Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Skirball Cultural Center | Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement | 1956–1968

LOS ANGELES - The largest exhibition in more than twenty years devoted to photography of the Civil Rights Movement opened at the Skirball Cultural Center on November 19, 2009, in its West Coast premiere. Organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968 features images that helped change the nation: they shed light on injustices prevalent in America at the time, promoted solidarity among citizens, and dramatically increased the momentum of the struggle for equal rights. Road to Freedom will remain on view at the Skirball through March 7, 2010.

The exhibition displays approximately 170 photographs by more than thirty-five photographers drawn primarily from the High’s permanent collection, which includes one of the most comprehensive holdings of civil rights–era photography in the country; many have never before been displayed to the public. Exclusively for this Southern California presentation of Road to Freedom, the Skirball has developed a new section focusing on Los Angeles civil rights history, with new loans from the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive in the Department of Special Collections at the Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. Among the local events portrayed are the picketing of Kress Store in Pasadena in 1960, the march on Pershing Square on March 14, 1965, and the Watts Riots of 1965.

To continue reading the article, click HERE.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Howard Greenberg Gallery | Bruce Davidson | 1970s photography

NEW YORK, NY.- Howard Greenberg Gallery and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery are presenting simultaneous exhibitions of the photographs of Bruce Davidson. The exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery, entitled East 100th Street, The MoMA Show as Curated by John Szarkowski in 1970, is a re-creation of The Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking 1970 exhibition of forty-two photographs by the highly regarded Bruce Davidson. The photographs in the exhibition are the actual prints, presented in the exact manner in which they were shown at MoMA in 1970. On view through 2 January, 2010.

Davidson’s East 100th Street constitutes a significant social document. During 1967 and 1968, Davidson photographed on a New York block that in the 1950’s had the reputation of being one of the worst in the city. He was first attracted to the area because of the work of the Metro North Association, a committee of residents that were actively involved in trying to improve their neighborhood. Through this association and with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Davidson gained access to the people on the block. About this work Szarkowski wrote, “He has shown us true and specific people, photographed in these private moments of suspended action in which the complexity and ambiguity of individual lives triumph over abstraction.” In appreciation for their cooperation, Davidson gave prints of his photographs to hundreds of residents of the block. Many of these people attended the opening of the exhibition at the museum.

The exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery celebrates the fifty-year career of Bruce Davidson, with representative works from many of the artist’s well-known essays. Photographs from Time of Change (1961), Brooklyn Gang (1959), Circus (1958), Subway(1980) as well as recent images will be exhibited. For this exhibition, Davidson has produced large format prints, many for the first time. The scale and position of the new Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery provides an opportunity to re-contextualize Davidson’s work. Of his show Wolkowitz said, “Bruce Davidson has had a profound influence on contemporary photography over the last five decades. We are excited to have the opportunity to showcase this legendary photographer’s work in the heart of Chelsea’s contemporary art district and to introduce it to a much wider audience.”

Both galleries are also celebrating the Steidl publication of the three volume opus entitled Outside/Inside containing over 800 photographs that span Davidson’s entire career.

Also on exhibit at the Howard Greenberg Gallery are the recently published limited edition portfolio entitled Bruce Davidson: Central Park in Platinum. The fourteen images in the portfolio were made during many of Davidson’s explorations of the park that began in 1991 and continue to this day.

Bruce Davidson was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1933. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. When he completed military service in 1957 he worked as a photographer for Life Magazine and in 1958, became a member of Magnum Agency. He has had one-man exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, The Walker Art Center, The International Center of Photography, The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, The Aperture Foundation, and The Foundation Cartier-Bresson in Paris He has received numerous grants and awards including two grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and the Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications and his prints have been acquired by many major museums worldwide. He has also directed three films.

Davidson continues to lecture, conduct workshops and produce astounding images.

Source: AKN

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

JOSE CENDON | Valencian Institute of Modern Art | Photography

VALENCIA, SPAIN - José Cendón's photographic exhibition "Fear in the Great Lakes" emerges from the collaboration between the Fundación por la Justicia and the IVAM. It gathers photographs that show the work of this Galician photographer in psychiatric hospitals in the African Great Lakes region. José Cendón tries to show to society the consequences of war in civil population by means of these photographies. He obtained the World Press Photo 2007 Award (category of Contemporary Issues) and the Pictures of the Year Awards. The exhibition will remain opened until the 3 January, 2010 at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art.

"Fear in the Great Lakes" portrays the difficult helping circumstances in developing countries, discussing the mental illness as the theme. These snapshots depict stories of solitude and suffering, and catch our attention towards the lives lived by those patients somewhere around the world.

Photojournalism but also 'photo protest' which would never run the risk of becoming sensationalist images, but being in clearly support of the portrayed patient driving the attention of the international community to these practices.

The Great Lakes region has been deeply marked by a history of ethnic conflicts due to a large extent to the colonial heritage and the natural wealth a country situated in the heart of Africa possesses: Democratic Republic of the Congo. Western companies mostly and countries like the Rwanda of Paul Kagame stock up illegally of any kind of minerals such as gold, diamonds, cassiterite, coltan (essential for the manufacture of computers and cell phones), etc. in the former Zaire without leaving any profit to their inhabitants. On the contrary, this unmerciful practice has rekindled a conflict whose effects are 38,000 deaths a month transforming the former domain of Mobutu Sese Seko in the country with the largest number of deaths because of war.

Despite the bleak numbers the Great Lakes region shows, there are no statistics about the number of people who could be mentally affected as a consequence of those conflicts. Only a Belgian catholic congregation, "Brothers of Charity", regularly treats mental patients in Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their hospitals receive former soldiers and rebels, also men, women and children victims of the war. 'That's why I chose these institutions for the photographic work, as a metaphor of the collective insanity that has devastated this region during the last decades, also reflected in the patients' eyes. I took these photos in 2006. Nevertheless, I still can smell the foul, infected and unbreathable smell.' Cendón relates.

José Cendón is a freelance photojournalist. Nowadays he lives in Ethiopia and he has just published the book: . He has worked in Colombia, Venezuela, Israel, Palestine, Darfur and from 2005 until 2009 he has been working as a freelance photographer for the AFP (Professional Photographers Association in Spain) and other international media mainly in East Africa.

The objective of the IVAM, the Valencian Institute of Modern Art, is the investigation and diffusion of twentieth-century art. Its programme of activities offers permanent collections, temporary exhibitions, talks, courses, workshops and publications. It has two premises: the Centre Julio González, opened in 1989, and the Sala de la Muralla opened in 1991. Visit :

Source: AKN

Monday, November 30, 2009

JAMES BRANTLEY | Transference of Light | Sande Webster Gallery

James Brantley, Steppin' Out, 58” x 33”, acrylic/canvas, 2009

The lush landscapes and surreal cityscapes presented in Transference of Light are provocative, emotive and beautiful. Brantley’s scenes blend familiarity and mystery into complex visual performances. Always presenting a stimulating point of view in his work, Brantley’s newest series is no exception. In this new body of work, he has created a strong visual language that combines impressionist representation with abstraction. This unique combination redirects our expectations of light and space, expanding the mind to experience something new. Brantley masterfully paints his signature skies, clouds and sunsets, where he uses color and light with intense restraint to evoke powerful emotional responses in the viewer. Brantley’s paintings in this show are surprising and fresh as he explores new compositional structures.

Brantley’s work is held in major public and private collections including Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Brantley’s work in The Sorgenti Collection’s exhibition, Chemistry of Color, is currently on view at the Taft Museum in Ohio and will travel to Hudson River Museum in New York and Columbia Museum in South Carolina thoughout 2010. In addition, Brantley will have a solo exhibiton at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in August 2010.

TEL: 215-636-9003 | FAX 215.646.9008 | E-MAIL:
2006 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


TOM FEELINGS | Bloomsbury Auctions | Fine Illustrated Books

New York, NY - Bloomsbury Auctions, the world’s leading auction house for rare books and works on paper, announces their annual holiday sale of original illustrations and fine illustrated books on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 2:00pm. The sale will showcase important works from the Golden Age of Illustration to the present day. It will commence with the artistic estate of award winning African American artist Tom Feelings - a native of Brooklyn. The late Tom Feelings worked as a freelance illustrator of children’s books for over thirty years.

Throughout his career, Feelings received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding portrayals of Africans and African Americans. Among the highlights of the sale is the entire collection of Feelings’ seminal 1996 work The Middle Passage ($250,000-$350,000), Caldecott Honor Book Moja Means One (1972), Now Sheba Sings the Song (1987) and Soul Looks Back in Wonder (1994).The sale will also offer the artist’s personal collection of paintings, drawings, fine prints and sculptures by such prominent African American artists as Don Nelson, Paul Goodnight, Karen Johnson, Joel Gresham, Leroy Clarke and Brian Collier. The second session will include a drawing for a book cover by Aubrey Beardsley ($9,000-$10,000), John R. Neill’s painting of Cap’n Bill as a merman ($10,000-$15,000) from L. Frank Baum’s The Sea Fairies , Willy Pogány’s watercolor for A Midsummer's Nights Dream ($12,000-$15,000) and Gustaf Tenggren’s early illustration of Trolls ($10,000-$12,000).


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ROY DeCARAVA: 1919-2009

The photographer Roy DeCarava has died. The great chronicler of 20th century African-American life, especially in New York, DeCarava had a sophisticated aesthetic and a capacious sense of life. As one example of just how sophisticated, check out this picture, which I would say is the work of a man who had thought long and hard about Leger's great painting The City. In 1996 he had a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a wonderful show that I reviewed for Time.

Like Cartier-Bresson, DeCarava had an eye for the off-kilter visual intricacies that a photograph can contain within its frame, so that even when he was working in a documentary vein, it was with an acute and unorthodox sense of spatial organization. I think one thing I said about him at the time of that MoMA show still stands:

To the question of what's personal and what's political, what's lyric and what's documentary, he offers back a teasing answer. It all is.

For more, click HERE.

The Studio Museum | 2009 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize | GLENN LIGON

NEW YORK, NY.- The Studio Museum has awarded the 2009 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize to Glenn Ligon. Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden announced the award to over 700 supporters and friends, including George Wein, at the Museum’s Gala 2009 on October 26. Jazz impresario, musician and philanthropist George Wein established the Prize in 2006 to honor his late wife Joyce Alexander Wein, a woman whose life embodied a commitment to the power and possibilities of art and culture. Joyce was a dedicated Trustee of The Studio Museum in Harlem and was deeply involved with philanthropy and the arts throughout her life. Inspired by Joyce’s lifelong support of living artists and envisioned as an extension of the Studio Museum’s mission to support experimentation and excellence in contemporary art, the Wein Prize recognizes and honors the artistic achievements of an African-American artist who demonstrates great innovation, promise and creativity, and includes an unrestricted monetary award of $50,000. Previous recipients include Nadine Robinson (2008), Trenton Doyle Hancock (2007) and Lorna Simpson (2006).

A distinguished panel consisting of Eungie Joo, Director and Curator of Public Programs, the New Museum; Carter Foster, Curator of Drawings, the Whitney Museum of American Art; Nancy L. Lane, Trustee and Chair, Acquisition Committee, The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Naomi Beckwith, Assistant Curator, the Studio Museum, met in September to select just one winner from a competitive pool of candidates recommended by nominators nationwide.

“In receiving this prize, which is so much in the spirit of both Joyce and George’s longtime support for the arts,” said Glenn Ligon, “I realized that while I sometimes take for granted the things that I do in my studio, other people think deeply about, appreciate and cherish the work I make. I am honored.”

A New York-based conceptual artist, Ligon has a wide-ranging art practice in multiple media, including text-based painting, neon, print, installation and video. His work engages social and personal histories, memory, and the ways in which groups and individuals are represented—revealing the complexities and subtleties of social constructs of race, language, sexuality and gender.

Born in the Bronx in 1960, Ligon received a BA from Wesleyan University in 1982. In addition to Stranger, his 2001 solo exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem, he has had solo museum exhibitions at the Power House, Memphis (2008); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2000); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1996); and the Kunstverein München, Germany (2001). His work has been included in numerous national and international group shows, including Documenta XI, Kassel, Germany (2002); the Venice Biennale (1997); and the Whitney Biennial (1991, 1993).

Ligon’s work is represented in many public collections, including those of The Studio Museum in Harlem; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In addition, he has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1997) and two National Endowment for the Arts grants (1982, 1989).


Spoonbread Atelier Presents SIGHTscene Photography: RICKY DAY | DAFNA STEINBERG | ANDREW NASON | BILL THORNE

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Celebrates East Harlem Galleries and
the Re-opening of El Museo Del Barrio

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009

ArtCrawl Harlem

DATE: November 7, 2009
TIME: Trolley Tour 12:30 - 4:30PM
Reception following until 6:00PM

PRICE: $55
Early Bird Special: $40 - Ends Oct. 30, 2009

or call 800.979.3370

Galleries include:
El Museo del Barrio
My Arte Gallery
Poet's Den Gallery
TAFA Studios
Taller Boricua

Imaged credit: The Virgin Mary by Cecilia Moreno Yaghoubi, My Arte Gallery


Friday, October 23, 2009

Museum for African Art | THE PERVASIVE ECHO

Vocals: Kathleen Berger as Jenny Lind
Master of Ceremonies: John Healarchi
Pianist: Cathy Venable

"The Pervasive Echo" is a re-examination of the 19th Century phenomenon that was Jenny Lind, a singer also known at the "Swedish Nightingale." A fragment of Lind's inaugural concert in America will be restaged under unusual circumstances at the same site where she gave this historic concert 159 years ago.

A project by South African artist Ruth Sacks
Commissioned and presented by the Museum for African Art and Performa 09

Performa 09 (November 1-22, 2009) is the third edition of the internationally acclaimed biennial of new visual art performance presented by Performa, a non-profit multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century.

Sande Webster Gallery | SAM GILLIAM | WORKS

Works | In the main gallery
DATES > November 6-30, 2009
RECEPTION > Friday, November 13, 2009 6-8pm

Works, continues Gilliam’s process of informed improvisation that balances geometric forms with expressionist gestures. These exuberant and colorful mixed media paintings advance the inventions associated with the Washington Color School and Abstract Expressionism to new levels. Each work is carefully orchestrated like a jazz composition with internal rhythms and harmonies. Gilliam challenges and delights the viewer with a bold and diverse body of work that blurs the line between painting and sculpture. His craft has been perfected over the years to consistently create works of visual beauty, emotional impact and intellectual stimulation. Gilliam is internationally recognized in collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musee d’Art Moderne de le Ville de Paris and Tate Gallery, London. The Philadelphia Museum of Art commissioned his first outdoor public work of art and the largest draped painting of his career in 1975. Additional public and private commissions, grants, awards, exhibitions and honorary doctorates are worldwide. He is Washington’s preeminent artist.

Imaged credit: Sam Gilliam, Forever Walking, 48” x 23.5” x 7", mixed media/birch, 2009

TEL: 215-636-9003 | FAX 215.646.9008 | E-MAIL:
2006 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103


PARIS.- Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate and former Secretary General of the United Nations, has awarded this year’s prestigious Prix Pictet photography prize for environmental sustainability to British based photographer Nadav Kander and a photography commission to American photographer Ed Kashi at the Passage de Retz, Paris. The Prix Pictet is an annual search for photographs that communicate powerful messages of global environmental significance under a broad theme. This year that theme is ‘earth’. Nadav Kander was nominated for his series of photos, Yangtze, The Long River Series, 2006-07, documenting the rapidly changing landscape and communities of China’s Yangtze River, from its mouth to source.

The photographers were selected from a shortlist of twelve of the world’s leading photographers: Darren Almond, Christopher Anderson, Sammy Baloji, Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky, Naoya Hatakeyama, Nadav Kander, Ed Kashi, Abbas Kowsari, Yao Lu, Edgar Martins and Chris Steele-Perkins.

Making the formal presentation at an awards dinner at the Passage de Retz in Paris, Kofi Annan, honorary president of the Prix Pictet said that the photographs were a compelling call for action to tackle climate change, the most serious humanitarian and environmental challenge facing the world today:

“Only weeks separate us from the decisive negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen. We are confronted with the vital need to prepare the political momentum necessary for a fair and effective post-Kyoto agreement. The images in front of us remind us of the fragility of our planet and the damage we have already done. When we see these photographs we cannot close our eyes and remain indifferent. Through our actions and voices, we must keep building the pressure to secure urgent action at Copenhagen and beyond.”

Ivan Pictet, Vice President Pictet & Cie said: "In only its second year, the Prix Pictet has established itself as one of the most important prizes in its field. While in naming Nadav Kander the Judges have chosen a very worthy winner, such was the quality of the field that any one of the twelve photographers on the Shortlist could have made it."

He added, "On behalf of the Partners of Pictet; I am delighted to announce that we have selected Ed Kashi as the photographer to fulfil Pictet's annual commission related to our charitable activities, this year in Madagascar, a country with a remarkable ecological heritage under threat and one of the poorest countries on earth."
Ed Kashi has been commissioned to visit Madagascar with the Azafady team in order to produce a series of photographs that will highlight many of the issues that Azafady are focusing on in this unique and endangered environment. An exhibition of the work made for the commission will launch the 2010 prize in the Spring 2010.

Francis Hodgson, Chair of the Judges said “The quality of the entry this year has been exceptional. It has been an honour and a pleasure to try to find a winner from among so many outstanding candidates. The shortlisted photographers set the Jury an immense problem and I am grateful to my fellow judges for their insight, expertise and good humour. The photographers’ determination to be heard is the foundation of everything that the Prix Pictet can achieve. As a result of their great skill the Prix Pictet goes from strength to strength. Although only in its second year it has clearly now found its niche as the world’s premier prize in its sector. The environmental issues which it seeks to address are vital to all of us. That of course only adds to the fascination of being involved.”

The prize is complemented by Earth, the book of the 2009 prize. Earth is published by teNeues and includes the work of the 12 shortlisted artists and others nominated for the 2009 prize. All speak of the harmful and often irreversible effects of exploiting the earth’s resources and reflect on the immediate and long-term impact of unsustainable development on communities across the globe. The full portfolios of each shortlisted artist will be shown at the Passage de Retz gallery in Paris from 23 October to 24 November. The Prix Pictet will tour to further international venues from late 2009 to early 2010. Venues confirmed for the tour include: the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai and the Eindhoven University of Technology. The Prix Pictet Secretariat is currently reviewing proposals from several major international galleries.

Prix Pictet will collaborate with FIAC (22 - 25 October), Paris’ major international contemporary and modern art fair, and Paris Photo, the world’s leading event for photography (19 - 22 November).


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WEEKLY READER | To Conserve A Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities

From Library Journal
The works in this companion to a traveling exhibition are drawn from collections of American art held by six of the oldest, most prestigious historically black universities (Clark Atlanta, Fisk, Hampton, Howard, North Carolina Central, and Tuskegee). The exhibition proclaims the importance of these hitherto little-known collections, which consist primarily of works by major and minor 19th- and 20th-century African American artists, as well as such well-known modernists as Hartley and O'Keeffe. The text consists of an anthology of essays that discuss the development of the exhibition, the history of the collections, and related conservation issues. Following is an alphabetically arranged biographical catalog of artists featured in the exhibition. The scholarly tone of much of the writing and the emphasis on academic issues will make this somewhat challenging for the general public, but this important book brings to light notable collections that deserve more attention. Highly recommended for academic art libraries.AEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"The very existence of these collections will be a surprise to many people, and yet, until very recently, the schools served as the primary patorns for black artists denied access to the mainstream world... In other words, for every famous artist such as Elizabeth Catlett or Romare Bearden, there's a name you don't know, an artist whose work might have disappeared save for the support of these institutions." -- Catherine Fox, Atlanta Constitution, March 18, 1999

Product Description

Many of this nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have amassed significant collections of American art and founded galleries and museums on their campuses. These collections provide a rich resource for the study of African American art, yet many also possess a diverse array of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art. To Conserve a Legacy documents an outstanding sampling of paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and sculptures owned by Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina Central University, and Tuskegee University. This book serves as the catalog for a major exhibition and conservation project organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem, in association with the Williamstown Art Conservation Center and the six participating HBCUs. The book contains a profile of each university collection, color reproductions of many artworks included in the exhibition, biographical information on all the represented artists, and documentation of the conservation and care practices helping to preserve the art for future generations. Two major essays place the HBCU art collections and this collaborative project in a historical context and develop six themes around which the exhibition was organized: Forever Free: Emancipation Visualized; The First Americans; Training the Head, the Hand, and the Heart; The American Portrait Gallery; American Expressionism; and Modern Lives, Modern Impulses. The artists include Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Edmonia Lewis, Archibald Motley, Georgia O'Keeffe, Horace Pippin, P. H. Polk, Alfred Stieglitz, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Doris Ulmann, Carl Van Vechten, Thomas Waterman, James Weeks, Charles White, and many others. The book also contains forty-two entry essays by American scholars on many of the individual artworks. The exhibition was co-curated by Richard Powell, Chairman of the Art and Art History Department at Duke University, and Jock Reynolds, Director of the Yale University Art Gallery.


The Art of Richard Mayhew |RETROSPECTIVE | MoAD

The Art of Richard Mayhew
October 10, 2009 – January 10, 2010

The Art of Richard Mayhew will represent three separate exhibitions presented concurrently at three San Francisco Bay Area institutions: the de Saisset Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), and the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz. Together, the three presentations will provide a complete retrospective exhibition for Richard Mayhew, a nationally recognized, Aptos-based painter.

The exhibition of Mayhew's work at MoAD will be the first part of a three-part chronological retrospective of the artist's career. In this exhibition, Mayhew's paintings from the late 1950's through the 1970's, consisting primarily of landscape with some figurative works will be featured. In 1957, Mayhew enjoyed his first solo exhibition as an academically trained artist and announced his unique style of presenting the natural milieu to the New York art world. During the tumultuous period of social and cultural transformation of the 1960s, Mayhew worked as an artist and an activist most notably as a founding member of Spiral, the legendary group of Black artists including Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Hale Woodruff, organized in 1963 to address issues of civil rights and racial equality through their art.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, Mayhew establishes his career as an artist tirelessly working with a sense of spiritual depth and freedom of color, form, and space. The MoAD exhibition will explore the personal and professional foundations of Mayhew’s style as a young man of African and Native American descent coming of age in New York during the 1950s explosion of Abstract Expressionist art.

It will gather together the best of Mayhew's paintings that combine his unique style, philosophy for painting, and synthesis of artistic and social influences that set the trajectory of his artistic career.

Image credit: Richard Mayhew, Love Bush, 2000, oil on canvas, 47 x 51 inches


Friday, October 16, 2009

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Gives Major Gift to New Smithsonian Museum

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $10 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, expected to open in late 2015 on the National Mall in Washington. The purpose of the grant is to support the capital campaign of the new museum, which is raising funds for the design and construction of its building. The building, to be built on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument, will be designed by Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup. The design, construction and exhibition installations are expected to cost about $500 million, half provided by congressional funding and the remainder raised by the museum.

“We are so pleased that the Gates Foundation has joined donors from across the country who have built a groundswell of support for this museum,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum. “We recognize this as a vote of confidence and a genuine honor.”

The design for the National Museum of African American History and Culture submitted by Freelon Adjaye Bond / SmithGroup. Photo courtesy of Freelon Adjaye Bond / SmithGroup.“The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a remarkable resource that will ensure that the rich stories and valuable history of African Americans will be available for all,” said Allan Golston, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s United States Program. “The museum will be an important addition to our National Mall, and we are pleased to be joining others at this unique moment in time to support this worthy investment.”

The design and engineering team consists of four firms coming together for one of the largest architectural projects in Washington; the firms are the Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup. The lead designer is David Adjaye; Philip G. Freelon, FAIA, will serve as design guarantor, making sure the design reflects the values and priorities of the museum and the Smithsonian. Groundbreaking for the 300,000-square-foot building is expected be in 2012.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of Congress in 2003 as the 19th museum of the Smithsonian. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. As part of its capital campaign, it has launched a national membership campaign. It is establishing a national identity by hosting exhibitions and educational programming in major cities across the country.

The museum’s historians and curators are building a collection—now with more than 9,000 objects—designed to illustrate the major periods of African American history, beginning with its origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, reconstruction, the civil rights era and into the 21st century. Its inaugural exhibition, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits,” is on a 12-city national tour through 2012. Until its building is completed, the museum is offering exhibitions in its own gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


The US art world is abuzz over the White House campaign to bring a greater diversity to its art collection—including more works by African American artists [the Obamas have been quietly notifying an array of public institutions, dealers and collectors that they are looking to borrow first-rate art of a more recent vintage to display in the White House with an emphasis on works by black, Hispanic, Asian and female artists]. Such a gesture from so influential a place has understandably had a catalytic effect—stirring conversation, raising expectations. And that’s a good thing. The move is also throwing a strong light on African American art and the artists who create it.

To read the article in its entirety, click HERE.

GRAFF AUCTION| Christies| African Girl (Injabulo) 2009

LONDON—All 26 lots offered at jewelry magnate Laurence Graff’s charity auction of contemporary art at Christie’s Monday evening found buyers, but it’s unclear whether the sale — which precedes the major Frieze-week auctions — may have revealed a little hesitation on the part of bidders nonetheless, good cause and all.

Organized in part by the likes of bold-faced names Peter Brant, Uma Thurman, Hugh Grant, Naomi Campbell, and Dasha Zhukova to benefit For Africa’s Children Every Time (FACET), Graff’s recently formed, African-based initiative to aid youths and orphans, the sale realized £767,180 ($1,212,144). No commissions or buyer's premium was charged.

As the auction began under the gavel of Christie’s European president, Jussi Pylkkanen, loud strains of Shirley Bassey’s James Bond tune “Diamonds Are Forever” played in the packed King Street salesroom. And, suitably, diamonds figured in two of the evening’s lots: a pair of Khotsa Nala ("Peace Prosperity" in the Basotho language) double hoop earrings in white gold and round diamond pave donated by Graff, which went for £60,000 (est. £60–80,000), and Damien Hirst’s Porter Rhode, a 2009 oil on canvas depicting a famous Graff stone with a tiny trademark Hirst skull embedded in one of its facets, which earned £100,000 (est. £100–150,000). Hirst had donated the work.

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The evening’s top lot was also artist-donated. Raqib Shaw’s The Mild-Eyed Melancholy of the Lotus Eater (2009), in acrylic, enamel, rhinestones, and glitter paper mounted on aluminum, fetched £200,000 (est. £80–120,000). Both Graff and Shaw’s dealer, Jay Jopling of the White Cube gallery, were under-bidders for the work.

And a third artist-donated lot also made a six-figure price: Marc Quinn’s 66¾-by-102¾-inch floral still life, Crest of Mount Vinson (2009), earned £110,000 (est. £80–120,000).

The cover lot, South African artist Lionel Smit’s expressive African Girl (Injabulo) (2009), measuring 90½ by 65 inches, sold for £26,000, lapping its presale estimates of £6–8,000. (Injabulo means “happiness” in Zulu.)

But Graff, who sat in the first row, as he usually does at non-charity auctions, remained the under-bidder despite polite urgings from the auctioneer.

The auction action continues Friday at Christie’s. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FIRST LOOK | Obamas Select Art for The White House | Slideshow

Here's a slide show
we put together of some of the artworks that the Obamas have chosen for the family quarters of the White House and parts of the East and West Wings. There's not much about it that could be called controversial, unless you think that Glenn Ligon's text piece Black Like Me is somehow shocking because it engages the question of race.

For more, click HERE.

HEWITT COLLECTION | Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture

Hewitt collection of art has home in Charlotte

The Associated Press

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

— After spending years traveling the country, a collection of African-American art has a permanent home in Charlotte.

The Charlotte Observer reported on its Web site Tuesday that some of the 58 works in the Hewitt Collection went on the walls of the new Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts +Culture over the weekend. The center will open later this month.

The collection was purchased in 1998 by NationsBank, the predecessor of Bank of America, and was on tour nationally until the center was ready.

It includes works by 20 African-American artists from the 20th century including Charlotte native Romare Bearden. A New York couple, John and Vivian Hewitt, put together the collection.


Information from: The Charlotte Observer,


October 03, 2009 — October 31, 2009
76 Grand Street, New York

Kurt Kauper’s portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama are not what one would expect in Presidential portraiture. Kauper is interested in imagery that seems at first to look neutral, in which visual cues do not confirm the expected ideology associated with a visual icon. Kauper wanted to try to make political paintings without didactic content.

Thinking about political art, Kauper was influenced by Glitter and Doom, the exhibition of German portraiture in the Weimar era, recently presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kauper was particularly interested in the expressively reticent and narratively mute paintings of Christian Schad, Georg Scholz, and Karl Hubbuch. Their work eschewed the formal and psychological flourishes of Expressionism and Surrealism. Instead they concentrated on cool, uninflected depictions of physical information, but remained persuasive in their ability to embody the extremes of poverty, brutality, nationalism, cultural instability and political fragmentation that defined Europe between the wars.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Allentown Art Museum | A Force for Change: African American Art

The Allentown Art Museum will host A Force for Change: African American Art

Allentown , Pa. – On September 13, 2009 the Allentown Art Museum will present A Force for Change: African American Art and The Julius Rosenwald Fund. This exhibition of African American art is the first to explore the legacy of The Julius Rosenwald Fund, created in 1917 by Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who fostered black leadership through the arts, literature and scholarship. The exhibition will feature more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by over 20 of the artists who were recipients of Rosenwald fellowships during the Fund’s most active years (1928–1948), a watershed period for the advancement of African American art and culture. The exhibition will be on view in the museum’s Kress Gallery from September 13, 2009 through January 10, 2010.

The exhibition will feature more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by over 20 of the artists who were recipients of Rosenwald fellowships during the Fund’s most active years (1928–1948), a watershed period for the advancement of African American art and culture. The exhibition will be on view in the museum’s Kress Gallery from September 13, 2009 – January 10, 2010. Special exhibition admission price is $7 (plus museum admission) and also includes New Visions: Black and White Photography in Contemporary Art , a special exhibition in the Rodale Gallery.

Artists represented in the exhibition are among the foremost of their era, including Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Katherine Dunham, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Rose Piper and Augusta Savage, among others. With support from The Rosenwald Fund, these talented and multifaceted artists explored through their work the experiences of African Americans in a time of rapid social change and modern instability. Predominate themes encompass the gulf between North and South, urban and rural, and a search for a lost black past—in some cases, the search for a black essence.

An accompanying publication connects the artists’ works to the goals and achievements of The Rosenwald Fund and also emphasizes how the foundation encouraged the black “Chicago Renaissance” of the 1930s and 1940s. This exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Major support for this project has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Righteous Persons Foundation, and the Judith Rothschild Foundation.

Julius Rosenwald: Innovator in Business and Philanthropy

Talk and Book Signing / Sunday, September 13 at 1 p.m.

Peter M. Ascoli, the grandson of Julius Rosenwald and author of the biography Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South , will give personal insight into Rosenwald, a Chicago businessman who helped to foster black leadership through the arts, literature, and scholarship. Rosenwald, an unconventional philanthropist who believed firmly in the philosophy of “Give While You Live,” established The Rosenwald Fund in 1917 with the goals of supporting education for blacks in the rural South, finding ways to provide affordable health care for average Americans (Blue Cross Blue Shield was established as a result of some of the Fund’s activities), improving race relations, and providing fellowships to gifted African Americans in a variety of fields. Many of the artists who received fellowships went on to long and distinguished careers, and fine examples of their work may be seen in A Force for Change: African American Art and The Julius Rosenwald Fund . Limited quantities of Ascoli’s book will be available for purchase at the event and a book signing is scheduled to follow the talk. The talk is free to all museum visitors and will be held in the museum auditorium.

The Allentown Art Museum will feature the work of some of the finest African American artists of the mid-20th century and of modern and contemporary American photographers in the exhibitions A Force for Change: African American Art and The Julius Rosenwald Fund from September 13, 2009 - January 10, 2010 and New Visions: Black and White Photography in Contemporary Art from August 29, 2009 - January 10, 2010 . For more information visit .


Monday, September 28, 2009

SWANN GALLERIES | African-American Fine Art | Auction | 10.08.09

At Auction: Thursday, October 8th at 2:30 pm

Swann Galleries

Exhibition Hours:

Fri. Oct. 2: 10 - 6
Sat. Oct. 3: 10 - 4
Mon. Oct. 5: 10 - 6
Tue. Oct. 6: 10 - 6
Wed. Oct. 7: 10 - 6
Thu. Oct. 8: 10 - noon

Nigel Freeman, Director
African-American Fine Art
Swann Auction Galleries
212-254-4710 ext. 33

Swann Galleries Inc. 104 East 25th Street New York NY 10010

tel 212-254-4710 • fax 212-979-1017


Images credits, clockwise from left:
Barkley L. Hendricks - Lot 78
Norman Lewis - Lot 33
James VanDerZee- Lot 13

2009 McArthur Grants Genuises includes mixed-media artist Mark Bradford and others...

This year’s winners of MacArthur fellowships include, from left, Mark Bradford, a mixed-media artist; the writer Edwidge Danticat; and Theodore Zoli, a bridge engineer.

Published: September 21, 2009

A papermaker dedicated to preserving traditional Western and Japanese techniques; a scientist developing theories of global climate change; and a journalist who helps uncover details of unsolved murders from the civil rights era are among the 24 recipients of the $500,000 “genius awards,” to be announced on Tuesday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

While many of the fellows are known mostly among their peers, others — especially those in the arts — have won renown. They include Edwidge Danticat, a 40-year-old writer who has won critical acclaim with her depictions of Haitian immigrants in works like the novel “The Farming of Bones” and the memoir “Brother, I’m Dying.”

“It felt incredibly, wonderfully surreal,” Ms. Danticat said in a telephone interview from Miami. “What artists crave and need most is time. It will definitely buy some time. It’s wonderful to have a sense of security, especially in these economic times.”

This year’s MacArthur fellows range in age from 32 to 69 and are evenly divided between men and women. As in years past, most live on the East or West Coasts, but a photojournalist is based in Turkey and an infectious-disease physician in Sudan. All will receive $100,000 a year for five years, no strings attached. Since the inception of the program in 1981 and including this year’s fellows, 805 people ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selections have been named.

Besides Ms. Danticat, other winners in the arts who have received public recognition are the documentary maker James Longley, 37, who explores Middle East conflicts with portraits of communities under stress; Deborah Eisenberg, 63, a short-story writer; Mark Bradford, 47, a mixed-media artist; Camille Utterback, 39, a pioneer of interactive art installations; Heather McHugh, 61, a poet known for her syntactical twists; Rackstraw Downes, 69, a realist painter of urban landscapes; and Lynsey Addario, 35, the Turkey-based photojournalist whose work in war-torn countries has appeared in The New York Times and National Geographic.

Another journalist fellow, Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter at The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., who focuses on cold-case murders from the civil rights era, said he would use the money to help write a book on the subject. “I never in all my life expected this,” Mr. Mitchell, 50, said of his award.

While all the fellows are accomplished, the MacArthur grants are distinctive because they reward the expectation of future achievement, said Robert Gallucci, who became president of the MacArthur Foundation this summer. “We’re looking for you to continue in a creative way, without anyone looking over your shoulder,” he said.

Daniel J. Socolow, the director of the fellows program, noted that while about half the fellows are technically in the sciences, their work often touches on other areas. “We focus on the work, not the field,” he said.

As examples, Mr. Socolow cited L. Mahadevan, 44, an applied mathematician at Harvard who investigates behaviors like how flags flutter and how skin wrinkles, and Theodore Zoli, 43, a bridge engineer who works to protect transportation infrastructure in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Timothy Barrett, 59, a papermaker at the University of Iowa who studies the impact of books on society, also has a résumé that is hard to categorize.

“For a lot of us, walking between the boundaries of disciplines and a bit off the beaten path, it’s good to get a confirmation that people think highly of your work,” said John A. Rogers, 42, a professor of material science and engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Rogers invents electronic devices that, according to the MacArthur citation, “lay the foundation for a revolution in manufacture of industrial, consumer and biocompatible technologies.”

Beth Shapiro, 33, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University, called the MacArthur “a great opportunity to follow some research avenues that might be too risky for traditional funding sources.” Dr. Shapiro examines fossils, dirt samples, biostatistics and other clues to reconstruct what happens to certain species.

The multidisciplinary approach can be seen in the work of two fellows with law degrees, Elyn Saks, 53, and Rebecca Onie, 32. Ms. Saks, a law professor at the University of Southern California, has written of her own mental illness and fights for the rights of the mentally ill. Ms. Onie was a sophomore at Harvard when she founded Project Health, a clinic-based program that addresses the connection between poverty and ill health.

“The award is probably most significant because it ties in so powerfully with the current health care debate and conversation,” Ms. Onie said. “This gives us a platform to participate in that conversation.”

Other winners in the sciences were Maneesh Agrawala, 37, of the University of California, Berkeley, who studies how design principles can improve the effectiveness of computers’ visual displays; Esther Duflo, 36, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who analyzes the forces of poverty in South Asia and Africa; Lin He, 35, a molecular biologist, also at Berkeley, who researches cancer treatments; Peter Huybers, 35, a climate scientist at Harvard; Richard Prum, 48, an ornithologist at Yale who draws on developmental biology to examine questions about birds; Jill Seaman, 57, an infectious-disease physician working to treat infections in remote, war-torn areas; Daniel Sigman, 40, a Princeton biogeochemist investigating the ocean’s fertility and the earth’s climate; and Mary Tinetti, 58, a geriatric physician at Yale studying risk factors that contribute to fatal falls.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spanierman Gallery to Showcase "Danny Simmons-From There to Here"

East Hampton, NY - Spanierman Gallery, LLC at East Hampton is pleased to announce the opening on October 8, 2009 of the exhibition, Danny Simmons: From There to Here, featuring abstract, radiantly gestural paintings created by the artist over the course of fifteen years, in which he has sought to reveal a spiritual presence beyond that of the art object’s physical properties. Drawing inspiration and motivation from the African contemporary and indigenous art and other tribal examples that he has collected over the course of many years (his collection numbers close to 2,000 items), he is motivated by a desire to think about spirituality and to seek a way to access, channel, and touch it through the creative process. Simmons views a painting as similar to a message in a bottle or a spiritual emanation that when sent out into the world encompasses a realm of experience and a life of its own beyond that of its creator.

A self-taught artist, Simmons evolved his work through studying all of the major art-historical movements. Eventually he developed a strong interest in Surrealism, encompassing the work of Miró, Dalí, and André Breton, in particular. A turning point for Simmons was his discovery of the art of the Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982), whose paintings combining modernist styles with those of the indigenous arts of the Americas, were admired by and exhibited in the late 1930s alongside those of his friend Picasso. Simmons was drawn to Lam’s expression of a humanism transcending the individual and to his effort to liberate the African heritage in Cuba from cultural subjugation through a conveyance of its spiritual basis. Another important influence for Simmons has been the art of the contemporary African-born painter Ouattara, who blends African and Western subjects through physically diverse materials and totemic, mythic imagery, expressing the way that personal identity today is hybrid in nature, bringing together experiences of colonial and postcolonial history.

Danny Simmons - Beyond Heaven’s Gate, 2008 Oil on canvas 36 x 36 inchesDeveloping from these sources, Simmons’s earlier paintings often incorporated figurative elements and specifically referenced such work as the bark paintings of the Pygmy people of the Ituri Forest of the Congo and Kente textiles from Ghana and Sudan. Gradually he developed his own visual language, using line, color and form as conduits for capturing the spiritualized essence of this work and making it his own. Rising at 5 a. m. to paint, Simmons works surrounded by silence, letting his canvases speak and evolve with their own rhythms and voices. A color is usually the starting point for Simmons. Mixing paint from powdered pigments, he will bind layers together and build up surfaces and then often peel or scrape them away, so that his method, as in a divination ritual, conveys us beyond the realm of the physical. With their dense textures, in which writhing color has a kinetic force that seems self-generated and glistening presences hover within palpable atmospheres, Simmons’s paintings function as objects of power and mystery. While there are resonances here of Picasso, Pollock, and Surrealism, Simmons pulls together disparate threads to come up with new and original results.

Simmons is the older brother of the hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons and the rapper Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons. He is the cofounder of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which provides disadvantaged youth with access to the arts and education and promotes a diverse group of emerging artists. Simmons was also recently appointed chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts. In 2002 Simmons and his brother Russell established “Def Poetry Jam,” introducing poetry to mainstream television in a long-running series on HBO in which original poems are spoken along with performances by well-known actors and musicians. An author himself Simmons has published a novel, Three Days as the Crow Flies (2004), consisting of a fictional account of the New York art scene in the 1980s, and a book of poetry, I dreamed my people were calling but couldn’t find my way home (2007). This March, Simmons’s collection of African art along with his own paintings will be shown at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, New York, and will be the subject of a book entitled House of the Spirit accompanying the exhibition.

This is Simmons’s first exhibition at Spanierman Gallery, LLC at East Hampton.

Visit us on the web at


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Southern Folk Art: Atlanta-based artist Corey Barksdale paints mural....

Willie Cole and Hank Willis Thomas Explore Amistad Center's Extensive Collection of Art

HARTFORD, CT.- A new collaborative exhibition featuring the works of Willie Cole and Hank Willis Thomas, entitled Digging Deeper, will open this fall at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art . Both Cole and Thomas were invited to explore The Amistad Center’s extensive collection of art, artifacts, and archives which document the African American experience and respond with new works inspired by this rich source material. The show will also include additional objects from The Amistad Center’s collection to highlight the common threads between historical characterizations of race and present-day conceptions of African American culture. Digging Deeper is on view from September 19, 2009 through April 4, 2010.

Cole and Thomas are both known for their transformation and reinterpretation of identifiable objects into works of art, many of which reference race and socio-cultural issues. Cole is best known for his use of irons and ironing boards to create images of slave ships and African masks. His work often references his family’s history as domestic workers and their roots in Africa. For Digging Deeper, he created several new pieces including a video piece entitled Remembering Mammy, which references the place of the mammy figure in historic and contemporary culture.

Willie Cole's "Made in the Philippines" ( Note : Not on Exhibition )Willie Cole was born in New Jersey and lives and works there today. He attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, the School of Visual Arts in New York (from which he received his B.F.A. in 1976), and the Art Students League in New York. He has won numerous awards and grants and has exhibited his art throughout the United States. His work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Thomas recently gained notoriety for his photographic works, which provide commentary on branding and consumer culture and often re-appropriate advertisements and other instantly recognizable symbols to suggest the exploitation and commoditization of African American culture. Thomas’ work for Digging Deeper includes a large scale mixed media installation entitled Greetings from the Sunny South,which is a house-like structure that incorporates more than 500 post cards from The Amistad Center's collection. The post cards depict stereotypical imagery as well as personal photographs that were adapted to post card form.

Willis Thomas' works often comment on branding and the commodification of African American culture. Best known for his photographs, Willis Thomas works in a wide range of media including film and site specific installations. He often combines historical illustrations, portraiture, and product design with references to consumer culture. The resulting works at times evoke a wry humor or a withering critique. In 2002 Willis Thomas gained wide recognition for a series called B®anded, a group of images created by digitally adding a scarred "Nike" logo to the chest and head of an African American male model. In this series, Willis Thomas highlights the complicated role of African American males in the production and consumption of their own images in the marketplace. More generally this provocative series of photographs focuses on consumer branding within America's commodity-obsessed culture, and the extent to which advertisers target racial groups and exploit the black male body for marketing and product promotion. Similar to the works of Andy Warhol and other appropriation artists of the 1980s, Willis Thomas alludes to the psychological repercussions of these representations and how these characterizations shape and define the public's perceptions about race and class.

The artists also created two cabinets of curiosity inspired by pieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art – where The Amistad Center is housed. One cabinet, titled “Curious objects from the demise of a peculiar institution,” holds objects from The Amistad Center’s collection including advertisements, product packages, and other objects of ephemera that seem immediately offensive to today’s viewers, but were once readily accepted by society. The other cabinet, called “Curious objects from the now yet to be understood,” includes objects contributed by both Cole and Thomas that are unproblematic today, but may be questioned by future generations. Visit :

Source: AKN

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lift Every Voice and Paint at Birmingham Museum of Art

New Gallery Reflects African-American Experience and Identity

The first installation, Lift Every Voice: African-American Art from the Permanent Collection, presents paintings, prints, sculpture, and photographs spanning a period of 140 years. Works by Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Radcliffe Bailey, and Kerry James Marshall, among other artists, will be on display through January 3, 2010. Although the works in the gallery will be diverse in media and subject matter, all will reflect aspects of African-American experience and identity.

The earliest work in this first exhibition is a painting created in 1865 by Robert Scott Duncanson, titled A Dream of Italy. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and considered a master of the romantic landscape, Duncanson painted in the style of the Hudson River School. He traveled to Europe in the tradition of 19th-century American landscape painters and overcame enormous obstacles as an African-American. A circa 1912 painting by the renowned Henry Ossawa Tanner reflects his visit to North Africa, and photographs by James Van Der Zee and Prentice H. Polk document black life in New York and Alabama in the early decades of the 20th century.

Religion and the church are subjects explored in an early Romare Bearden painting and a photograph by Gordon Parks. Works by Benny Andrews, Bob Thompson, and Radcliffe Bailey refer to music in the black experience. Other aspects of experience and identity are the subjects of work by Emma Amos, Lorna Simpson, Kerry James Marshall, David Driskell, Willie Cole, and Lillian Blades.

Jacob Lawrence’s Builders No. 1 (1971) will also be shown in the first installation. The Museum brought one of the first tours of the combined Phillips Gallery (Washington, DC) and Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) collections of Lawrence’s Migration Series, a moving interpretation of the journey of African-Americans from the South to the North during the early 20th century, to Birmingham.

Contemporary works in the gallery include Willie Cole’s G. E. Mask and Scarification, with its modern day references to the marks of slavery, and Emma Amos’s Measuring Measuring and Lorna Simpson’s Tense, which address racism and cultural standards of beauty.

Photo credit:
"Ornette" by Bob Thompson (American (1937-1966), oil on canvas. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Junior Patrons of the Birmingham Museum of Art.



Become a
Charter Member
of the Museum!

Join Now

Dear Friend,

On behalf of the Smithsonian Institution, I am very happy to announce the launch of the Charter Membership Program for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Today I am honored to invite you to formally join as a Charter Member to help build the Smithsonian Institution’s next great Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

When you become a Charter Member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, you too will make an indelible mark on our nation’s landscape by helping to create this new and long overdue Museum.

An event like this only happens once in a lifetime. It is a rare opportunity for you to become part of the Museum from the very beginning. When you join your name will be formally entered into the Museum’s prestigious Honor Roll of Charter Members.

The Honor Roll will be prominently displayed at the Museum for you and your family to see when you visit. Even if you are not able to visit in person, you will still be able to view your name online on the Museum’s website.

That’s why I urge you to use any of the links in this letter to contribute $25 or more today, and become a Charter Member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Charter Membership is a very special honor! As a member, you will receive the following:

  • For your gift of $25, you receive a membership card valid for a 10% discount at all Smithsonian Stores and online, our Museum newsletter, a one-year subscription to the quarterly magazine American Legacy, and e-mail updates about Museum events, programs, and exhibitions.

  • For your gift of $40, you also receive a beautiful Certificate of Appreciation suitable for framing that recognizes your participation as a Charter Member.

  • For your gift of $100, you also receive the double CD Every Tone a Testimony, a fascinating aural history of African Americans in words, music and poetry.

  • For your gift of $250, you also receive the book Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits.

If you are able to give $1,000 or more, I will be delighted to welcome you as a member of the Director’s Circle, a special group of leaders who are rewarded with invitations to exclusive events, behind the scenes exhibition tours, and a copy of the beautiful book The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise, documenting 90 years of African American life in the Nation’s Capital.

Our challenge now is to raise the money we need to build this powerful addition to the American cultural landscape. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012 with the opening in 2015.

We need a total of $500 million to build the Museum. Congress has committed to provide half that amount to ensure this important initiative moves forward. And, that means we need to raise an additional $250 million in private donations from friends like you.

With your support as a Charter Member, we will ensure that the stories — the voices, if you will — of African Americans from the earliest days to the present are recorded and preserved for all time.

Together, you and I will create a wonderful new place for all Americans that, at long last, explores, celebrates and recognizes the experiences and contributions African Americans have made in shaping our national character and culture. Thank you!

All the best,

Lonnie G. Bunch


Again, thank you so much for your interest and support. Please take a moment right now to join as a Charter Member and place your name where it rightly belongs, on our Honor Roll of Charter Members.

Emory Douglas: Black Panther

An Exhibition Curated by Sam Durant for the New Museum

Some of Emory Douglas’s images are nearly forty years old, but they are still as powerful as when Douglas first created them. They are dangerous pictures, and they were meant to change the world.

Emory Douglas was the Revolutionary Artist of the Black Panther Party and subsequently became its Minister of Culture, part of the national leadership. He created the overall design of the Black Panther, the Party’s weekly newspaper, and oversaw its layout and production until the Black Panthers disbanded in 1979–80. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Douglas made countless artworks, illustrations, and cartoons, which were reproduced in the paper and distributed as prints, posters, cards, and even sculptures. All of them utilized a straightforward graphic style and a vocabulary of images that would become synonymous with the Party and the issues it fought for.

“Emory Douglas: Black Panther” includes a wide variety of Douglas’s work done while a member of the Black Panther Party. Curated by the Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, whose work often deals with political and cultural subjects in American history, the show includes approximately 165 posters, newspapers, and prints dating from 1967–76. Durant met Emory Douglas in 2002 and began working on a book of Douglas’s work, which resulted in a monograph published in 2007. Two years later Durant curated “Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which serves as a model for the exhibition at the New Museum.

Emory Douglas to Collaborate with Teens on Commissioned Community Mural in Harlem

In conjunction with the exhibition “Emory Douglas: Black Panther,” the New Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Groundswell, a community organization, will co-produce a new mural to be installed on 122nd Street and Third Avenue in Harlem, New York City. The mural, titled What We Want, What We Believe, will be a permanent public artwork— and Douglas’s first in New York City. The mural team will consist of up to fifteen teens involved with the New Museum’s G: Class student program and the Studio Museum, the majority of whom will be employed by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Douglas will work with the youth for two weeks, teaching the history of the larger Black Power Movement, conducting master print-making workshops, and leading discussions with youth participants. Over a period of two months, artist educators from the New Museum, the Studio Museum, and Groundswell will provide youth with tutorials on the social and political history that gave rise to the Black Panther Party and the Movement, as well as the history of printmaking and mural painting. A dedication of the finished mural is anticipated in early September 2009.

Download the press release

The presentation of “Emory Douglas: Black Panther” at the New Museum is organized by Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator, with Amy Mackie, Curatorial Assistant.

All images © 2009 Emory Douglas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

For more information about Emory Douglas’s recent work please contact Station 4 at

Source: New Museum

Monday, August 17, 2009

UPTOWN FRIDAYS: "Afro-Latin Style" with Geko Jones/Ethegy at The Studio Museum in Harlem

WHEN: Friday, August 21, 2009 (Rain Date: August 28th)

WHERE: The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street
(between Malcom X and Adam Clayton Powell Blvds.)

WHAT: Uptown Fridays: Afro-Latin Style with Geko and Ethergy

Uptown Fridays is $15 for members, seniors and students and $20 for the general public.

Uptown Fridays: Afro-Latin Style is produced in collaboration with Abstract Nomadic Media.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Museum of African American History Presents "From Iowa to The White House"

The Museum of African American History
is pleased to announce a
Photography Exhibit and Fundraiser,
From Iowa to The White House
Photographs by Derrick Z. Jackson
Obamas on Election Night
August 27 - September 1, 2009
Cousen Rose Gallery
71 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
10 am - 9 pm
Derrick Z. Jackson, an award winning Boston Globe columnist and photographer, will appear at the Cousen Rose Gallery to meet and greet visitors on Thursday, August 27th and Friday August 28th from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Jackson photographed the historic campaign of President Barack Obama from the weekend he announced his candidacy in Feburary 2007 to his first news conference in the White House as president in Feburary 2009.
This exhibit is free and open to the public.
The photos, signed by Jackson, are for sale
to benefit the Museum's youth programs.
For more information on the Museum,