Sunday, July 14, 2013

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for 2013

This highlight features a few exhibitions that are either currently on view or will be opening in the near future. 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 2013. 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.

Boston, Massachusetts

Loïs Mailou Jones, La Baker (detail), 1977, Acrylic and collage on canvas. Gift of the Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust.

Loïs Mailou Jones presents 30 paintings and drawings by the distinguished, internationally acclaimed graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. "This exhibition presents works from every stage of Jones’s artistic career, beginning with her early copies after objects in the Museum’s collections, her teaching career at Howard University, and the travels that shaped her distinctive vision and contributions to American art." 

The exhibition, Loïs Mailou Jones, will be on view through October 14, 2013 in the Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 231) at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Read more at Boston's NPR news station.

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Whitfield Lovell,
Kin LII (Pie in the Sky), 2008, Conte on paper, plaster sculpture with base,
Courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York

Whitfield Lovell: Deep River was organized by the Hunter Museum of American Art. The highlight of Deep River is a large, site-specific installation that Lovell specifically created for the Hunter that explores the history of Camp Contraband, which was located just across the river from the Hunter Museum. Contraband camps became the foundation for postwar African American neighborhoods, facilitating the process that produced rapid urbanization of former slaves, most of whom had lived in rural areas. 

Whitfield Lovell, Pago Pago,
2008, conte crayon on wood with radios 
and sound, 97 x 66 x 13 inches, 
Courtesy of the artist and 
DC Moore Gallery, New York
"The Hunter Museum exhibition features artwork created since 2008, including the artist's signature tableaux that are constructed of intricate charcoal drawings on vintage wood juxtaposed with found objects. Lovell prefers to leave the history of his salvaged wood intact, never removing the layers of age paint, adding only his Conté crayon drawings and the objects he has collected over the years."

Also included in the exhibition are a number of mixed media drawings from Lovell's ongoing Kin series. Each of the Kin works features a portrait along with a single object; see image of Pie in the Sky (Kin LII) above, center.

Deep River will be on view through October 13, 2013.

Greensboro, North Carolina
University of North Carolina Greensboro

Willie Cole, Shoe Bouquet, 2009, Shoes, wood, and wire, 65" x 56" x 61".
  Courtesy of Alexander & Bonin Gallery. Photo: Jason Mandella.
Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Works will be on view in the Bob and Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery, The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, September 14 - December 15, 2013. This exhibition covers more than thirty years of the artist's work, including three-dimensional sculpture to drawing and printmaking.

The exhibition establishes thematic consistencies and intense interactions of Cole’s art and its focus on key consumer objects like hairdryers, high heel shoes, and, above all, the steam iron, transforming these everyday mass-produced objects into precious icons or symbolic representations that explore ideas of diversity, identity, and commercialization.

In the words of Patterson Sims (Western Michigan University), Curator of Complex Conversations, "Willie Cole grew up in post-industrial Newark, N.J., and sees himself as an urban archaeologist." Inner-city African-American life and family have been the underpinnings of Cole’s work. He has lived most of his life in or near Newark, NJ, a city fraught with racial tensions and violence in the late 1960s.

Read more about Willie Cole.

An Artist Talk will be held on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm. Seating for this event is limited; up to two seats may be reserved beginning August 19. Details: Event Calendar. Reception follows. Free.

Houston, Texas
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
LaToya Ruby Frazier, Momme, 2008. Gelatin silver print. 20 x 24 inches. Courtesy the
artist and Galerie Michel Rein, Paris.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: WITNESS will be on view in the Zilkha Gallery at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston through October 13, 2013. The exhibition features photographs, videos, digital works, and a recent photolithograph series that speak to the economic issues surrounding her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania as it struggled to weather the country's shift from a manufacturing economy (steel plants) to an information economy. Frazier documents   "Braddock's deterioration with an unflinching eye and a gift for communicating through documentary images that connects her to other socially engaged practitioners like American photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks." 

As Frazier sees it, her work is "the story of economic globalization and the decline of manufacturing as told through the bodies of three generations of African American women." The primary players in this story are Frazier's Grandma Ruby (1925-2009), her Mom (1959-) and the artist herself (1982-). This exhibition includes a selection of more than 20 black-and-white photographs from the artist's renowned Notion of Family series.To learn more about the back story of what drives and motivates Frazier to action as an artist and activist read Contemporary Arts Museum

The exhibition, LaToya Ruby Frazier: WITNESS, is accompanied by a bound, illustrated catalogue.

Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville Museum of Art

    Thornton Dial, Lady Holds the Long Neck Bird, 1991, Watercolor, 29 5/8 x 22".                                                  Ackland Art Museum, Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, 2011.                                                               

Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper is on view at the Knoxville Museum of Art through August 25, 2013. Although Thornton Dial is widely recognized for his large-scale, multimedia assemblages, his most abundant body of work is his drawings, which he began producing in the early 1990s. This exhibition of Dial's drawings from 1990-1991, represent a pivotal moment in his artistic career
and reflects his characteristic and broadly coherent iconography of women, fish, birds, roosters, and tigers, rendered in a variety of media. Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper "offers a fresh look at the artist’s achievements as seen through the medium of drawing and provide a touchstone of Dial’s creative process."
A publication which offers the first sustained critical attention to Dial’s works on paper accompanies this exhibition.

Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper was organized and circulated by the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For additional exhibitions featured across the country see: Select Art Exhibitions in 2013.

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