Saturday, April 11, 2015

Selection of Upcoming Art Talks: Highlighting Black Art or Artists

Atlanta, Georgia
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 | 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. | Reception Hall, Level Three
Mildred Thompson (American, 1936-2003), 1989
The Second Mystery, Etching, Artist's Proof
Lent by Wes and Missy Cochran
"In a program titled Let’s Talk About Mildred, collectors Wes and Missy Cochran join curator of the Mildred Thompson estate, Melissa Messina, and Carlos Museum Associate Curator of Works on Paper, Andi McKenzie, for a conversation about the life and work of artist Mildred Thompson, whose prints are featured in the exhibition Creating Matter."   

Birmingham, Alabama
Kelli Morgan, Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow
of African American Art 
Lecture: Decoding Black Art: Rising Up: Hale Woodruff's Murals at Talladega College
Sunday, June 21, 2015 | 2 - 3 p.m.

"Join Kelli Morgan, Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow of African American Art at the BMA, for a lecture series on African American art. The series will analyze and illuminate important works of African American art within the Museum’s permanent collection. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Kelli will discuss Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College."

Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery
 of African and African American Art at the Hutchins Center

Sunday Afternoon at the Cooper Gallery
In Conversation: Steven Nelson and Abigail DeVille 
Sunday, April 12, 2015 | 2 p.m. | 102 Mount Auburn Street

Steven Nelson, Associate Professor of African and African American Art History, University of California, Los Angeles; Cohen Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, Hutchins Center, Harvard University.

Abigail DeVille, Independent Artist; Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Chicago, Illinois

Gallery Talk: Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
Tuesday, April 14 and Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | 12:15 p.m. | Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 4th Floor North

The themes of Motley's work—identity, migration and social change—will be central to the discussion. 

Columbus, Ohio
Department of African American and African Studies

Artist Talk:  Art as Resistance: Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture for The Black Panther Movement 
Thursday, April 16, 2015 | 4:30 - 6 p.m. | Barnett Collaboratory, Sullivant Hall 141

Emory Douglas, Artist
"Emory Douglas will deliver a lecture along with a power point presentation related to his graphic artwork during 1960s and 1970s Black Panther Party era, when he served as the Minister of Culture and Revolutionary Artist. He will also showcase some of his more recent work, putting into context the social and political importance of the artwork being displayed." The event being produced in conjunction with: Department of African American and African StudiesBarnett Center for Integrated Art and EnterpriseOffice of Diversity and InclusionOffice of Student LifeDepartment of Art and the Department of English.

East Lansing, Michigan

Lecture: Mickalene Thomas
Monday, April 27, 2015 | 7 p.m. | S. Kedzie Hall, 107

"The paintings of Mickalene Thomas combine iconic images of African American women alongside the classic genre of portraiture.  Drawing on art history and popular culture, her monumental works consider the relationship between black female sexuality, beauty, and power.  Her work is represented in the collections of the Guggenheim, Whitney, MoMA, and many others." Free and open to the public.

Hanover, New Hampshire 
Dartmouth College 
Artist Lecture: Victor Ekpuk: Excavating Memories
Friday, April 24, 2015| 4:30 p.m.  
Victor Ekpuk. Composition No. 13 (Sante Fe Suite),2013
Graphic and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist. © Victor Ekpuk

Victor Ekpuk will discuss how he mines historical, cultural, and social memories to shape his aesthetics.  

 Hartford, Connecticut

Contemporary Art Series: Hank Willis Thomas: History Doesn't Laugh
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 | 6 p.m.

Hank Willis Thomas, Basketball and Chain, 2003, digital c-print photograph, 
Gift of Jean Crutchfield and Robert Hobbs 
in honor of Susan Talbott, 2014.14.1
"One of the most provocative and innovative conceptual artists of today, Hank Willis Thomas discusses the impact of photography on his work and explores how the concepts of spectacle and display connect to notions of African American identity and commodification."

Los Angeles, California

Panel Discussion: A History of Refusal: Black Artists and Conceptualism
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.

"This panel explores the politics and legacy of African American artists, both of Charles Gaines’s generation and after, who use strategies of conceptual art to investigate identity, representation, and American culture. The panel also considers the impact of past exhibitions that examined black conceptual practices and questioned what constitutes a “black aesthetic.” With speakers Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, the Studio Museum in Harlem; Hamza Walker, associate curator and director of education, The Renaissance Society, Chicago; and artist Rodney McMillian."   

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lecture: Norman Lewis: Abstracting African American Art
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 | 12 - 1 p.m.

"Norman Lewis (1909-1979) was among the earliest African American artists to explore abstraction. Ruth Fine, Independent Curator and former Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., provides a preview of PAFA’s fall 2015 exhibition, Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis, examining the parallel courses of his abstract and figurative motifs."

San Francisco
Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum

Docent Lecture: An African American Experience, by Sharon Walton
Sunday, April 26, 2015 | 2:15 p.m.

"This lecture reflects upon personal, national, and collective African American experiences and illustrates how they have influenced American art."

Waltham, Massachusetts
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis Museum

Artist Lecture: Melvin Edwards
Friday, April 17, 2015 | 1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Melvin Edwards
"Pioneering African American artist Melvin Edwards will join Brandeis Professor Chad Williams (Chair of African and Afro-American Studies) and Christopher Bedford (Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum) for a conversation in front of sculptures from Edwards’s “Lynch Fragments” series, currently on display as part of the Rose Art Museum’s presentation of new acquisitions."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Artists Talk: "Uprooted: Artists Respond to San Francisco's Black Exodus"

3.9 Art Collective        San Francisco        Uprooted          

Pushed Out        Working Together       Nancy Cato 
Rhiannon MacFadyen        Rodney Ewing       Mark Harris

Fillmore District        Displaced        Colonization Ahead

Black Exodus        Diminishing Number of Black People        

Don't Gentrify Me!       Foreclosure        Doors Being Closed

Doors a Metaphor for Home          

Buses are Representation of Big Technology

History of Trying to Find Home         

Less African American Art Makers Exhibited


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thomas Watson Hunster (1851 - 1929), Sale 2378 Lot 4, Swann Galleries

There are a number of pieces of art that I have been drawn to in the upcoming auction, Ascension: A Century of African-American Art, at Swann Galleries on April 2, 2015. However, I am particularly interested in Thomas Watson Hunster because of his Washington, D.C. connection, and the fact that I had not ever seen any of his art. Very little archival information regarding Hunster or his art is available in print; therefore, I was not as familiar with him as I was with many of the other artists in the auction. Because of the lack of information that I have in my personal archive on Hunster, coupled with the fact that I was drawn to his landscape appearing in the upcoming African-American sale, Lot 4, at Swann Galleries, I decided to some research and learn more about this artist. 
Lot 4: Price Realized with Buyer's Premium: $6,500.

Thomas Watson Hunster, View of a Valley, Oil on linen canvas, circa 1900-10.
31" x 21½". Signed in oil, lower left.
Image: Swann Galleries 

My exploration led me to the Artist Files at the Smithsonian American Art/Portrait Gallery Library where I located a small archival folder for Thomas Watson Hunster. Of the 3 - 4 documents in that folder, the most promising was a small exhibition catalog from a memorial exhibition at Howard University (1951). The foreword to this catalog presented a 5-page biographical sketch written by Stanton Lawrence Wormley. Excerpts from that essay follow:   
  • For forty-eight years, until his retirement in 1922, Thomas W. Hunster served with distinction as Head of the Art Department of the Public Schools of Washington, D.C. [Hunster was over art in the black school system].
  • Art critics of the time were enthusiastic in their acclaim of the "historical accuracy of the buildings," the "exquisite models of the human figures and horses," the "faithful portrayal of artistic landscapes," and the "correctness of every detail."
  • Hunster exhibited rarely but always with success: Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition (1907), Paris International Exposition (1907), Exposition of the Society of Washington Artists (1926), Exhibition of the Independent Artists and Sculptors (1927), and Exhibition of the Washington Independent Artists (1928).
  • Thomas W. Hunster is fundamentally a landscape painter. The influences upon his work are many. Most evident are those of the Hudson River School, and especially the middle period of George Innes. It may be safely said that the work of Jerome Uhl, well-known artist at the turn of the century, had direct bearing on that of Hunster. (As an aside, Hunster was the model for Uhl's painting, The Viking, 1887.)  
  • Nature in all her seasons, in all her aspects, and in all her moods held a tremendous fascination for [Hunster], and the infinite love he bore her is apparent in his work to even a casual observer. 

Also, featured in the Howard University exhibition catalog, there was a landscape, Summer Daythat has a striking resemblance to Lot 4, appearing in the Swann auction. It is obvious that the two landscapes were painted from the same location because the left field of the canvases are fairly identical. However, the right half of the canvases present the landscape from a slightly different angle and perspective. 

I will continue this research on Thomas W. Hunster, and will share as significant information is uncovered.