Friday, December 16, 2016

HERITAGE: Native Washingtonian, featuring Gloria Kirk, Photographer and Mixed-Media Artist

"The American University and The Anacostia Community Museum partnered to create a joint community storytelling film initiative regarding neighborhood change and what it has meant for our lives, family or community. They chose a cross section of people born in DC to tell their stories. Gloria Kirk was chosen as a participant and her portion is entitled Heritage. The film was screened at American University on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. Shalom Rosenberg was the graduate student assigned to work with Gloria. Dr. Nina Shapiro-Perl, the Filmmaker in Residence at American University, was in charge of the project."  

heritage final from Shalom Rosenberg on Vimeo.

"DC photographer and mixed-media artist, Gloria Kirk, joins Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR) at the American Film Institute's Silverdocs Film Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland. She gives an exclusive look at some of her artwork as well as her family album, which became a big inspiration for her large body of work.

Both of her photographic and mixed-media works are influenced by life experiences and take on themes of spiritual and personal identity, as well as local and international significance."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Artist Talk: Dread Scott

Video          Painting          Performance          Installation          Photography

Sculptural Pieces          Activist          Dream          Police Murder

Lynching          Exchange of Ideas          Archive  

"Art that talk about the world we live in"         

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Artists Talk: REMIX: The Documentary

REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art          Will South       

Fahamu Pecou           Jonell Logan           Tarleton Blackwell        

Leo Twiggs            Michaela Pilar Brown           Juan Logan       

Damond Howard          Repurpose          Remixing vs. Appropriation   

Artistic License          Masking / Blackface          Dignity and Respect      

Signs, Symbols, Language           Targeted Man...a Part of Our Culture

Power and Vibrancy of African-American Art in American Culture                                                        
African-American Experience is the American Experience

Monday, September 12, 2016

SELECT ART TALKS: Fall/Winter 2016

Coral Gables, Florida
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami

  Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (Cuban, b. 1959)
Voyeurs and Beholders of..., 2008
Composition 1/15, Polaroid, 20" x 24" 
 Collection of the artist © Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
The Lowe Art Museum will host The Arnold and Augusta Newman Lecture Series in Photography. The Series invites distinguished photographers to the University of Miami to discuss their work. The upcoming guest speaker, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, will discuss her work on October 13, 2016. DETAILS 

Durham, North Carolina
Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University

Hank Willis Thomas, a prolific conceptual artist, will deliver the Annual Barbra and Andrew Rothschild Lecture on November 3, 2016. Thomas' talk is entitled, For Freedoms. DETAILS

Harlem, New York
Jordan Casteel Charles, 2016, Oil on canvas, 78" × 60", Courtesy the artist
Photo: Adam Reich
The Artist's Voice: Jordan Casteel
October 20, 2016 |7 - 9 p.m.

"On the occasion of Tenses: Artists in Residence 2015–16, join artist in residence Jordan Casteel; Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator at the Brooklyn Museum; and Dr. Monica Miller, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies at Barnard College, as they explore the complexly layered site specificity of Harlem."  DETAILS

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

Radcliffe Bailey, Until I Die/Georgia Trees and the Upper Room, 1997, color aquatint.
 Prof. Curlee Raven Holton, Executive Director, David C. Driskell Center will deliver a lecture in the main gallery of the Susquehanna Art Museum on November 5, 2016. Prof. Holton's lecture will focus on the current exhibition, African American Art Since 1950: Perspectives from the David C. Driskell Center which is on view October 7, 2016 through January 22, 2017. DETAILS

Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California,

"The USC Roski School of Art and Design presents the Roski Talks lecture series featuring weekly, in-depth presentations on contemporary art & art criticism by visiting artists, curators, theorists, art historians, writers, organizers, activists, and other cultural producers who engage in critical, open, and rigorous conversations with graduate students and members of the community." 

Julie Mehretu | Painter, New York, Berlin
In dialogue with Professor Steven Nelson, UCLA, a specialist on her work.
October 13, 2016, 7 - 9p.m. | Broad Museum | 221 S. Grand Avenue, 90012
Co-presented with the Broad Museum. DETAILS

Naima Keith | Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Programs, CA African American Musuem
Lecture: Museum Responses to Current Events
November 7, 6 - 8p.m. | Graduate Fine Arts Building (IFT)

Montclair, New Jersey

Janet Taylor Pickett, Observing Bounty and Promise, 2013, collage of various papers on canvas. Courtesy of Imlay Gallery and the artist. Photo by Christine Gatti. The work draws from Romare Bearden's Circe for its central figure.
30th Annual Julia Norton Babson Memorial Lecture
A Private Conversation Made Public
Thursday, October 13, 2016, 7 p.m.

Artist Janet Taylor Pickett, MAM’s chief curator Gail Stavitsky, and independent curator Kathy Imlay of Imlay Gallery will discuss Janet’s unique fusion of imagery, process, and inspiration in her current MAM exhibition, Janet Taylor Pickett: The Matisse Series. This exhibition "explores the dialogue between Taylor Pickett’s artwork and that of renowned French artist Henri Matisse. Held in the Museum’s Roberts and Rotunda galleries, the exhibition features 76 collages, as well as 4 hand-made books." The exhibition ends June 18, 2017.

New Haven, Connecticut
Yale University Art Gallery

Gallery Talk: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins on Titus Kaphar

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, winner of the 2016 Donald Windham–Sandy Campbell Literature Prize for drama, examines the work of New Haven–based artist Titus Kaphar, M.F.A. 2006. Jacobs-Jenkins discusses what he sees in the work and outlines the ways that Kaphar’s concerns dovetail with those he addresses in his plays.The gallery talk will be held on September 21, 2016, 12:30 pm.

Newark, New Jersey

Symposium: Modern Heroics: Revisiting African-American Art at the Newark Museum

The one-day symposium is being held in conjunction with the exhibition currently on view, Modern Heroics: 75 Years of African-American Expressionism which is drawn largely from Newark’s permanent collections of African-American art and folk/self-taught collections. The symposium is held on October 15, 2016. DETAILS.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Easter, 1951. (John W. Mosley Photograph Collection, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries)

Lecture: Diane D. Turner, Black Philadelphia and the Spirit of Unity: Art and Culture

Diane D. Turner, PhD, curator, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University will speak on October 15, 2016. Her focus will be on Black Philadelphia and the Spirit of Unity: Art and Culture. Turner will illustrate how Mosley’s images chronicled a spirit of known and little-known individuals and art and cultural organizations and institutions. This lecture is an accompanying program for the exhibition, A Million Faces: The Photography of John W. Mosley, on view September 24, 2016 through January 16, 2017. SERIES of SUPPORTING TALKS

Washington, D.C.

Alison Saar, Tango, 2005; Woodcut on paper, 25¾" x 38¾", Courtesy of the artist and L.A. Louver; © Alison Saar
Gallery Talk: Alison Saar in Print

NMWA Curatorial Assistant Stephanie Midon discusses several works in the special exhibition Alison Saar In Print on September 28, 2016. DETAILS

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Artists Talk: Colored Frames (Documentary)

Benny Andrews           Gustave Blache III            Nanette Carter           

Ed Clark         Adger Cowans           Francks Deceus           

Gordon James           Wangechi Mutu           Howardena Pindell           

Dianne Smith          Ann Tanksley          TAFA  

Gustave Blache III          Duane Smith          Danny Simmons

John Ashford          Gordon James          Larry Hampton          

Michael Singletary          Marva Huston          Others         

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Building a Contemporary Art Collection: African American Art

Collecting art can be a most pleasurable pastime. It can be one of the most rewarding, relaxing, and engaging experiences that one can undertake, either as a leisure time pursuit or in a more committed, serious way. The rewards gained from collecting can lead to an increase in the number of social acquaintances and friends of a similar mindset; development of a skill set that broadens and enhances one’s appreciation of the fine arts; offer an opportunity to visit local, national, and international art galleries and museums, art festivals, and art fairs; and provide a form of entertainment.

Don Griffin, Round Midnight, 2015, mixed media collage on paper, 22"x 30". (Baltimore based artist)
Collecting art goes beyond the exercise of buying art and amassing pieces. Let it be particularly understood that my concept of collecting art is not to merely accumulate artworks as a commodity for investment purposes. I am not promoting the now popular trend of collecting art for investment gains. Art has such intrinsic value, and maybe over time, its monetary value may increase, but that is not the driving force to why I encourage collecting art. Nor, am I thinking of art as a purely decorative piece for one’s living or work environment. Art is timeless and can be with you over a lifetime, even as your color scheme and the decorative items in your home change. Art can be beautiful, thought-provoking, and generate conversation with guests. In setting the groundwork for this blog post, I would like to look at collecting in a more committed way, focusing on it as a purposeful, directed commitment to building an art collection. With that in mind and as my guiding principle, building an art collection is a slow process, as the collector defines the scope of his/her collection via some collection development plan, somewhat like curating his/her own personal collection.

I have been approached on numerous occasions, either through personal conversations, emails, or on social media, with questions about collecting art. Because of those questions, I am now taking the time to express some of my thoughts on collecting African American art. Because these thoughts are being expressed in a blog post, they are somewhat skeletal in scope; however, they provide an outline that can be expanded in the future, perhaps into a longer article or series of articles. These personal tips, to varying degrees, should prove useful to the beginning, as well as the seasoned collector.

Create a Budget
Contrary to popular belief, buying art is not a luxury relegated to the super-rich. It is doable at many price points. To avoid frustration and anxiety, create a budget for buying art, and you will certainly find pieces to fit within that budget. I cannot overemphasize the importance of creating a budget. You do not want to become frustrated from what should be a pleasurable pursuit. How much can you comfortably spend on art collecting a year? As a strategy, create a fund for collecting, and set aside an amount each month that might get you to your yearly goal. A good start is to set up a budget before you buy your first piece. You may even want to consider limiting the number of art pieces that you purchase a year until you become comfortable and knowledgeable about the art market. Yes, as a collector, you are a part of the art market, which is a part of the larger art world, inhabited by those who buy and sell, including dealers, collectors, and auction houses.

If you are starting on a limited budget, printmaking and photography are a wonderful way to collect original art because they are available in multiples and are often less expensive. Regardless of the media, when buying art, you are safe as long as you choose artworks that reflect your personal taste and that you love. When selecting and purchasing something that you love, the beauty rarely if ever fades, and you get to engage with and enjoy the work on a daily basis. I like to look at collecting art as a pleasurable pursuit, done with balance and moderation. Following this guideline, it remains a relaxing, enjoyable, and educationally enriching pastime.

Get to Know Your Local Artists 
Find an artist whose work attracts and grabs your attention in some way, then get to know this artist and his work. Engage the artist to understand what
he/she is doing, how he/she does it, and why. As you look for possible artists to collect,
Billy Colbert, Washington, D.C. based artist
be creative
in where you look for their  works, consider such places as art schools, college and university galleries, local galleries, alternative spaces such as public libraries, restaurants, coffee houses, and the like. Seek out local artists talks, attend art openings to talk with the artists, and visit artists’ studios. There is usually an arts section in the local and community newspapers; become familiar with the papers and reading the arts section. Seek the name of local artists through these communication sources. If there is an African American newspaper in you city or region, learn where you may be able to buy or read copies of these papers. If you do not have access to a paper copy of the newspaper, often it may be accessed online. The local or regional African American newspaper will often have reviews and schedules of current art exhibitions on view in the locale it covers. Discovering new artists and getting to know the depth and breadth of their work becomes a fascinating and rewarding experience as you mold the scope of your collection.

Find Out What You Like

Finding out what you like may take time, but be patient in the process. What catches your eye? What moves you? Are there pieces or mediums that attract you? You want to view as much as you can to find out what you like. Before
Claudia Gibson-Hunter, Washington, D.C. based artist in her studio
making even the first purchase, visit a number of galleries; look at the modern and contemporary art exhibitions at local museums; visit galleries and museums when traveling to other cities. One of your richest resources to draw on in the future will be the experience gained from learning about and seeing the work of as many local and contemporary artists first hand.
When visiting an artist’s studio, ask the artist if you can take pictures of the works that you like so you might view them at your convenience. Look at these images and study why you like them. Get to know your local galleries; visit their websites or social media pages to read about the artists they represent; get on their mailing list to be invited to art exhibition openings, artists talks, and other gallery programs. Visit and join your local art museum(s), and if there are local nonprofit art centers, get to know them as well. As you explore and discover the riches in museums, also look into becoming familiar with the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) and identify those member institutions that are focused on the visual arts. All of these previously mentioned venues usually present programs by curators or experienced art collectors on some aspect of collecting. They also afford you an opportunity to engage with other collectors.

As a collector, if your interest expands beyond local artists, the Internet affords you an opportunity to expand and broaden your scope of collecting by visiting galleries across the country. Be patient; keep looking, then look some more, and notice how you react to the work by a specific artist or even a specific piece. Eventually, you will trust your judgment and instinct. 
Claudia Gibson-Hunter, France Admonished, 2014, mixed collage, 30¾" x 29¼" 

Educate Yourself by Accessing Information about Art and Artists 
Read contemporary art books and exhibition catalogues that feature the work of African American artists. Your local book store(s), public library, the local college/university library, or a museum library will have or will be able to get books on African American art/artists for you to read. You may want to seek out and look at books and magazines at these institutions before making a purchase. As time passes, you will find yourself wanting to begin to invest in a small selection of books and magazines that support your area of collecting.

To identify African American artists, seek information from a number of online sources such as: 

These sources are an asset for identifying artists, as well as offering links to the latest articles and books relating to African American artists. Journal and magazine articles provide a wealth of information on art. In addition to the well-known, popular titles, such as ARTnews, Artforum, Art in America, Art Papers, especially become familiar with magazines with a focus on Black artists:   

  • Callaloo: Art and Culture in the African Diaspora (Callaloo Art)

  • Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Ar

  • There are a number of African American culturally centered magazines that may feature the work of an artist in select issues. Become familiar with these titles. 

The following are a few books that you might consider reading:  

  • The Art of Buying Art by Alan Bamberger 

  • The Art of Buying Art: An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Contemporary Art by Paige West 

  • The Value of Art by Michael Findlay 

  • Collecting African American Art: Works on Paper and Canvas by Halima Taha  

As you become familiar with the literature, you will want to venture into reading art reviews and press releases.

Auction houses are another excellent source for identifying artists, as well as making purchases. Become familiar with the local auction house(s) in your community or region to see if they are having any auctions that may include the works of Black artists. In addition, get on the mailing list or follow Swann
John Kennebrew, Atlanta collector, viewing art at Swann Galleries
(New York). They have an average of two major
African-American Fine Art auctions a year for which they publish catalogues as well as provide online access to the auctions. Another rich source is Invaluable, an online bidding platform that includes fine art auctions, which is the leading provider of data services to auction houses in the US and across Europe. In addition to this service, they have a partnership with premier galleries and dealers, whereby, they process and offer fixed price items. Auction houses, galleries and dealers use Invaluable to deepen relationships with millions of clients around the world, connecting people with the things they love. When visiting these auction sources online, they provide you the capability to execute a keyword search by using African American artists or African American art as a search term.

  Connect with Other Collectors 
I encourage the idea of social networking with other collectors either on a casual basis or more formalized as an organized group. Regardless of the arrangement, the benefits are endless when creating a social camaraderie with another collector or other collectors. Sharing your thoughts and your collection with others, and hearing what other collectors are doing can only strengthen and enhance your experience as a collector. Many friends groups at museums have a specialized group focused on African American art. Seek out examples of such active groups across the country. The Black Art Project has devoted a couple of posts entirely focused on such groups; you may want to look at those groups as a starting point. SEE: Friends Groups; Friends Groups addendum

If not a group, you may simply want to interact with just a small number of individuals on a more personal level. As you visit art programs related to exhibitions, and those specifically geared towards the collector at museums and galleries, you will get to meet individuals with a common interest or who may be interested in works by similar artists.  

Terry Dixon, Will I See You Again, 2010, mixed media, 36"x 48". (Chicago based artist)

 Seek Advice
Buying art is not the first step in the process of collecting. Be informed because you want to feel comfortable as you venture into the art world. When you feel comfortable, then dive into making that first purchase. Periodically reassess your taste and don’t be afraid to experiment. The Internet can be your friend through your growth process; feel comfortable using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media platforms. Continually train the eye. 

Even after making the first purchase or those first few purchases, you will want to seek advice on the following: housing the art (frame, mat, glass, etc.), insurance, estate plans, documentation, etc. This section of the process of collecting, "seeking advice", should be seriously considered after the art has been purchased, and probably warrants a blog post dedicated to what needs to be done after securing your first few pieces of art.    

Enjoy the journey of collecting art by African American artists.