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A REVIEW OF THE WEEK’S NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE ART WORLD
Featuring David Hammons, Lyle Ashton Harris, David Driskell, Kara Walker, Mickalene Thomas, Chakaia Booker and Nicola Vassell

David Hammons Ranks Among Most Expensive Living American Artists
Artnet News published a list of the top 10 most expensive living American artists based on sales of their works. David Hammons, the only black artist on the list, ranked No. 8. A basketball hoop with a frosted glass backboard adorned with lights and chandelier crystals by Hammons sold for more than $8 million last fall. Created in 2000, the untitled work was the cover lot for Phillips Contemporary Art Evening sale on Nov. 11, 2013, and the hammer price ($8,005,000 with fees included) was a record for the artist. The impressive sale price landed Hammons on the exclusive list. Read More

Group Exhibition in Tribeca Explores Black Identity
“Black Eye,” a group show that explores the shifting dynamics of race and identity over the past two decades, features a who’s who among two generations of black contemporary artists. Curated by Nicola Vassell, the exhibition includes works by 26 artists, Sanford Biggers, Lynette Yiadom Boakye, Nick Cave, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Simone Leigh, Steve McQueen, Toyin Odutola, Gary Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Hank Willis Thomas, Kehinde Wiley and Nari Ward, among them. The New York Times’ T Magazine reported on the exhibition whose genesis was President Obama’s second inauguration and inspiration Thelma Golden’s 1994 “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary Art” exhibition at the Whitney Museum. “Activism is important to me,” Vassell told the magazine. “I find that sometimes the art world is too busy with its art-world view to consider that.” Vassell, a veteran of Deitch Projects and Pace Gallery and the founder of Concept NV, an “art ideation lab,” worked on the exhibition for two years. According to its press release, “Black Eye” examines the “new idealism forged from the millennial mindset which highlights the definition of ‘self’ as a limitless, layered and wonderfully fragmented whole. Gender, sexuality, transculturalism and political proclamation become far more fitting identifiers of self than the color of one’s skin.” The exhibition is on view at 57 Walker Street in Tribeca, from May 3 to May 24, 2014.

“Activism is important to me. I find that sometimes the art world is too busy with its art-world view to consider that.”
— Curator Nicola Vassell, The New York Times, T Magazine

Lyle Ashton Harris to Receive David Driskell Prize
This year’s David C. Driskell Prize is being awarded to Lyle Ashton Harris, whose diverse practice includes photographic media, collage, installation and performance art. The first national award to recognize contributions to African American art and art history was established in 2005 by the High Museum of Art. Ashton will be honored and receive the 2014 prize, including a $25,000 award, at a special dinner Friday, May 2. In a press release, the museum noted the significance of his two decades of practice: “His work explores intersections between the personal and the political, examining the impact of ethnicity, gender and desire on the contemporary social and cultural dynamic.” This year marks the 10th anniversary of the prize and the High museum is celebrating the milestone with a film and panel discussion with Driskell, the revered artist and scholar for whom the prize is named, on Saturday afternoon. “A Decade of David Driskell,” an exhibition featuring work by Driskell, previsous prize winners and works purchased with support from the Driskell acquisition fund, is currently on view at the museum through June 15, 2014.

Kara Walker Has Created a Sweet New Public Art Sculpture
In a shift from her usual repertoire, Kara Walker has created her first sculpture, an enormous handkerchief-wearing sphinx covered in sugar. The sculpture is installed in the old Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where it stands 75 feet tall. Commissioned by Creative Time, the foundation of the public art work is carved in sections out of polystyrene and covered in covered in sugar (Domino donated 160,000 pounds). The New York Times reported on the project, offering a fair amount of insight about artist and her wider oeuvre. The article, referencing her standard practice, describes the sculpture as “Negress-as-sphinx,” and further notes: “She has titled it ‘A Subtlety’ — after the intricate sugar sculptures that were centerpieces for medieval feasts — even though it is absurdly unsubtle.” The lengthy subtitle of the work provides further insight about the origins of her concept: “The Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.” The exhibition is on view from May 10 to July 6, 2014.

Chakaia Booker Selected for Public Art Installation on Broadway
Recycled tire sculptures by Chakaia Booker will debut on Broadway this summer. Over the past two years, Washington, D.C. has had the privilege of driving past a series of large-scale, textural works composed of cut rubber tires by Booker. The sculptures have been on view (March 8, 2012 to April 27, 2014) as a part of the New York Avenue Sculpture Project at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (shown above). Now New York will experience the innovative works. The Garment District Alliance announced Booker’s selection for its returning annual Garment District Exhibition of public art. “The Sentinels,” her series of five sculptures—Shape Shifter, Gridlock, One Way, Take Out, and a new yet-to-be-named work created for the Broadway installation—will be on exhibit along Broadway, from 36th to 41st Streets in the Garment District, beginning in early June through mid-November 2014. CT

TOP IMAGE: “Take Out” by Chakaia Booker (with Shape Shifter in the background) on New York Avenue in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Victoria Valentine