Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for June - August 2017 | Part 1

Select African American Art Exhibitions: Highlights for June - August 2017 focuses on exhibitions that are on view or will open in the coming month. To that end, the Black Art Project has decided to release the post as a two part series, the first focusing on group exhibitions and the second focusing on individual artist exhibitions. The exhibitions, in this two part series, are presented by the following institutions: Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Brooklyn Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Craft and Folk Art Museum Los Angeles, Kemper Museum of of Contemporary Art, Knoxville Museum of Art, Speed Art Museum, and Sumter County Gallery of Art.

This is a very select list of exhibitions and although the exhibitions represented  do paint the depth and breadth of art being produced by African American artists, it is not at all comprehensive when it comes to the number of exhibitions that are currently on view or forthcoming. The aim has been to select exhibitions that show works reflecting inter-generational production by male and female artists from across the country which are on view in various types of venues. To view a more expansive offering of exhibitions highlighting the work of African American artists, please visit the BAP Blog page entitled: Select Art Exhibitions in 2017. That 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 ongoing exhibitions on view for the current year. 

Brooklyn, New York

Faith Ringgold (American, born 1930). For the Women's House, 1971. Oil on canvas, 96” x 96” Courtesy of Rose M. Singer Center, Rikers Island Correctional Center. ©2017 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brookly Museum continues its celebration with a groundbreaking exhibition, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85, featuring more than forty artists. We Wanted a Revolution, which will be on view through September 17, 2017, highlights a remarkable group of artists who committed themselves to activism during a period of profound social change marked by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the Women's Movement, the Anti-War Movement and the Gay Liberation Movement, among others. This groundbreaking exhibition will reorient conversations and recreate new dialogues  around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history as it writes a broader more inclusive story of the multiple feminisms that shaped this period.

Emma Amos (American, born 1938). Preparing for a Face Lift, 1981.
etching and crayon, 8 ¼” × 7 ¾. Courtesy of Emma Amos.
© Emma Amos; courtesy of the artist and Ryan Lee,
New York. Licensed by VAGA, New York

We Wanted a Revolution features a broad sample of works in various media that are as diverse as the artists featured in the exhibition, "including conceptual, performance, film, and video art, as well as photography, painting, sculpture, and printmaking that reflects the aesthetics, politics, cultural priorities, and social imperatives of this period."(PR) The exhibition includes the following: Emma Amos, Camille Billops, Kay Brown, Vivian E. Browne, Linda Goode Bryant, Beverly Buchanan, Carole Byard, Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ayoka Chenzira, Christine Choy and Susan Robeson, Blondell Cummings, Julie Dash, Pat Davis, Jeff Donaldson, Maren Hassinger, Janet Henry, Virginia Jaramillo, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Lisa Jones, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Dindga McCannon, Barbara McCullough, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Alva Rogers, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.

We Wanted a Revolution is built around a key group of movements,

Jan van Raay (American, born 1942). Faith Ringgold (right)
and Michele Wallace (middle) at Art Workers Coalition
Protest, Whitney Museum, 1971. Digital C-print. Courtesy of
Jan van Raay, Portland, OR, 305-37. © Jan van Raay

collectives, and communities that included: Spiral Group and the Black Arts Movement, Where We at Black Women Artists Collective, Art Workers' Coalition (AWC), Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), Women, Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation (WSABAL), Just Above Midtown Gallery, and others. According to Rujeko Hockley, co-curator of the exhibition, "Working within
tightly knit and often overlapping personal, political, and collaborative creative communities, the artists in this exhibition were committed to self-determination, free expression, and radical liberation. Their lives and careers advance a multidimensional understanding of the histories of art and social change in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century." Catherine Morris, co-curator, added "This exhibition injects a new conversation into mainstream art histories of feminist art in a way that expands, enriches, and complicates the canon by presenting some of the most creative artists of this period within a political, cultural, and social conversation about art-making, race, class, and gender. The resulting work, sometimes collaborative and other times contentious, continues to resonate today."

A catalogue/sourcebook which "will ignite further scholarship while showing the true breadth and diversity of black women’s engagement with art, the art world, and politics from the 1960s to the 1980s" accompanies this exhibition.  

Program Highlights:
Artist's Eye:
"This series of intimate, in-gallery talks focuses on artists’ practices and their works’ relationship to larger art-historical and political themes. Each talk features either an exhibition artist or an artist of a younger generation."

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 2:00 PM

Saturday, July 8, 2017, 2:00 PM

Saturday, August 12, 2017, 2:00 PM

Saturday, September 9, 2017, 2:00 PM

Detroit, Michigan

Wadsworth Jarrell, Three Queens, 1971, 
acrylic on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presents Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement, July 23 through October 22, 2017. The exhibition is part of a city-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion. 

Allie McGhee, Black Attack, 1968,
oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Art of Rebellion is co-organized by the DIA and Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which is hosting a complementary exhibition, Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion. Both Art of Rebellion and Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion are part of a community-wide reflection on the Detroit rebellion of 1967. This community-wide initiative involves about 100 local institutions led by the Detroit Historical Museum. Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA Director states, "The commemoration of the 1967 Detroit rebellion provides an opportunity to call attention to the talented and often overlooked artists who were reacting to the struggle for social, political and racial justice during the 1960s and 70s." Further, "The DIA's collaboration with the Wright Museum lays a foundation from which we are building a strategic and lasting working relationship that will help bring our community closer together."

Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement features 34

Hale Woodruff, Ancestral Memory, 1966,
oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.
Featured in Black Arts Movement section.
paintings, sculptures and photographs mostly by African American artists working both collectively and independently in the 1960s and 70s. Most of the exhibition focuses on works created by five artist collectives: Spiral Group, Kamoinge  Workshop, Weusi, Black Arts Movement (BAM), and AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). In addition to work produced by artists associated with an artist collective, the exhibition highlights the works by artists who were not part of a collective and artists working in later decades who were inspired by art from the Civil Rights Movement. Many African American artists working in the 1980s to the present were inspired by artists in the collectives.

The following is a brief overview of the five collectives featured in the exhibition, Art of Rebellion:

Spiral Group: This New York based collective was active from 1963 to 1965/66. It was founded by Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, and others with a mission to explore the relationship of art and activism, and to advance the Civil Rights Movement's platform of social change. There was a focus on the commitment of black artists in the struggle for civil liberties. SEE: Culture Type and ARTnews 

Kamoinge Workshop: Formed in 1963 "for the purpose of providing crucial support and solidarity for those [black] artist vying towards artistic equality within the industry of photography." (Kamoinge website) 

Weusi: Ademola Olugebefola and Otto Neals were original founders of the WEUSI Artist Collective in 1965. This ongoing collective is dedicated to eradicating negative misrepresentations of black culture in the media and to teaching African Americans about their heritage. (PR)

Black Arts Movement: Active in New York 1965-76 and founded by poet and playwright Amiri Baraka. This politically motivated group of black poets, artists, dramatists, musicians, and writers emerged in the wake of the Black Power Movement.    

AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists): Established in Chicago in 1968 by Jeffrey Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogue, and Gerald Williams. These artist created powerful art that was understandable, relevant, and accessible. They regarded art making as a revolutionary act and developed Afrocentric aesthetic principles and concepts that reflected the style, colors, cool attitude, and rhythm associated with African American culture. (PR)

A scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Program Highlight:
July 29, 2017, 1:00 PM
Detroit Film Theatre: Detroit Home Movies
"This is a year-long project to uncover and exhibit home movies made around 1967 that depict everyday life in Detroit's diverse communities. The project is dedicated to observing and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Detroit's 1967 rebellion and is a partnership of the DIA, Detroit Free Press, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Detroit Historical Society, and Bridge magazine."(PR)

Further Readings:
Detroit: Race Riots, Racial Conflicts, and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide by Joe T. Darden and Richard Walter Thomas (Michigan State University Press, 2013).

The Fifty-Year Rebellion: How the U.S. Political Crisis Began in Detroit by Scott Kurashige (University of California Press, July 2017).

Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City by Heather Ann Thompson (Cornell University Press, 2017). 

Kansas City, Missouri

Chakaia Booker, El Gato, 2001,
rubber, tire and wood, 48”x 42”x 42”.
Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art’
Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Museum purchase,
Enid and Crosby Kemper and William T. Kemper Acquisition Fund,
2004.12. ©Chakaia Booker. Photo: Dan Wayne

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, which will be on view June 8 through September 17, 2017. After its closing at the Kemper, it will travel to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Magnetic Fields "marks the first U.S. presentation dedicated exclusively to the formal and historical dialogue of abstraction by women artists of color."

Magnetic Fields focuses a long-overdue lens on the contributions of women

Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991,
oil on canvas, triptych, 70½” x 150”.
Courtesy of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia
artists of color within the lineage
of non-representational art making. The exhibition aims to spark a broader and more inclusive presentation of American abstraction going forward. Although Magnetic Fields focuses on works by female artists to the exclusion of male artists, it fulfills its mission beautifully as it presents the works of an inter-generational group of artists, amplifying the formal and conceptual connections among these twenty-one artists born between 1891 and 1981. Many of these artists are presented in conversation for the first time. Their work is presented in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and drawing. With these artists and their works, the viewer will experience a diverse range of unique visual vocabularies within non-representational expression. By highlighting the artists' individual approaches to form, color, composition, material exploration and conceptual impetus within hard-edge and gestural abstraction, Majestic Fields provides an expanded history of abstraction.

Alma Thomas, Orion, 1973, acrylic on canvas,

59¾”x 54”x 1¼”. Courtesy of the National Museum of Women in the Arts,

Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmia Holladay. ©Alma Woodsy Thomas.

Photo: Lee Stalsworth

The following artists are included in Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today: Candida Alvarez, Betty Blayton, Chakaia Booker, Lilian Thomas Burwell, Nanette Carter, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Deborah Dancy, Abigail DeVille, Maren Hassinger, Jennie C. Jones,  Evangeline “EJ” Montgomery, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Howardena Pindell, Mavis Pusey, Shinique Smith, Gilda Snowden, Sylvia Snowden, Kianja Strobert, Alma Thomas, Mildred Thompson, and Brenna Youngblood.

Co-curators Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina stated, “As curators, we are honored to present this incredible, intergenerational group of artists.” They added, “This exhibition is intended to be a platform to further their visibility, as well as to generate more inclusive conversations about the history of American abstraction that consider the accomplishments and contributions of women artists of color going forward.”

A catalogue will accompany Magnetic Fields.

Program Highlights: 
For a full program schedule SEE: Adult Programs

Reflections: The artists of Magnetic Fields presented by Erin Dziedzic. 

Session II: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 5:00-6:30 PM
Session III: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 5:00-6:30 PM
Session IV: Thursday, September 7, 2017, 5:00-6:00 PM
Members Only | RSVP to Teresa Woods: twoods@kemperart.org

Thursday, June 8, 2017, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
Exhibition Opening and Artist/Curator Panel Discussion, Magnetic Fields 
"A conversation on topics of American abstraction (history, themes, and influence) kicks off the opening of the groundbreaking group exhibition Magnetic Fields, featuring artists Candida Alvarez, Lilian Thomas Burwell, and Shinique Smith, moderated by co-curators of the exhibition Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina."  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Magnetic Fields Catalogue Launch and Conversation with Valerie Cassel Oliver and Jennie Jones, moderated by co-curator Erin Dziedzic.

Louisville, Kentucky
Speed Art Museum 

Amy Sherald, High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain't No Cotton Pickin' Negroes, 2011
, oil on canvas.*

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art will be on view through October 14, 2017 at the Speed Art Museum. This exhibition, which was co-organized with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and the Speed Art Museum, is the Speed's largest and most ambitious contemporary art exhibition to date. 

According to Miranda Lash, co-curator of Southern Accent and curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Museum of Art, Southern Accent "showcases a plurality of voices and perspectives, male and female, native and newcomer, outsider and insider, to demonstrate that the South is an evolving concept." The exhibition creates a portrait of southern identity through the works of 60 artists that reflects work dating back to the 1950s, but primarily focusing on art produced within the past 30 years. Lash states "Through the eyes of artists, we see the South as it has been envisioned and experienced, from its dark legacies of slavery and segregation, to its future as a region of rapidly changing demographics and growing urban centers. While the exhibition focuses on the myths, realities, and stereotypes associated with one part of the country, how we imagine the South speaks to how we think about the United States overall." 

The following artists are featured in Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art: Terry Adkins, Walter Inglis Anderson, Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Sanford Biggers, Willie Birch, Rachel
Barkley L. Hendricks, Down Home Taste, 1971. *
Boillot, Douglas Bourgeois, Roger Brown, Beverly Buchanan, Diego Camposeco, Mel Chin, William Christenberry, Sonya Clark, Robert Colescott, William Cordova, Jerstin Crosby and Bill Thelen, Thornton Dial, Sam Durant, William Eggleston, Minnie Jones Evans, Ralph Fasanella, Skylar Fein, Howard Finster, Michael Galinsky, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Deborah Grant, Barkley L. Hendricks, James Herbert and R.E.M., Birney Imes, Jessica Ingram, George Jenne, Deborah Luster, Sally Mann, Kerry James Marshall, Henry Harrison Mayes, Richard Misrach, Jing Niu, Tameka Norris, Catherine Opie, Gordon Parks, Ebony G. Patterson, Fahamu Pecou, Tom Rankin, Dario Robleto, Jim Roche, James "JP" Scott, Amy Sherald, Xaviera Simmons, Mark Steinmetz, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Hank Willis Thomas, Burk Uzzle, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jeff Whetstone.

Southern Accent is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that offers a robust expansion of the investigations raised by works in the exhibition, with text ranging from groundbreaking scholarship to poetry, song lyrics and personal reflections. The catalogue is available for purchase at the Museum Store.

Program Highlights:
For a full program schedule SEE: Southern Accent Programming

Gallery Talk Series: This monthly gallery talk series uses a different topic as a lens through which to explore one artwork.

Saturday, June 17, 2017, 11:30 AM
Art + Poetry (Join Dr. Kristi Maxwell, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Louisville, to consider how the power of language can also convey a sense of the south in the Southern Accent exhibition.)

Saturday, July 29, 2017, 11:30 AM
Art + Resistance (Join Speed Contemporary Curator Miranda Lash to explore the theme of resistance in the Southern Accent exhibition.)

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 11:30 AM
Art + Photography (Join Lucy Kacir, Community Outreach and Studio Programs Coordinator, to learn about the photographic processes used by artists in the Southern Accent exhibition.)

Artist Performance: 
Sonya Clark: Unraveling  
Southern Accent artist Sonya Clark will perform her powerful piece Unraveling.
For this artwork, Clark carefully unravels a confederate flag thread by thread and invites members of the public to join her in this process.

Sunday, October 14, 2017, 2:00-4:00 PM

*Image credits: 
Amy Sherald, High Yella Masterpiece: We Ain't No Cotton Pickin' Negroes, 2011, oil on canvas. Collection of Keith Timmons, ESQ, CPA. Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. ©Amy Sherald

Barkley L. Hendricks, Down Home Taste, 1971, oil and acrylic on linen, 48"x 48". Courtesy of the Office of the Dean of Students, Cornell University. Gift of Michael Straight to the Willard Straight Hall Collection.

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