CULTURE TYPE IS REVIEWING The Year in Black Art 2015 in monthly installments over the coming weeks. The report began with a look at The Newsmakers, seven artists and curators who continue to advance their practices and their projects with fresh approaches and new ideas—efforts that are recognized and often garner significant news coverage.

The review continues with the year’s most significant moments in March, including the retirement of trailblazing curator Lowery Stokes Sims, the announcement of more than 35 black artists participating in the 56th Venice Biennale and compelling TED Talks by LaToya Ruby Frazier (above) and Theaster Gates. A plethora of art news, appointments, awards and honors, important exhibitions and other developments in African American art and throughout the diaspora, is also highlighted.

NEWS | March 2: Wutang Clan previews 13 minutes of its new one-of-a-kind album, “Once Upon a Time in Shoalin” at MoMA PS1. According to ARTnews, Wutang’s RZA says its the “first, last, and only” semi-public listening session of an album partially conceived as an art object. Months later in December, news reports reveal that Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who has been accused of serious price gauging, bought the album for about $2 million.

MAGAZINE | March 3: Coinciding with her show “Moulting” at Tilton Gallery in New York and “Crop Rotation,” her exhibition at Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, Simone Leigh talks about her work for Artforum’s 500 Words.

venice biennale artists
Clockwise from top left, Steve McQueen, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili, Lorna Simpson, Kay Hassan, Glenn Ligon.

NEWS | March 5: Programming details and the list of participating artists are announced for the 56th Venice Biennale, for which Okwui Enwezor is serving as artistic director. The slate for the citywide exhibition opening May 9 includes more than 35 black artists from around the world. READ MORE

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Christian Felix lies on the floor during an “I Can’t Breathe Demonstration” die-in demonstration. | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

NEWS | March 7: An artist group stages an “I Can’t Breathe” demonstration at the Armory Show in New York, seeking to draw attention to recent incidents across the country involving police killing black men, including Eric Garner, who unable to breathe after being put into a chokehold during the course of an arrest, was left to die unaided, while under police supervision, on a Staten Island, New York, sidewalk. READ MORE

Nicholas_Hlobo_2010REPRESENTATION > | March 9: Multidisciplinary artist Nicholas Hlobo, joins Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York. In describing his practice, the gallery said, “known for his intricate installations, Hlobo investigates issues of identity, sexuality, gender, and class in the context of his South African heritage.” READ MORE

PUBLIC ART | March 9: Mark Bradford‘s “Sexy Cash” mural, which reference flyers posted around the artist’s Los Angeles area studio advertising easy cash for properties during the housing market crash, is installed at 7540 Fay Avenue in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, Calif.

MEDIA | March 10: The Philadelphia Tribune profiles Constant Clayton, the influential head of the African American collecting committee at Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she had a lot to do with the exhibition “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art,” (Jan. 10-April 5, 2015) featuring selections from the museum’s holdings.

EXHIBITION | March 14: “Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design” opens at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Featuring more than 120 designers, the exhibition “illustrates how design accompanies and fuels economic and political changes on the continent.” Organized with the Guggenheim Bilbao where the exhibition travels opens in the fall (Oct. 30, 2015–Feb. 21, 2016), Okwui Enwezor serves as consulting curator and a catalog is published to coincide with “Making Africa.”

lowery stokes sims by Saeideh Golji< NEWS | March 16: Lowery Stokes Sims, chief curator of the Museum of Arts and Design, is retiring on April 5 after more than seven years at the museum and 43 in the art world, the New York Times reports. Her groundbreaking career includes serving as director and then president of the Studio Museum in Harlem (2000-2007) and being appointed the first and, thus far, only African American curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked from 1972 to 1999.

HONOR/AWARD | March 16: Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier, a 2015 TED Fellow gives a TED Talk (top of page) at Vancouver Truth or Dare conference on the visual history of inequality in industrial America.

TALK | March 17: Odili Donald Odita delivers Rothschild lecture at Nasher Museum. Titled “3rd Degree of Separation,” the presentation coincides with the celebration of the museum’s first decade, and includes the commission of two works by Odita—a mural in downtown Durham and a large-scale painting at the museum.

TALK | March 18: Theaster Gates gave a 2015 TED Talk about how to revive a neighborhood with imagination, beauty and art, during TED’s Creative Ignition series in Vancouver, Canada. READ MORE

TALK | March 19: Pianist and composer Jason Moran and Theaster Gates participate in Meet the Artists program at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. The pair collaborated on “Looks of a Lot,” a live performance commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The event includes a screening of a documentary about the project, followed by a discussion between Gates and Moran. WATCH Excerpt of Conversation

AWARD/HONOR | March 19: The American Academy of Arts and Letters announces nine established and emerging artists are winners of its 2015 awards in art. Among those honored, Clintel Steed receives the John Koch Award, which is given to “a young painter of figurative work.”


William Pope.L explains the themes of discord, duration, and democracy explored in “Trinket,” including the concept behind the exhibition’s title work, his interpretation of the American flag.

EXHIBITION | March 20: “Trinket,” Chicago-based artist William Pope.L‘s largest-ever museum presentation opens at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.

EVENT | March 22-24: United States Artists holds its inaugural Artists Assembly in Chicago with more than 200 participants. The activities including a presentation by Theaster Gates and a tour of his still under construction Stony Island Arts Bank.

kehinde wiley plate setPRODUCTS > | March 24: Artware Editions announces release of new Kehinde Wiley porcelain plates. Featuring images of works in his “The New Republic” exhibition, the six open edition designs are available individually or as a set. Wiley also introduces a 2016 wall calendar and Economy of Grace and The World Stage boxed notecards during the year.

MEDIA | March 25: The Metropolitan Museum of Art announces the 20 artists participating in the inaugural season of its new web series The Artists Project. Over the course of six “seasons,” the museum will feature videos of artists reflecting on the artists and works in the Met’s expansive and historic collection that inspire their own practices. The first season includes Nick Cave, Mickalene Thomas and Kehinde Wiley. READ MORE

jacob lawrence - migration series - book coverBOOK | March 28: “Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series” is published to coincide with “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North,” the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (April 3-Sept. 7, 2015).

AWARD/HONOR | March 28: Isaac Julien is 2015 honoree at the Mistake Room‘s first biennial fundraiser. The Los Angeles institution “dwells in the terrain of ideas and practices fueled by radical imagination” in order to transform how people engage with art.

APPOINTMENT | March 28: Mary Schmidt Campbell is named president of Spelman College. A prominent New York City arts leader who served as executive director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem (1977-1987) played a pivotal role in sustaining and advancing the museum when the city was on a downturn. Campbell will begin her tenure at Spelman Aug. 1. READ MORE CT