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Exploring art by and about people of African descent, primarily through the lens of books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type features original research and reporting and shares invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.

Painting Power, Capturing Character: Smithsonian Unveils Official Obama Portraits

Painting Power, Capturing Character: Smithsonian Unveils Official Obama Portraits

  WASHINGTON, DC—There are many ways to define and depict power. When President Obama’s portrait was unveiled Monday, it was a reminder that leadership, command, and influence, can be inspiring and reassuring, powerful and black. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of the former president artfully captures the man and the symbol. The...
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Art & Agency: New Book by Peggy Cooper Cafritz Explores Her Collections and Undying Support for Artists

Art & Agency: New Book by Peggy Cooper Cafritz Explores Her Collections and Undying Support for Artists

A NUMBER OF ART PATRONS boast impressive collections of African American art. Peggy Cooper Cafritz is probably the loan collector in the category who has assembled two. Over the course of 20-plus years, Cafritz acquired more than 300 works by artists such as Barkley L. Hendricks, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Yinka Shonibare,...
Knoxville Museum of Art Acquires 12 Beauford Delaney Works, Plans Major Exhibition in 2019

Knoxville Museum of Art Acquires 12 Beauford Delaney Works, Plans Major Exhibition in 2019

BEAUFORD DELANEY, “Portrait of James Baldwin,” 1944   FORTY YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH, Beauford Delaney’s hometown museum plans a major exhibition dedicated to his work. Since 2014, the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) has been amassing a collection works by the artist. On Feb. 1, the museum announced the purchase of 12 paintings, drawings, and...
2018 David C. Driskell Prize is Going to Artist Amy Sherald

2018 David C. Driskell Prize is Going to Artist Amy Sherald

THIS MORNING, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta announced Amy Sherald is the recipient of the 2018 David C. Driskell Prize. Sherald is celebrated for her imaginative portraits of real people and in the past few years has received wide-spread recognition for her distinct work. Recently, she was commissioned to paint First Lady Michelle...
Re-Birth of the Cool: A Second Printing of the Catalog for the Seminal Barkley Hendricks Exhibition Has Been Published

Re-Birth of the Cool: A Second Printing of the Catalog for the Seminal Barkley Hendricks Exhibition Has Been Published

  A DECADE AGO TODAY, “Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool” opened at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Feb. 7-July 13, 2008). The traveling survey brought renewed attention to Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017), the artist and photographer whose powerful portraits dating from the 1960s and 70s masterfully capture the individuality, attitude...
Lines of Influence: Commissioned Works by Barbara Earl Thomas and Derrick Adams Respond to Legacy of Jacob Lawrence

Lines of Influence: Commissioned Works by Barbara Earl Thomas and Derrick Adams Respond to Legacy of Jacob Lawrence

Barbara Earl Thomas discusses her commissioned work “Caught in the Matrix” (2017).   SAVANNAH, GA. — A luminesce installation glows and emits shadows at the far end of the gallery. The floor to the ceiling work is a series of paper-cut panels of Tyvek. Standing 14-feet high, from a distance it appears lantern-like. Up close,...
The Month in African American Art: Here's What Happened in January 2018

The Month in African American Art: Here’s What Happened in January 2018

The art world is mourning artist Jack Whitten (left) and curator Kynaston McShine.   THE WORLD OF ART lost two important figures in January—inventive abstract painter Jack Whitten (1939-2018) and pioneering MoMA curator Kynaston McShine (1935-2018). In “Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting,” the catalog published to coincide with Whitten’s career-spanning survey (2014-15), the artist...
Lines of Influence: Centennial Exhibition Explores Jacob Lawrence's Connections with Artists Past and Present

Lines of Influence: Centennial Exhibition Explores Jacob Lawrence’s Connections with Artists Past and Present

Jacob Lawrence, “The Card Game,” 1953   SAVANNAH, GA. — Sixty-five years ago, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) made a painting about a Harlem card game, depicting four nattily dressed card players in the midst of a hand. Left to the devices of a lesser artist, an image of black people engaged in a game of cards...
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Hires Curator Allison Glenn, Expanding its Contemporary Art Team

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Hires Curator Allison Glenn, Expanding its Contemporary Art Team

  THE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM of American Art announced the appointment of Allison Glenn as associate curator, contemporary art. She joins the museum’s expanding contemporary art team and will contribute to all aspects of its work, including exhibition development, publications, and long-term planning. Glenn begins work at Crystal Bridges on Feb. 12. Glenn comes to...
Coming Soon: Major Charles White Retrospective to be Presented at Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Coming Soon: Major Charles White Retrospective to be Presented at Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art

  A LARGE-SCALE RETROSPECTIVE of works by Charles White (1918-1979) debuts this summer in Chicago and will travel to New York and Los Angeles, cities where the artist spent key periods of his life. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced the exhibition today. “Charles White: A Retrospective” is organized by MoMA, where it will...
Jack Whitten, the Pioneering and Inventive Abstract Painter, Dies at 78

Jack Whitten, the Pioneering and Inventive Abstract Painter, Dies at 78

  IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT EXPERIMENTATION. For more than half a century, Jack Whitten (1939-2018) pursued the possibilities of paint, material, and technique. While constantly evolving his conceptual practice, he remained proudly political, committed to exploring weighty issues, and intent on lifting up the legacies of fellow African American artists and cultural figures by paying...
Studio Museum in Harlem Offers 'Last Look' Before Making Way for New Building

Studio Museum in Harlem Offers ‘Last Look’ Before Making Way for New Building

  AN ERA IN ART HISTORY is coming to an end in order to make way for the future. The Studio Museum in Harlem is closing for three years while a new building designed by architect David Adjaye is built at its current West 125th Street location. The groundbreaking is set for this fall and...
On the Horizon in African American Art: What to Look Forward to in 2018

On the Horizon in African American Art: What to Look Forward to in 2018

THE YEAR AHEAD MARKS KEY HISTORIC MILESTONES. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. King’s legacy will be honored this year through many programs and events. A new exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture examines the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign,...
New Artforum Editor Describes Kia LaBeija as 'An Artist I Immediately Needed Know'

New Artforum Editor Describes Kia LaBeija as ‘An Artist I Immediately Needed Know’

  AN AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHIC SELF-PORTRAIT by Kia LaBeija covers the January issue of Artforum. LaBeija is a young African American artist who describes her practice as exploring “her personal narrative and the relationship between space, trauma, and the female body.” David Velasco, the new editor of Artforum, says he saw LaBeija’s work for the first...
'Face of MoMA's Future'?: Brigitte Lacombe Commission Features Museum's Diverse Young Curators and Collaborators

‘Face of MoMA’s Future’?: Brigitte Lacombe Commission Features Museum’s Diverse Young Curators and Collaborators

  THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MoMA) asked photographer Brigitte Lacombe to create a visual commission (read photographic portraits and a video) for its Creative New York platform featuring the young curators, artists, fellows and collaborators who represent “the face of MoMA’s future.” A demographically diverse group of creatives was selected to participate. All the...