts." Artist-in-Residence events will begin on Thursday, November 4, 2010 and extend through Sunday, November 14, 2010. To see a list of programs, see events.  

For more information about the Duncanson Artist-In-Residence program, email:

Detroit, Michigan

The grand opening of the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10, 2010 at 52 East Forest, Detroit, Michigan 48201. The 24 hours of programming will include artist panel discussions, artist book signings, live music and theatrical performances, activities for children, and more. For further information call or visit: 313/ 831-8700;

New York, New York

Swann Auction Galleries next African-American Fine Art exhibition (Sale #2224) will be held on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at  2:30 pm. As in the past, there will be an illustrated catalogue.  As the date approaches, check the website for updates. Also, as auction schedules are occasionally subject to change, call 212/ 254-4710 for the most current information. Some of the highlights include mid-20th Century paintings by Beauford Delaney, Al Loving, David Hammons, and Norman Lewis. Sculpture pieces are represented by Sargent Johnson and William Edmondson. Look for the release of the print and online catalogue in the next few weeks. 

The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation has announced 30 recipients of the Foundation's 2009 Biennial Awards in painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and craft media. The Foundation recognizes "emerging American artists and craftspeople every two years by a series of monetary grants. "The awards go to the artists whose work shows promise, but who have not yet received widespread critical or commercial recognition." Among the awardees were: Derrick Adams and Dawolu Jabari Anderson.  Read more about the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.

Sacramento, California

Call for Artists: Evolve the Gallery will present an exhibition, EMERGE: The Next Generation of Masters, November 11 - 28, 2010. EMERGE benefits Sacramento CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). This call is open to local artists only who are attending "UC Davis, Sacramento State University, Sacramento City College, American River College, Consumnes River College, Los Rios College, Sierra College, Art Institute of Design and Technology, or Art Institute." The following mediums will be included: painting, mixed media, photography and sculptures only. "All submissions include: (3) three JPEG with a minimum of 300 dpi resolution, title, medium, and year of creation, student's name and school. For 2D or 3D works - need at least two angles." The deadline for submissions is October 20, 2010; there is no entry fee. For more information visit: or contact Brady at 916/ 572-5123. Email submissions: 

Call for Artists: Evolve the Gallery will host its 1st Annual A.I.D.S.: Artists Intent on Destroying Stereotypes, December 4, 2010 - January 2, 2011, to bring awareness to the damage stereotypes create in the fight against AIDS. This exhibition will benefit the Black AIDS Institute. This call is open to regional artists only and their creative works should be an expression of outcast, discrimination, survival, healing, loss, and etc. The following mediums will be included: painting, mixed media, photography and sculptures only. "All submissions include: (3) three JPEG with a minimum of 300 dpi resolution, title, medium, and year of creation, student's name and school. For 2D or 3D works - need at least two angles." The deadline for submissions is October 29, 2010; there is no entry fee. For more information visit: or contact Brady at 916/ 572-5123. Email submissions:

Washington, DC

The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund welcomes grant applications from visual artists aged 40 years or older, who live within 150 miles of Washington, D.C., and can demonstrate that they have the potential to benefit as artists from a grant. The Fund does not accept applications from filmmakers, video artists, and performance artists. Applications should be postmarked no later than September 15, 2010.

Grants may be used for any purposes relating to the recipients’ work as artists. For details, please see apply.


The Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University (North Carolina) celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Save the date, Friday, October 15, 2010 and join in the celebration. Cocktails begin at 6:30 pm and the program starts at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $50.00 per person and include art, dinner, and jazz by Joe Robinson and James Funches. For more information call 336/ 750-2458 or email:

The current exhibit, Pride and Dignity from the Hill: A Celebration of the Historic Happy Hill Community at the Diggs Gallery is on view through February 26, 2011. For generations, residents have preserved the oral history of the Happy Hill neighborhood and its families. Pride and Dignity from the Hill documents "this important legacy through the art and testimony of community leaders...and includes architectural models of area homes embellished by local participants, paintings, photographs, video documentation of the community and a multi-media installation of a juke joint. The show also features works by celebrated artists Chandra Cox, Juan Logan, Larry Sass, Leon Woods and Willie Little."