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.