As stated in part one of this series, "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 supplement this post, the reader is encouraged to view a more expansive offering of exhibitions highlighting the work of African American artists at 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.
Nari Ward was introduced to the Boston art scene in the 1998 exhibition, The Quiet in the Land, and again in 2000 as a part of a public project, Art of the Emerald Necklace, "an outdoor exhibition sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art and by Vita Brevis, the institute's separate program of temporary public art, [was] on view... through August 20. It [featured] temporary works by nine artists and landscape architects placed in and around the last system of urban parks [Frederick Law] Olmsted designed....
The artworks either celebrate or beg comparison with Olmsted's complex and subtle 19th-century vision; in a few cases they direct a contemporary spotlight on his left-to-crumble ideas." (Remembering Olmsted's Vision for Boston by Ann Wilson Lloyd, August 6, 2000, New York Times).
Sun Splashed speaks to the issues around politics, spirituality, identity, and migration. The artworks which are made from soda pop bottles, shoelaces, shopping carts and other found materials that speak to the artist's distinctive experimentation of creating works in sculpture, collage, video, installation, and photographs. This exhibition, consisting of approximately 43 works, draws on diverse art histories and visual traditions, ranging from folk practices and ritual object-making to avant-garde and conceptual legacies of the twentieth century. Ward imbues his work with layered meanings connected to cultural expression, history, and the Black experience, paying particular attention to his native Jamaica and his adopted home of Harlem.
A catalogue accompanies this exhibition.
An Artist Talk: Explore this video and audio recording featuring Nari Ward.
Interactive tour led by one of the ICA’s expert guides.
Nari Ward Naturalization Drawing Table
"Participate in artist Nari Ward’s artwork Naturalization Drawing Table, in conjunction with his exhibition Nari Ward: Sun Splashed. Based on Ward’s personal experience of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, this interactive artwork gives museum visitors a better understanding of that process."
Saturday, July 1, 2017, 1:00–4:00 PM
The acquisition and display of works by Beauford Delaney have been part of a larger effort to bring long-overdue attention to the artist's legacy in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. That effort and dream have been realized as the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) presents Gathering Light: Works by Beauford Delaney from the KMA Collection, on view through July 23, 2017.
Gathering Light includes more than 30 of Delaney's paintings and drawings that were purchased from the artist's estate between 2014 and 2016 in what has amounted to one of the most significant art acquisition in the KMA's 27-year history. Nearly all of these works have never been on public view. Accompanying the works acquired by the KMA are also a small collection of paintings from the artist's estate that the museum hopes to raise funds to purchase.
KMA Executive Director David Butler states "We are thrilled to shine light on one of the world's greatest artists and local hero, Beauford Delaney. His legacy has been recognized internationally, but he less well-known here at home. We hope this exhibition helps to change that."
Beauford Delaney, Untitled (New York City) circa 1945. Watercolor on paper, 15 ½” x 22 ½”,
Knoxville Museum of Art, purchase with funds provided by the KMA Collectors Circle.
Beauford Delaney was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1901 and died in Paris, France in 1979. "Delaney is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness, he achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and vibrant surfaces. The KMA's growing collection promises to serve as a vital resource for the preservation and celebration of this East Tennessee master's work."(PR)
|Betye Saar, Liberation, 2011, Mixed media on vintage washboard. |
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts and Tilton, Los Angeles, CA. Collection of Sheila Silber.
"Saar commonly utilizes racialized, derogatory images of Black Americans in her art as political and social devices. The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972) is Saar’s most well-known art work, which transformed the stereotypical, nurturing mammy into a militant warrior with a gun. Aunt Jemima continues to be a reference point for Saar even now, as she brings her back to life to take on the ongoing racial injustices faced by Black America, including disproportionate police violence and poverty. Combining images of mammies and laundresses with potent words from spirituals and poetry within the washboard structure, Saar emboldens and ennobles the once subservient figure - no longer in service of white supremacy." (PR) Listen as Saar discusses The Liberation of Aunt Jemima in the following video.
Keepin' It Clean which presents twenty-four new and historical works that center on the washboard as a symbol of the unresolved legacy of slavery and the subsequent oppressive systems facing Black Americans today was curated in close collaboration with the artist. Saar's renewed focus on making washboard assemblages stands as an urgent act of cleansing the race-and-gendered-based violence that American society continues to inflict. In Saar's own words, "the increase of police shootings and the Black Lives Matter protests are examples that America has not yet cleaned up her act."
According to Holly Jerger, curator of Keepin' It Clean, "Betye Saar's washboard assemblages are brilliant in how they address the ongoing, multi-dimensional issues surrounding race, gender, and class in America. She compresses these enormous, complex concerns into intimate works that speak on both a personal and political level. With the increasing erosion of civil rights in our country, it is more important than ever to exhibit Saar's work, and we are deeply honored to have the opportunity."
Keepin' It Clean: A Conversation with Betye Saar and Steven Nelson
Space is limited, RSVP required: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Paul Thomas's goal for Loved Ones can be readily understood as it is explained in his artist statement: "Many people have an immediate psychological connection and/or identification to faces. As people are drawn to look closer at the portraits, questions about the subject's state of mind arise. Are they sad, reflective, angry? If the expression is ambiguous enough, we might begin to project our own emotions onto them to interpret the
|William Paul Thomas, Evie's Last, oil on canvas,|
|work by Saba Taj|
When asked what it's like to produce art during a time of Islamophobia in America, Taj notes that her "entire life as an American has been a time of Islamophobia, and it is something that she directly confronts in her work. Early on she felt a responsibility to use her art to explore Islamophobia, but more recently has found that simply by being a socially engaged Muslim and gay woman of color in America, themes of systemic marginalization emerge in her work because that is embedded in how she grapples with her own identity."(PR)
Saba Taj thinks of art as a way to control the narrative and representation of Muslim Americans, and also as an act of resistance in a world that threatens to diminish people because of who they love and what they believe."
|work by Saba Taj|