DURING A TALK ABOUT COLLECTING African American art, collector Rodney Miller told curator Ruth Fine that he is a “big, big, big fan of painting.” And soon, Fine revealed to the audience gathered to hear the conversation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., that two of Miller’s paintings by Norman Lewis would be included in a fall 2015 exhibition of the abstract artist’s work.
At the time, Feb. 9, 2014, the much-anticipated exhibition seemed far in the future. Curated by Fine, it opens next month at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. “Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis” is the first comprehensive overview of the 20th century painter’s career. Among about 90 works on view are two mixed-media watercolors owned by Miller: “Congregation” (1950) and “Untitled (Police Beating)” (1943).
Along with this long overdue consideration of Lewis’s practice, museums and cultural institutions across the United States and beyond are presenting the work of African American and African diasporic artists this season—from 19th century modernists to a new emerging generation of contemporary practioners. A diverse selection of 42 exhibitions follows:
STAN DOUGLAS, “Cache,” From the Midcentury Studios series, 1948, 2010 (digital fiber print mounted on Dibond aluminum). | Courtesy the artist and David, Zwirner, New York via Wiels Contemporary Art Centre
Oct. 9, 2015 – Jan. 10, 2016
1. STAN DOUGLAS: Interregnum @ Wiels Contemporary Art Centre | Brussels, Belgium
Recognized for film work exploring lost utopias of the 20th century, Canadian artist Stan Douglas is premiering the six-screen video installation, “The Secret Agent,” which continues his interest in post-war history and film noir. “Interregnum” features a selection of video, recent large-scale photography and special performances of his theater production “Helen Lawrence.”
Sept. 5, 2015 – Jan. 10, 2016
2. “DEANA LAWSON: Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series” @ The Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago
New York-based photographer Deanna Lawson is featured in the first installment of the biennial Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series. The subjects of her staged photographs “channel broader ideas about personal and social histories, sexuality, status, and spiritual beliefs.”
“Making Place” includes “Horizon,” a 1/1 scale pavilion erected for the exhibition giving visitors the opportunity to experience David Adjaye’s architecture first hand.
Sept. 19, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
3. DAVID ADJAYE, “Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye” @ The Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago
“Making Place” is the first comprehensive museum survey of global architect David Adjaye‘s portfolio of more than 50 built projects, which includes the forthcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. His approach to design is unique: “Rather than advancing a signature architectural style, Adjaye’s structures address local concerns and conditions through both a historical understanding of context and a global understanding of modernism.” Read more about Adjaye and his new Studio Museum in Harlem project
Oct. 18, 2015 – Jan. 18, 2016
4. “30 Americans” @ The Detroit Institute of Arts | Detroit
On tour since 2011, “30 Americans” presents a wide range of contemporary art by African American artists from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. The exhibition features paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and video by the likes of Kerry James Marshall, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Robert Colescott, Glen Ligon, Lorna Simpson and Nina Chanel Abney (shown above).
Sept. 30, 2015 – Feb. 15, 2016
5. WILFREDO LAM @ Centre Pompidou | Paris, France
This in-depth retrospective of Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam features more than 400 works—paintings, drawings, photographs—presented in a chronological fashion, spanning 1930s to the 1970s and documenting his time spent in Spain, Paris, Cuba and Zurich. The exhibition “aims to reposition the Cuban artist’s work within an international history of modern art, to which he made a key contribution in both Europe and the Americas.”
LATOYA RUBY FRAZIER performing her 2014 Pier 54 project on the New York City High Line in which she brandishes flags printed historic photographs linked to the pier. | via Carré d’Art-Musée d’Art Contemporain
Oct. 16, 2015 – March 13, 2016
6. “LATOYA RUBY FRAZIER: Performing Social Landscapes” @ Carré d’Art-Musée d’Art Contemporain | Nimes, France
Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier‘s first solo institutional exhibition in France presents selections from several of her documentary projects, including the video “Frazier Take on Levi’s” and photographs from “Pier 54,” and the foundation of her work, images that examine the decline of the population and steel industry of her hometown of Braddock, Pa. (“Campaign for Braddock Hospital” and “The Notion of Family”).
Aug. 25 – Dec. 5, 2015
7. HOWARDENA PINDELL @ Spelman College Museum of Fine Art | Atlanta
Throughout her five-decade career, Howardena Pindell has distilled social issues through her multidisciplinary practice. Known for her abstract painting and conceptual art, this exhibition features “her oblong and un-stretched canvases, as well as her experimentation with hole-punched dots, hand drawn arrows, printed text, and personal postcards.” Born in Philadelphia, Pindell is an artist, curator and writer who is based in New York where she is also a professor at Stonybrook University.
Pindell’s work is also on view in Los Angeles at Honor Fraser Gallery through Oct. 29.
Sept. 25 – Nov. 28, 2015
8. “SHEILA PREE BRIGHT: 1960Now” @ Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia | Atlanta
Known for her unique approach to portrait photography, Sheila Pree Bright‘s “1960Now” “celebrates a generation of leaders from Atlanta and elsewhere in the American South who became the catalyst for social change in the early 1960s” and is described as her most ambitious project yet.
MICKALENE THOMAS, “Marie: Femme noire nue couchée,” 2012 (rhinestones, acrylic, oil and enamel on wood panel). | Courtesy Mickalene Thomas, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York via Telfar Museums
Sept. 11, 3015 – Jan. 3, 2016
9. “MICKALENE THOMAS at Giverny” @ Telfair Museums | Savannah, Ga.
Mickalene Thomas’s rhinestone-embellished, mixed-media paintings depict powerful black women against culturally rich backgrounds and also capture textured, enviable interiors and lush landscapes. In 2011, Thomas did a residency at Claude Monet’s home in Giverny, France, and the works inspired by her time there are featured in this exhibition. According to the museum, “Thomas was influenced by the realization that Monet had carefully appointed his residence and gardens to create the ideal creative retreat. The collage effect apparent in Thomas’s Giverny landscapes and interiors mirrors Monet’s desire to piece together spaces as individual sites of inspiration.”
KANSAS CITY, MO.
HALE ASPACIO WOODRUFF, “The Mutiny on the Amistad,” 1939 (oil on canvas). | Collection of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.© Talladega College. Photo: Peter Harholdt via Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Sept. 25, 2015 – Jan. 10, 2016
10. “Rising Up: HALE WOODRUFF’s Murals at Talladega College,” @ Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art | Kansas City, Mo.
In 1938, Talladega Collage commissioned Hale Woodruff to paint a series of six murals depicting the Amistad uprising and its aftermath and the founding of the Alabama college after the civil war. After hanging in the HBCU’s library for decades, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta partnered with Talladega to remove and conserve the historic murals and share them with a national audience for the first time via a multi-city tour. “Rising Up” was presented at the High Museum in 2012 and visited several other museums around the country before debuting at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
Also in Kansas City, the American Jazz Museum is presenting “All Hail to Hale: Homecoming — The Hale Woodruff Family Collection,” through Feb. 20, 2016.
EMORY DOUGLAS. “Untitled (Hey, Mister, what you doing to the poor man, Lord knows you oughta quit it.),” 1972, printed 2015 (archival pigment print). | Collection of the artist. © 2015 Emory Douglas/ARS, NY
Sept. 11, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
11. “EMORY DOUGLAS: Power to the People, The Struggle Continues” @ Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln | Lincoln, Neb.
Long before the notion of branding and visual identity became commonplace, Emory Douglas was developing and honing the brand identity of the Black Panthers. Through his powerful images and graphic illustrations in the revolutionary organization’s newspapers, Douglas, the Panthers’ Minister of Culture, used “art to inspire self-determination and impel social change through the economic, political, and social empowerment.” The exhibition features his signature-style images from the 1960s and 70s.
Sept. 11, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
12. “Black Fire: A Constant State of Revolution” @ Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln | Lincoln, Neb.
This exhibition takes its name from jazz pianist Andrew Hill’s 1964 recording “Black Fire,” produced during a time of revolution in music and society. Featuring works from the museum’s collection, “Black Fire” presents a selection of large-scale works “that evidence narrative threads of African American experience from passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the present.”
Sept. 11, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
13. “GORDON PARKS: Segregation Story” @ Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln | Lincoln, Neb.
In 1956, Gordon Parks traveled to Shady Grove, Ala., where he spent time photographing the members of an ordinary African American family. The color portfolio documenting the indignities of the Jim Crow South was published in Life magazine. The exhibition presents a selection of images from “Segregation Story,” his evocative series depicting the family’s perseverance and dignity despite daily encounters with racial and economic injustice. This season, the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Salon 94 in New York, join a selection of venues that have presented the compelling project.
Sept. 11, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
14. “JAMES VANDERZEE: Eighteen Photographs” @ Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln | Lincoln, Neb.
Photographer James VanDerZee (1886-1983) documented Harlem, opening his first studio in 1916, just as the Harlem Renaissance was gaining sway. His images ranged from studio portraits of Harlem’s cultural and political elite, to capturing neighborhood parades and Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. This exhibition features 18 photographs from the museum’s collection, including images of black Jews, a wedding portrait, Daddy Grace and a children’s swimming team.
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
LISA DIANE WEDGEWORTH, “No Amount of Scrubbing Can Make Me Forget the Time I’ve Wasted on You (Shower Vignette),” 2012-2013 (video installation).
Aug. 13, 2015 – April 24, 2016
15. “Hard Edged: Geometrical Abstraction and Beyond” @ California African American Museum | Los Angeles
This group exhibition considers the possibilities of geometric abstraction in contemporary art through the work of 46 artists spanning three generations, from Noah Purifoy and Elizabeth Catlett, to John T. Riddle, Melvin Edwards, David Hammons, Senga Nengudi and Rashid Johnson, Kori Newkirk, Lisa Diane Wedgeworth and Samuel Levi Jones. “Illustrating the rich interplay of tradition, innovation, and individual talent, the exhibition includes painting, photography, video, assemblage, installation, quailing and mixed-media works.
Aug. 28, 2015-Feb. 29, 2016
16. “storefront: NOAH DAVIS: Imitation of Wealth” @ Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Grand Avenue | Los Angeles
Paying homage to the artist-run store front spaces common in Los Angeles, each year, MOCA LA invites artists to take over a museum space, creating a “storefront” exhibition. Noah Davis‘s exhibition replicates his Underground Museum, a storefront gallery space he established in 2012 in Arlington Heights, a mostly black and Latino neighborhood. The artist wanted to bring “museum-quality’ work to the area, but museums were unwilling to lend to him. Davis decided to create his own blue-chip art which, ironically, a museum is now exhibiting his works imitating the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Jeff Koons, Dan Flavin, Robert Smithson and On Kawara, among others. A Los Angeles painter and installation artist, Davis died on the same day that this exhibition opened.
Sept. 12-Nov. 21, 2015
17. “NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY: The Beautyful Ones” @ Art + Practice | Los Angeles
In her first exhibition in Los Angeles, where she lives and works, Njideka Akunyili Crosby is presenting a series of new work that continues her ongoing exploration of “intimacy and interiority” in domestic life. Born in Nigeria, Akunyili Crosby’s large-scale works combine collage, painting, drawing and printmaking and “challenge conventions of portraiture, even as they filter a number of art historical and literary influences.” Two films by Akosua Adoma Owusu accompany the exhibition which is being presented in conjunction with “Hammer Projects: Njideka Akunyili-Crosby” at the Hammer Museum.
Oct. 3, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016
18. “Hammer Projects: NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY” @ Hammer Museum | Los Angeles
Nigerian-born Njideka Akunyili Crosby won the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Art Prize in 2014. Chosen among a competitive field that included Theaster Gates, Julie Mehretu and Mickalene Thomas, she was recognized for her innovative works capturing domestic environments and intimate interactions depicting “postcolonial African cosmopolitanism and her experiences as an expatriate living in America.” This exhibition features a selection of large-scale works on paper that combine collage, painting, drawing, printmaking. Akunyili Crosby lives and works in Los Angeles where this exhibition marks her museum debut in the city.
Sept. 2-Dec. 11, 2015
19. “Black Chronicles II” @ The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery, Harvard University | Cambridge, Mass.
First shown in London at Autograph ABP, this exhibition examines images of blacks in 19th and 20th century Britain and features a recently discovered cache of more than 200 photographs, most of which have never been exhibited or published before. The portraits include diverse subjects, from well-known figures and dignitaries to traveling performers, missionaries and unidentified black Britons. All of the images were taken in British photography studios prior to 1938.
NARI WARD, “Land,” 2002-present (metal, wood, parachute materials, barrier cloth, used wheels, and audio elements). Installation view at Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas. | Image courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, and Hong Kong
Nov. 19, 2015-Feb. 21, 2016
20. “NARI WARD: Sun Splashed” @ Perez Art Museum Miami | Miami, Fla.
“Sun Splashed” is Nari Ward‘s largest and most significant exhibition to date and coincides with the publication of a scholarly catalog. Ward’s “oeuvre speaks with penetrating insight and imagination to a broad range of themes, including African-American history and culture, the dynamics of power and politics, and Caribbean diaspora identity,” according to the museum. Spanning two decades, the mid-career survey includes his found object sculptures and installations, as well as less prominent areas of his work such as photography, video and collage. Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, Ward lives and works in New York.
Sept. 13, 2015-Jan. 24, 2016
21. “JACK WHITTEN: Five Decades of Painting” @ Walker Art Center | Minneapolis
Jack Whitten’s approach to abstraction is distinct, defined by his career-long commitment to evolving his practice. Over the past half century, he has “explored the possibilities of paint, the role of the artist, and the allure of material essence.” Featuring about 60 works, this is the first exhibition to span his career, from his contemplations of the violent tenor of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, to his more recent “Apps for Obama,” a gesture to the president. Born in Bessemer, Ala., Whitten is based in Queens, N.Y., and keeps a home in Crete.
Oct. 9, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016
22. SHINIQUE SMITH: Wonder and Rainbows @ Frist Center for the Visual Arts | Nashville
Evocative of her own experiences, observations and values, Shinique Smith‘s highly expressive paintings, sculptures, and installations often incorporate personal possessions which she believes “can inspire memories and shape our experience and identity.” Drawing on a range of influences from music, fashion and poetry to and Eastern spirituality and Abstract Expressionism, for this exhibition she is presenting a new site-specific wall painting, a multi-paneled wall piece, 10 collage paintings and four hanging “bundle” sculptures composed of discarded clothing.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.
Sept. 1, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016
23. “MELVIN EDWARDS: Five Decades” @ Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University | New Brunswick, N.J.
Melvin Edwards‘s sculptures are “both abstract and deeply engaged with meaning and expression.” Born in Houston, he is based in Plainfield, N.J., and also spends time living and working in Accord, N.Y., and Dakar, Senegal. The museum describes Edwards thus: “A truly international artist well before the advent of today’s global art world, Edwards has brought his experiences of other cultures and languages, particularly those of Africa, into his work, to explore the varied ways that art can forge bonds of connection and kinship.” This traveling retrospective is the first look back at Edwards’s career in more than two decades. Having taught at Rutgers from 1972 to 2002, the exhibition marks a symbolic return.
Aug. 31, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016
24. “In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa” @ The Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York, N.Y.
Sourced from the museum’s collection, this exhibition explores a century of West African portrait photography spanning the 1870s to the 1970s. Featured works include nearly 80 photographs, postcards, real photo postcards, and original negatives taken within and beyond formal studio environments by amateur and professional photographers, including internationally known figures such as Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta and Samuel Fosso.
Sept. 17-Dec. 12, 2015
25. AWOL ERIZKU, “New FlowerL Images of the Reclining Venus” @ Flag Art Foundation | New York, N.Y.
A master of social media Awol Erizku is true next-generation artist. He works in photography, video, music and sculpture and collaborates with hip-hop artists and Vogue magazine. For this exhibition, Erizku is presenting for the first time a series of photographs he took in 2013 in Addis Ababa, the capital of his native Ethiopia. The portrait series “challenges the mythologized art historical role of the Venus and the odalisque in Western painting, setting these tropes against the reality of one of the largest concentrations of sex workers in Africa.” Playing throughout the exhibition is a conceptual mix tape featuring samples from a lecture artist Kerry James Marshall gave at the National Gallery of Art. Erizku grew up in The Bronx and lives and works in New York and Los Angeles.
Sept. 25-Dec. 13, 2015
26. “GORDON PARKS: The Making of an Argument” @ The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College | Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
In 1948, Gordon Parks published his first photo essay in Life, “Harlem Gang Leader,” about Leonard “Red” Jackson. Twenty-one “artful, emotive, poignant, and sometimes shocking” photos appeared in the magazine. This exhibition features 45 images from the project, along with contact sheets, copies of the original issue of the magazine and supporting materials that provide further context and documentation of Parks’s work.
ARCHIBALD MOTLEY, “Gettin’ Religion,” 1948 (oil on canvas). | Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne
Oct. 2, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016
27. ARCHIBALD MOTLEY: Jazz Age Modernist @ Whitney Museum of American Art | New York, N.Y.
While the Harlem Renaissance was in full swing, Chicago painter Archibald Motley was documenting the jazz scene in the Windy City. An important, under-appreciated 20th century painter, this full-scale survey brings together his mesmerizing portraits and vibrant cultural scenes—from Chicago to Paris and Mexico—for the first time in two decades.
Oct. 2-Dec. 20, 2015
28. “RASHID JOHNSON: Anxious Men” @ The Drawing Center | New York, N.Y.
Over the past 15 years or so, Rashid Johnson‘s practice has explored a range of themes, including “the black experience in America, the dialogue between abstraction and figuration, and the relationship between art and personal identity.” Known for working in a range of mediums—painting, photography, sculpture, video, installation, and performance—with this exhibition, Johnson adds drawing to his repertoire. The presentation centers around a new series of works that the artist calls “anxious men,” black-soap-and-wax-on-tile portraits that he creates using a waxy surface on which he “draws” by digging into it. The center notes that, “whereas Johnson’s previous work has taken a more cerebral approach to questions of race and political identity, the drawn portraits confront the viewer with a visceral immediacy.”
MARTIN PURYEAR. “Untitled (LA MoCA portfolio),” 1999 (hard and soft ground etching and aquatint, on cream Japanese paper, laid down on white wove paper-chine collé). | The Art Institute of Chicago, restricted gift of Kaye and Howard Haas, 2007.88. © Martin Puryear
Oct. 9, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016
29. MARTIN PURYEAR: Multiple Dimensions @ The Morgan Library & Museum | New York, N.Y.
Over the past half century, Martin Puryear has established a unique sculptural practice handmaking modern works that are inspired by nature and draw on a range of cultures, histories and motifs. His experimentation with scale, form and materials often begins with sketches and drawings. This exhibition for the first time presents about 70 works on paper drawn from Puryear’s own collection. Most have never been exhibited and span his undergraduate years to present. A selection of prints and sculptures related to the drawings will also be on view.
Nov. 12, 2015-March 6, 2016
30. A Constellation @ Studio Museum in Harlem | New York, N.Y.
This exhibition presents works by eight mid- to late-20th century artists represented in the museum’s collection (Elizabeth Catlett, David Hammons, Al Loving, Adrian Piper, Betye Saar), juxtaposed with 18 younger contemporary artists whose works will appear for the first time at the museum (Nona Faustine, Ayana V. Jackson, Tschabalala Self, Talwst, Billie Zangewa). According to the museum, “The works in the Museum’s collection serve as material and conceptual anchors exploring themes of the figure, formal abstraction, economy, African diasporic history and materiality. The newer works expand on these themes and prompt an intergenerational dialogue in visual space.… Together the works function as a “constellation,” both as a metaphor for stars that form a pattern, and as a representation of a gathering of dynamic, kindred artists.”
Also on view at the Studio Museum beginning Nov. 12, “Black: Color, Material, Concept” assembles 24 works by artists of African descent who consider the wide-ranging possibilities of black—visually, in terms of various media, and through ideas and concepts.
Sept. 12-Nov. 15, 2015
31. “NATE YOUNG: The Unseen Evidence of Things Substantiated” @ Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM)| Philadelphia
Minneapolis-based conceptual artist Nate Young is presenting new work including an immersive video installation from which the exhibition takes it title. As an artist-in-residence at FWM, Young has continued to probe the ways in which beliefs are influenced by systems and objects. According to FWM, his “theological concepts, at times rendered through text, diagrams, and architectural elements—such as altars, church pews, and in this exhibition, a pulpit—create unexpected encounters through his use of unique materials.”
Xavier Brooks, an intern at Woodmere Art Museum, introduces “We Speak” exhibition.
Sept. 26, 2015-an. 24, 2016
32. “We Speak: Black Artists in Philadelphia, 1920s-1970s” @ Woodmere Art Museum | Philadelphia
This exhibition grew out of 14 oral history interviews with artists and their families, art dealers, scholar and museum curators, centers around the city organizations and institutions that provided a foundation and a platform for artists to pursue their careers. Featuring works from the 1920s New Negro Movement, the local WPA print workshop in the 1930s, and the decades that followed through America’s bicentennial celebration, the exhibition includes about 50 artists, Selma Burke, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Aaron Douglas, Reginald Gammon, Barkley L. Hendricks, Horace Pippen, Raymond Saunders, Henry O. Tanner, Dox Thrash, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Deborah Willis, among them.
NORMAN LEWIS, “Carnivale II,” 1962 (oil on canvas). | Private Collection, Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York © Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
Nov. 13, 2015-April 3, 2016
33. “Procession: The Art of NORMAN LEWIS” @ Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts | Philadelphia
PAFA is presenting the first comprehensive overview of Norman Lewis‘s career. The institution describes Lewis as “a pivotal figure in American art, a participant in the Harlem art community, an innovator of Abstract Expressionism, and a politically conscious activist.” Bringing together more than 90 works from pubic and private collections, the exhibition features paintings and works on paper spanning the early 1930s through the late 70s, from his early depictions of African masks and figurative works to the abstract images for which he is most recognized. Known for his innovative use of figuration in his Abstract Expressionist works, the title of this monumental exhibition is drawn from “a prominent thread that runs through [Lewis’s] oeuvre: the procession ritual.”
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
Nov. 11, 2015-April 3, 2015
34. ALISON SAAR, “Bearing” @ Museum of the African Diaspora | San Francisco
Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar explores African American culture and history, including the legacy of slavery, spiritual traditions and the generational experiences of black women. In this exhibition of 26 works, her sculptures and installations consider “the ways in which the legacy of history bears on the body, and how this history both shapes and guides the way society conceptualizes identity. [Saar’s] interest in the body, specifically the mothering body, presents both the corporeal and cultural endurance of African American women.”
Nov. 13, 2015–June 12, 2016
35. BRENNA YOUNGBLOOD: Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize Exhibition @ Seattle Art Museum | Seattle
In October 2014, the Seattle Art Museum announced Brenna Youngblood as the winner of the 2015 Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize, an honor that includes a solo exhibition at the museum. Based in Los Angeles, Youngblood’s works spans photography, collage, painting, assemblage and sculpture. In making the announcement, the museum described her practice thus: “Youngblood explores the iconography of public and private suburban experience, issues of identity, ethics, and representation, and the politics of abstraction using photo-based collage, painting, assemblage, and sculpture.”
ST. LOUIS, MO.
Sept. 11-Dec. 27, 2015
36. “HURVIN ANDERSON: Backdrop” @ Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis | St. Louis, Mo.
Hurvin Anderson is “best known for evocative paintings of lush landscapes and urban barbershops that explore themes of memory, place, and the indelible connection between the two.” A presentation of new and recent paintings along with sculpture and photography on view for the first time, “Backdrop” is the British artist’s most comprehensive survey to date.
CARROLL PARROT BLUE, GEORGE LEWIS, and JEAN BAPTISTE-BARRIERE, “Whispering Bayou,” 2015 (Three projections, digital sound and image files, sensors), Installation view at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2015 | Photo: Paul Hester
Aug. 1-Nov. 1, 2015
37. “Whispering Bayou” @ Contemporary Art Museum Houston | Houston, Texas
An immersive, multimedia installation, “Whispering Bayou,” uses sounds, voices and images to capture the rich diversity and history of Houston and its citizens. The project is a collaboration among three artists—filmmaker, interactive multimedia producer, and community activist Carroll Parrott Blue; French composer and multimedia artist Jean-Baptiste Barrière; and New York-based composer and computer interactive artist George Lewis. Aided by consultants including composer and pianist Jason Moran, the participatory installation transforms “sonic and visual memories and histories of the city into a metaphorical, virtual bayou, an ever-evolving kaleidoscope of impressions that interact with visitor movements in space, producing a vibrant emotional experience that stimulates memory and imagination.” Learn more about the Whispering Bayou project here.
Sept. 20, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016
38. “KEHINDE WILEY: A New Republic” @ Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth | Fort Worth, Texas
About 14 years ago, Kehinde Wiley found his niche painting grand portraits of young men (and more recently women) he identified by walking the streets of major cities around the world. A survey of Wiley’s career since 2001, this exhibition features 60 paintings and sculptures (a more recent pursuit) that riff on images from the art historical canon, challenging accepted notions of race, gender and representation.
Sept. 26-Dec. 19, 2015
39, “ZINA SARO-WIWA: Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?” @ Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston | Houston, Texas
For her first solo museum exhibition, British-Nigerian video artist and filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa is presenting recent photography and video and sound installations produced in the Niger Delta. Saro-Wiwa “uses folklore, masquerade traditions, religious practices, food and Nigerian popular aesthetics to test art’s capacity to transform and to envision new concepts of environment and environmentalism.”
Also at Blaffer Museum, “Time/Image,” an international group exhibition featuring film, video, photography and painting by artists including Leslie Hewitt, Isaac Julien, Lorraine O’Grady and Gary Simmons.
Dec. 12, 2015-March 27, 2016
40. “JENNIE C. JONES: Compilation” @ Contemporary Art Museum Houston | Houston, Texas
Working in abstraction and minimalism, conceptual artist Jennie C. Jones‘s unique practice considers the intersection of visual art and jazz “to reveal the complex and often parallel legacies of the mid-20th century’s social, cultural, and political experimentations.” This mid-career survey explores Jones’s 15-year career and features paintings, works on paper and sculpture, along with a new series of Acoustic painting and a site-specific installation created especially for the exhibition. A monograph with contributions from curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, and Hilton Als, George Lewis, and Huey Copeland, will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y.
JACOB LAWRENCE, Struggle¬From the History of the American People, no. 18: In all your intercourse with the natives, treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit – Jefferson to Lewis & Clark, 1803,” 1956 (egg tempera on hardboard). | Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. © 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York | Courtesy The Phillips Collection
Sept. 3, 2015-June 6, 2016
41. “JACOB LAWRENCE: Struggle…From the History of the American People” @ The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia | Charlottesville, Va.
Known for his visual narratives documenting the African American experience, Jacob Lawrence conceived a series of paintings about the history of the United States that would encompass all of the nations’s people. In 1954, the painter began working on “Struggle…From the History of the American People” (1954-56). Sixty panels were intended to span 1740-1814, capturing the American Revolution, the path toward democracy, struggles with slavery and the annexation of Indian territory, through the westward expansion. As the museum notes, “Largely due to its dispersal among various collectors and institutions, the Struggle series has remained an understudied aspect of Lawrence’s achievement as a narrative artist.” The exhibition features 12 panels from the series, the same selection that was on view at the Phillips Collection through August 2015.
Oct. 8, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016
42. “Question Bridge: Black Males” @ The Phillips Collection | Washington, D.C.
A multi-screen, documentary-style video installation, “Question Bridge” presents a dynamic series of “exchanges” among black men who span generations and backgrounds about a range of contemporary issues particularly relevant to their experiences such as race, identity, faith, family and fatherhood—. Conceived by artists Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Kamal Sinclair, and Bayeté Ross Smith, the project has gathered more than 1,600 questions and responses from black men in nine U.S. cities and has been exhibited in more than 30 venues. CT
TOP IMAGE: NORMAN LEWIS, “Title Unknown (March on Washington),” 1965 (il on fiberboard). | L. Ann and Jonathan P. Binstock. © Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
MORE FALL EXHIBITIONS
Gallery Openings: 21 Fall Exhibitions Featuring Black Artists