Friday, December 27, 2013

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for 2014

This highlight, the first for 2014, features a few upcoming exhibitions that are opening during the next few months. Presenting the exhibitions as they approach their opening dates or shortly after opening, assures a freshness and currency of information for visual art enthusiasts. A number of important traveling exhibitions that opened earlier in the year are still being featured across the country and are accessible from the Blog page entitled: Select Art Exhibitions in 2014. This 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 current ongoing exhibitions on view for the current quarter of the year.

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. BAP will verify the accuracy of any information submitted. Thank you for any assistance that you provide. 

Atlanta, Georgia
Clark Atlanta University Galleries

James Pate, K,2 Da K, 2 Da K, III (Kin Killing Kin Series),
 Charcoal, 30"x 40", Collection of Arthur Primas
Arm Race to Embrace: James Pate's KKK Series, Kin Killin' Kin will be on view at Clark Atlanta University Galleries from January 19 through March 7, 2014. This visually stimulating exhibition addresses the epidemic of gun
violence in urban communities nationwide.

Statistics substantiate that between 1976 and 2000, 94 percent of black homicide victims in America were killed by other blacks. These statistics provided the impetus for the Kin Killin' Kin series which includes 12 charcoal drawings and one oil painting. Each of the works in the series, represent  a "moment of silence and dedication" to people who have been impacted directly by gun violence. Pate portrays African American men in pointed hoods similar to those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan as a way to juxtapose disparate worlds and underscore the irony.

Kin Killin' Kin is Pate's personal protest to what he calls Black-on-Black terrorism. In light of the national dialogue addressing the plight of African American males, this provocative exhibition will seek  to engage communities in relevant discussions, leading to plausible solutions to violence prevention in urban communities nationwide.

Accompanying Programs: 
  • There will be a Community Forum with artist James Pate on Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. 
  • An Artist Talk with James Pate will be held on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm.
Details: CAU Galleries.
 Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Art
at the Shaw Center for the Arts 

Rooted Communities, Nari Ward's first solo exhibition in Louisiana, will be on view at the LSU Museum of Art from February 7 through August 10, 2014. Ward was awarded the LSU College of Art + Design's prestigious Nadine Carter Russell Chair for the 2013-2014 academic year, a rotating residency shared among the four disciplines of the college. Rooted Communities coincides with his residency at LSU, and highlights a series of Ward's recent sculptures, works on paper, and mixed-media installations. In April, the LSU Museum of Art will also debut the artist's installation, to be made with university students during his residency.

Nari Ward, Swing, 2010, Shoe tips, 
car tire, shoe tongues, rope.
Courtesy of the artist and
Lehman Maupin Gallery.

Rooted Communities comprises twenty-six mixed-media sculptures, some of which are free standing, while others hang from the walls or the ceiling. A master at balancing elegance with grittiness, Ward articulates multi-layered issues that affect all communities: economics, poverty, race, culture, and how these factors shape a society. A tire swing (image shown), for example suggests carefree living- until one notes that the tire is suspended from a hangman's noose, a particularly poignant and raw symbol in the Deep South. In Nari Ward's words, "I build drama from the use of found and everyday objects, merging physical information and materials with memories, thoughts, experiences, and questions. ...The exhibition space is the place of contemplation where I attempt to visually seduce the viewer into a dialogue with their own undirected but necessary thoughts and emotions."

Accompanying Programs:
  • An Artist Talk, featuring Nari Ward, will be on Monday, March 24, 2014, 5:00 pm at the LSU Design Building Auditorium, room 103. 
  •  In addition to the Artist Talk, the LSU Museum of Art will present a series of additional programs designed to further explore the exhibition, Rooted Communities

College Park, Maryland
David C. Driskell Center
University of Maryland

Charles White - Heroes: Gone but Not Forgotten... will open at the David C. Driskell Center on January 30, 2014 and will remain on views through May 23, 2014. This exhibition presents a collection of 47 works created by Charles White
Charles White, Jubilee, 1974,
Oil on board, Courtesy of Landau Traveling
Exhibitions/Heritage Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

and consists of drawings, prints, and paintings from the 1930s to the 1970s. These works represent a broad slice of White's storied and rich career. 

The works in this exhibition, Heroes: Gone but Not Forgotten..., are from the collection of Arthur Primas who made them available as a national traveling museum exhibition. This large of a collection of White’s work has not been available to a wide museum audience for many decades. "Many of his most revered works are featured in this collection, including Gospel Singers, Head of Abraham Lincoln, J’Accuse #5, J’Accuse, Frederick Douglass, and works from the prestigious Johnson Publishing Company Collection spanning black history from slavery to Jubilee."

In conjunction with the Heroes: Gone but Not Forgotten... exhibition, the David C. Driskell Center will feature several works by Charles White from the Center’s permanent art collection, most notably Sammy Davis Jr. (1959, graphite drawing mounted onto acrylic painted board) and Creole Madonna (1934, color crayon on paper), recently donated to the Center from the Sandra and Lloyd Baccus Collection. 

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition, Heroes: Gone but Not Forgotten.... Learn more about this exhibition and the David C. Driskell Center.

Durham, North Carolina
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Black Belt, 1934. Oil on canvas, 33”x 40.5”. Collection of the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia. © Valerie Gerrard Browne. 

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, the first retrospective of the American artist's paintings in two decades, will be on view at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from January 30 through May 11, 2014. The exhibition is scheduled to travel to two other museums in 2014: Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, TX) and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Archibald Motley includes 42 works, representing each period of Motley's career from 1919 to 1960. In addition to his Chicago paintings, the exhibition features his noteworthy canvases of Jazz Age Paris and 1950s Mexico. These significant works are presented together for the first time. Many of Motley's most important portraits and cultural scenes remain in private collections; few museums have had the opportunity to acquire his work.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist will be complemented by free programs and events.
  • The Nasher Museum will hold a daylong scholarly symposium related to the exhibition on Friday, February 28, 2014. 
  • In the Spring 2014 term, curator Richard J. Powell will teach a Duke University course focused on the exhibition.  
  • For additional programs, events, see Archibald Motley Calendar.
This exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue. 

Flint, Michigan
Flint Institute of Arts
Hodge and Temporary Exhibition Galleries

Hank Willis Thomas, American, b. 1976. Basketball and Chain, 2007, Lambda print, 60” x 40”. Collection of Elliot and Kimberly Perry. Reproduced with permission from the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Point of View: Contemporary African American Art from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection will be on view January 26 through April 13, 2014 at the Flint Institute of Arts. The collection explores American identity and culture through the art of some of the most innovative, creative, and compelling artists working in the 21st century.

Working on the cutting edge in a variety of media, the 36 African American
artists and 3 artists of the African Diaspora featured in this exhibition place an emphasis on today's issue, creating a dialogue and expanding the discourse of African American art. These artists not only have a shared interest in issues of their predecessors, such as racism, poverty, segregation, and social injustice, but they also address themes of masculinity, femininity, and diversity.

In Elliot Perry's words, "This collection tackles so many different issues, and it shows the rich heritage of African American people in so many diverse ways."   Elliot and Kimberly Perry hope to foster an educational experience that is  transformative as viewers learn, interpret and grapple with the works of art.
The Flint Institute of Arts (FIA) partners with the Charles H Wright Museum of African AmericanHistory in bringing the Perry Collection to Michigan. Modern works from the early part of the Perry Collection will be on view in Detroit at the same time the contemporary works will be shown at the FIA.

A catalogue will accompany Point of View: Contemporary African American Art from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection. For more information regarding exhibition and accompanying programs: See Flint Institute of Arts. 

New York, New York
The Drawing Center

Deborah Grant, God’s Voice in The Midnight Hours (detail), 2013, Oil,
acrylic, enamel, paper, Arches W.C.
paper, linen, and wood on 24 birch
panels, 18" x 4" x 2" inches each. All works courtesy of the artist
and Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles.

The Drawing Center will present Deborah Grant: Christ You Know It Ain't Easy!! from January 25 through February 28, 2014. This exhibition is an installation that combines painting, drawing, and collage to recount the fictional meeting between African American folk artist Mary A. Bell and renowned modernist painter Henri Matisse. In creating this body of work, Grant spent over two years researching primary documents including Mary Bell's drawings and letters.  

Christ You Know It Ain't Easy!! is Deborah Grant's first solo museum show in New York. It is the latest installment in Grant's ongoing series, Random Select, in which she interweaves historical accounts and personal experiences with references to contemporary political and social issues. May A. Bell, the subject of this exhibition, was troubled for many years by mental illness, and was  committed to a mental facility in Boston in 1940, where she died the next year from heart failure.

In Grant's story, Bell encounters Matisse in a dream after falling asleep while working late one night on her drawings. The modern master appears at the foot of her bed discoursing on his famous large-scale paper collages, which he calls "painting with scissors". After a brief discussion about abstract art, religion, and her own personal history, Bell wakes up only to realize that she is in the Boston State Hospital. Rendered trough graphic silhouettes, intricate line drawings, and collaged photographic elements, Grant's fictionalized narrative provides an alternate  account of the legacy of modernist painting, one not told in the history books.

Accompanying Program: Walk through with the artist and curator on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm.

The Drawing Center will produce a fully illustrated edition of the exhibition in the Drawing Papers series.   

Friday, December 13, 2013

Supporting African American Art and Artists: Select HBCUs

This is the third of a four part series, focusing on ways to support African American art and artists. This current post focuses on the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), highlighting the Spelman College Museum of Art and the Clark Atlanta University Galleries, both of which are are located in Atlanta, Georgia. These two institutions are among many HBCUs vying for financial support, gifts, and volunteer services for the fine arts. Galleries and museums at HBCUs, as is the case with all arts institutions, are struggling to maintain, to grow, and in some cases to even survive. As alumni and friends of these institutions, our contributions are a tremendous help with operating expenses. 

Because only two of the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are featured, the following Website may be used as an effective starting point to identify an even larger number of HBCUs with a gallery or museum: If your alma mater does not have a gallery or museum, consider supporting that institution in some other way. If you are not a college graduate or not a graduate of an HBCU, then consider adopting one of these institutions whose vision strike you in a positive way. 

In order to remain viable and relevant during these critical economic times,  these institutions need the collective support of all of us with an interest in African American art. As we approach the new year, this is a great time, before 2013 comes to a close, to think how might I help one of these institutions in some small way. Perhaps, renewing an annual membership or even considering an up grade to the next level of a membership category; giving a membership as a gift to a friend or relative; giving an outright gift to an institution; or even offering to volunteer.
Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries
Trevor Arnett Hall, 2nd Level
Art Collections     
Culture for Service
Clark Atlanta University is the proud steward of several cultural treasures.  Renowned for its historic and comprehensive African-American Art Collection, the University also houses small, yet notable, African and Contemporary art collections. Highlighting these treasures is a series of six murals, titled “Art of the Negro,” painted by celebrated artist and teacher, Hale Woodruff (1900-1980).


Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries, 2011

The African-American Art Collection 
The African-American Art Collection came into being as a result of annual art exhibitions inaugurated by Hale Aspacio Woodruff. The purpose of the annual exhibitions, which  continued from 1942 to 1970, was to afford African-American artists, who had at the time few opportunities to exhibit, a forum in which to display their works.  Purchase prizes were awarded in various categories and Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) gradually came into possession of a considerable collection. Close to 900 African-American artists from all over the country participated in the annual exhibitions during those years. The works of some 155 of them initiated the core of the present collection.

Calvin Burnett, The Box, 1966, Pastel,
20¼" x 24¾" 
William Artis, Woman with Kerchief, 1939, Ceramic, 9½" x 8¼"

Each year the annual exhibition was awaited with great anticipation by both African-American artists nationwide and the Atlanta arts community.  For the artists, the Annuals established aesthetic criteria by which they judged themselves as “having made it” or “having arrived.” It became the equivalent of having one’s art show in a “mainstream” museum. According to Margaret Burroughs, founder of the DuSable Museum of Chicago and co-founder of the  National Conference of Artists, “We would not have developed to where we are without the Atlanta Annuals.” 
                                                       Mama Judie MacDonald, Checkerboard Quilt,                                                          1969, Textile, 103½" x 79½"  

Hale Woodruff,

Night-Blooming Cereus, c. 1936

  Oil on canvas, 31" x 21"   

Overall, the Annuals brought to the permanent collection 291 paintings, prints, and sculptures  by such leading artists as Charles White, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Irene Clark, Ellis Wilson, William Artis, Lois Mailou Jones, John Wilson, Wilmer Jennings, Hayward Oubre and many others. Through periodic purchases and gifts of benefactors and artists, the University also acquired works by Henry Ossawa Tanner, William Edouard Scott, Mildred Thompson, Freddie Styles, Stefanie Jackson, Radcliffe Bailey, Larry Walker, Norman Lewis, Nellie Mae Rowe, Coreen Simpson and Sam Gilliam, bringing the total to 650 works

The Art of the Negro Murals
Installed in the Aspacio Atrium of Trevor-Arnett Hall are the Art of the Negro murals, painted  by Hale Woodruff in 1950-51. Consisting of six panels on canvas, the murals depict the cultural art history of African and other tribal art forms, which subsequently impacted on Western art.  Explicit attention is given to the emergence and presence of the visual artists in the African Diaspora.  The Art of the Negro series is considered to be among the more outstanding murals in the American art tradition.

Trevor Arnett Hall, Art Galleries Aspacio Atrium, 2011

Hale Woodruff
Art of the Negro: Interchange: Panel 2/6, 1950-1951
Oil on canvas, 11' x 11'

The Contemporary Art Collection 
Clark Atlanta University has been the grateful recipient of valuable gifts in its contemporary collection.  Chauncey Waddell, a former Trustee, and his wife Catherine Hughes, and more recently his son Theodore Waddell have presented a collection in excess of 80 works by notable European-American artists, including Eugene Higgins, Will Barnett, John Marin, Isabel Bishop, I. Rice Pereira, Edwin Dickinson, and Larry Rivers.

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
350 Spelman Lane, Box 1526

About the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is the only museum in the nation that
emphasizes art by and about women of the African Diaspora. Since the Museum opened in 1996, it has established an impressive track record for organizing first-rate, mission-specific, art exhibitions that expand contemporary offerings in Atlanta and the southeast region. It has garnered a reputation for organizing exhibitions that merit national and international attention. Milestones include being selected as the first institution from the United States that jointly (along with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston) represented the United States at the 2012 Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba. The Museum is poised to continue its trajectory of pursuing ambitious relevant projects that have a lasting impact.

The Spelman College Collection     
The Spelman College permanent collection dates to the 1940s and includes more than 350  objects. African, ethnographic, and three-dimensional artifacts comprise the core of the permanent holdings. The collection of African art  includes works by peoples of Cameroon, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa. In addition, the permanent holdings include works by celebrated African American artists, including Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Hale Woodruff, and many others. Marìa Magdalena Campos-Pons, Lalla Essaydi, Ingrid Mwangi, Robert Hutter, and Nandipha Mntambo are amongst the roster of artists from Africa and the African Diaspora whose works are represented in the College's growing collection. To honor its unique mission, the Museum strives to acquire art that highlight the spectrum of works that women artists of Africa and the African Diaspora create.

Friends of the Museum
Friends of the Museum are vital to the Museum's success. Support from Friends enable the Museum to focus on its three priorities: presenting original exhibitions, organizing engaging and interdisciplinary programs, and growing
the Spelman College permanent collection. As a Friend of this unique institution, members enjoy a host of benefits and opportunities commensurate with increased levels of support, including social events with artists and museum professionals, priority registration for regional, national, and international art excursions, exclusive behind-the-scene tours, previews of exhibitions, and much more.

 Supporting African American Art and Artists: The Series
This series of posts on Supporting African American Art and Artists is divided into four distinct parts; the first focused on the "mainstream" museums; the second focused on the African American Museums and Cultural Centers; the third, which is presented in this post, focuses on galleries and museums in the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The fourth and final post will focus on African American artist groups. 

Mainstream Museum Special Groups 
Mainstream Museum Special Groups (Addendum) 
African American Museums