THE FALL EXHIBITION SEASON IS UNDERWAY and a wide variety of amazing shows featuring Black artists is on view. This month, exhibitions featuring major figures and emerging talents opened across the United States and at international venues. Kara Walker, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Jordan Casteel, Kahlil Joseph, Chris Ofili, Adrian Piper, and Jeff Sunhouse are presenting works in New York. Exhibitions featuring African American artists David Hartt, Senga Nengudi, and Jennifer Packer, are on view in Chicago. Packer is presenting her first institutional solo show at the Renaissance Society (above). Wangechi Mutu, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Mickalene Thomas have shows in Texas. Also in September, Frank Bowling and Awol Erizku opened exhibitions in Los Angeles. Finally, after the publication of last year of “Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art,” the exhibition “Solidary & Solitary,” organized to further showcase the collection, opens Sept. 30 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. A selection of new exhibitions follows:

 


JULIE MEHRETU, “HOWL, eon (I,II),” 2017 | Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Collection SFMOMA, gift of Helen and Charles Schwab © Julie Mehretu. Photo by Powell Imaging via SFMOMA

 
“Julie Mehretu: HOWL, eon (I, II)” @ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art | Sept. 2, 2017-ongoing

SFMOMA commissioned Julie Mehretu to create two monumental works for its atrium. She responded with a pair of layered abstract paintings that she describes at political landscapes. The largest works she has created to date explore America’s westward expansion, the nation’s conflicted history, and contemporary political moment.

READ MORE about “HOWL, eon (I,II)” on Culture Type

 


Installation view FRED EVERSLEY (b. 1941), “50 Years an Artist: Light & Space & Energy,” Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary. | Courtesy Muscarelle Museum

 
“Fred Eversley, 50 Years an Artist: Light & Space & Energy” @ Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va. | Sept. 2-Dec. 10, 2017

A former aerospace engineer, Fred Everley is a founding member of the postwar Light and Space movement in Los Angeles in the 1960s. This landmark survey brings together for the first time 23 sculptures dating from 1970 to 2004. The exhibition marks both the 50th anniversary of the start of his career and 50 years since the first African American students took up residence at The College of William & Mary, and coincides with “Building on the Legacy: African American Art from the Permanent Collection,” also on view at the museum.

“You have an idea, you work like crazy, mostly in the dark, but you can’t really get a feeling for the piece until you go through about 15 stages of sanding and polishing. When you clean it up and stand it in the gallery, it either works or it doesn’t…” — Fred Eversley


CULLEN WASHINGTON JR., “String Theory S1A,” 2016 (collagraph on Hahnemuhle Copperplate 300 gsm). | via Lesley Heller Workspace

 
“Cullen Washington Jr.: Od Matter” @ Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 6-Oct. 22, 2017

New York artist Cullen Washington Jr. is presenting a series of inked impressions of mixed-media collage paintings composed of detritus, tape, paper, and studio cast offs. Inspired by nature and the spirit, the new body of work seeks to understand “order, chaos, creation and human connection” through abstraction.

 


Partial funding for POPE.L’s Flint Water Rroject was raised on Kickstarter.

 
“Pope.L: Flint Water Project” @ What Pipeline Gallery, Detroit | Sept. 7-Oct. 21, 2017

Public interventionist art has been a signature of Pope.L’s practice for two decades. To draw attention to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., he is staging an art installation, performance, and intervention. The New York-based artist is bottling Flint tap water and displaying and selling it at an artist-run gallery in Detroit, another Michigan city that is struggling. Proceeds from the bottled water edition will benefit organizations that are directly addressing with the water crisis, including the United Way of Genesee County and Hydrate Detroit.

 


JACOB LAWRENCE, “The Card Game,” 1953 (tempera on board). | Gift of Dr. Walter O. and Mrs. Linda J. Evans. SCAD Museum of Art Permanent Collection. © 2017 Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society, New York via SCAD Museum of Art

 
“Jacob Lawrence: Lines of Influence” @ SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art & Design, Savannah, Ga. | Sept. 7, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018

Co-presented by the SCAD Museum of Art and the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, this group exhibition celebrates the centennial of Lawrence’s birth and presents the artist’s work in context with related artists. The first section, “Relations,” focuses on artists such as Josef Albers, Romare Bearden, Stuart Davis, Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Diego Rivera, and Augusta Savage, who inspired Lawrence’s practice. “Legacy” centers on contemporary artists including Derrick Adams, Meleko Mokgosi, Faith Ringgold, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Kara Walker, who are influenced by the legendary storyteller and painter. The exhibition travels to seven venues through 2018.

 


ALEX GARDNER, “Peptalk on PCH,” 2017 (acrylic on linen). | via The Hole

 
“Alex Gardner: RomCom” @ The Hole, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 7-Oct. 15, 2017

Long Beach, Ca.-based artist Alex Gardner is presenting his first New York solo exhibition. His 14 new acrylic paintings “indicate in gesture and pose a wordless ‘romantic comedy.'” From his depiction of hair to skin tone, Gardner’s dramatically entangled bodies are intended to conjure universal connections—”cultural signifiers are smoothed over to de-individuate and universalize.”

 


SENGA NENGUDI,”Untitled (RSVP),” 2013 | © Senga Nengudi, Photo courtesy MCA Denver by Ron Pollard via DePaul Art Museum

 
“Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures” @ DePaul Art Museum, Chicago | Sept. 7-Dec. 10, 2017

Senga Nengudi’s work considers “the social and physical limits of the human body by alluding to gender and race through abstract sculptures and improvisational performances.” Her first solo museum survey, features sculpture, video, and performance dating from the 1970s, including her RSVP series which employs stretched, pulled, and contorted pantyhose in reference to the female form.

 


KARA WLAKER, Detail of “Christ’s Entry into Journalism,” 2017 (Sumi ink and collage on paper, 140 x 196 inches). | via Sikkema Jenkins

 
“Kara Walker: Sikkema Jenkins and Co. is Compelled to present The most Astounding and Important Painting show of the fall Art Show viewing season!” @ Sikkema Jenkins Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 7-Oct. 14, 2017

Kara Walker’s latest exhibition of drawings and collage presents works created in Summer 2017. The artist doesn’t disappoint, introducing the show with a confident, bombastic and lengthy title and artist statement that confront and challenge the outsized expectations and criticism of her work. Walker propels her familiar themes and challenging images into the present, portraying racial bigotry through slavery, the civil rights era and the contemporary moment.

“I don’t really feel the need to write a statement about a painting show. I know what you all expect from me and I have complied up to a point. But frankly I am tired, tired of standing up, being counted, tired of “having a voice” or worse “being a role model.” Tired, true, of being a featured member of my racial group and/or my gender niche. It’s too much…”
— Kara Walker, artist statement


JORDAN CASTEEL, “MegaStarBrand’s Louie and A-Thug,” 2017 (oil on canvas). | via Casey Kaplan

 
“Jordan Casteel: Nights in Harlem” @ Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 7-Oct. 28, 2017

An alum of the Studio Museum in Harlem artist-in-residence program (2015-16), Jordan Casteel joined Casey Kaplan in December 2016. Her inaugural exhibition with the gallery presents a series of new larger-than-life paintings of black men, long her sole subject matter. The gallery notes: “Inspired by the streets of Harlem at night, the artist draws from personal experiences and cultural truths to realize her portraits.”

 


STANLEY WHITNEY, Installation view 2017 at Lisson Gallery, New York. | via Lisson Gallery

 
“Stanley Whitney: Drawings” @ Lisson Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 8-Oct. 21, 2017

For four decades, Stanley Whitney has been “exploring the formal possibilities of color within ever-shifting grids of multi-hued blocks and all-over fields of gestural marks and passages.” In what the gallery describes as his first major presentation of drawings, he is showing a series of works on paper from 1989 to present. Whitney’s drawings are an important part of his painting practice allowing his to experiment with spacial composition, color placement and sequencing, and structure.

 


Installation view of “MICKALENE THOMAS: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities” at Aspen Art Museum | via CAM St. Louis

 
“Mickalene Thomas: Mentors, Muses, and Celebrities” @ Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis | Sept. 8-Dec. 31, 2017

Black female power, beauty, representation and identity are central to Brooklyn-based Mickalene Thomas’s practice. In this traveling exhibition, she “recasts and reconfigures” these notions through photography, film and video, focusing on “black women who inspire, who represent, and who express a wide range of possibilities and desires.”

 


WINFRED REMBERT, “Our Teacher,” 2014 (dye on carved and tooled leather). | Images courtesy of Adelson Galleries via Morlan Gallery, Transylvania University

 
“Stories to Tell: The Work of Winfred Rembert” @ Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. | Sept. 8-Oct. 13, 2017

Born in Cuthbert, Ga., self-taught artist Winfred Rembert’s tooled leather paintings capture his memories of strife in the 1950s South—toiling in cotton fields and working on a chain gang—along with more joyous aspects of African American family life and community bonds under segregation. The content of his images conjures works by Horace Pippin and Hale Woodruff. Rife with blocks of color, they are reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence’s oeuvre. Rembert currently lives and works in New Haven, Conn., and in 2012 Vivian Ducat directed “All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert,” a documentary about the artist’s life.

 


MARTIN PURYEAR, “Untitled VI, State 1,” 2012 | © Martin Puryear, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery via The Print Center

 
Martin Puryear: Prints, 1962-2016 @ Print Center, Philadelphia | Sept. 8-Nov. 15, 2017

It’s been 25 years since Martin Puryear has had an exhibition in Philadelphia. This presentation is dedicated to his prints and features woodcuts and etchings made in the 1960s and since 1999, and is being presented in conjunction with “Big Bling,” Puryear’s largest public art work, which is currently on view on Kelly Drive in Philadelphia.

VIEW the exhibition brochure

“The forms explored in [Martin] Puryear’s sculpture, often rooted in nature, are equally powerful in his prints, the creation of which has been sporadic. …During these past two decades, his productivity in printmaking has been extensive, emphasizing the most tactile of the print processes: woodcut, a relief process, and the various etching (intaglio) techniques.” — Ruth Fine


JOHN AKOMFRAH, “Auto De Fé,” 2016. | © Smoking Dog Films, Courtesy Lisson Gallery via Rose Art Museum

 
“Rose Video 11: John Akomfrah” @ Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass. | Sept. 8, 2017-Jan. 21, 2018

For his first solo museum exhibition in New England, John Akomfrah is presenting a two-channel video that explores migrations prompted by religious persecution. Ghanaian-born, British-based Akomfrah’s “powerfully lyric imagery” depicts eight historic migrations over the past 400 years.

 

 
“Jennifer Packer: Tenderheaded” @ Renaissance Society, Chicago | Sept. 9-Nov. 5, 2017

New York-based Jennifer Packer, a 2012-2013 artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, is presenting her first solo institutional exhibition. Her new and recent painting reflect the range of her practice. From portraiture to funerary bouquets, the images are defined by bold color, loose improvisational strokes, and a “powerful quietude.”

“The more I approach realism, the further I feel from the true emotive quality of the things I’m depicting. I think emotional information is often housed in the image’s resistance to a fixed identity… I believe that through engaging with [this] resistance there is a pushing toward something truer, more complex, and long-lasting.” — Jennifer Packer


BARBARA CHASE-RIBOUD, Installation view “Malcolm X: Complete,” 2017, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, N.Y. | via Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

 
Barbara Chase-Riboud, “Malcolm X: Complete” @ Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 9-Nov. 4, 2017

Barbara Chase-Riboud’s bronze and fiber sculptures dedicated to Malcolm X are among her most celebrated works. Four years after his assassination, she was inspired to begin the series after attending the Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria in the summer of 1969. Over the past half century, she has produced 20 monumental Malcolm X sculptures (seven of them in 2016-17). This exhibition assembles 14 of the works, including loans from collectors and museums.

 


ABIGAIL DEVILLE, Installation view of Project Room – “Abigail DeVille: No Space Hidden (Shelter),” 2017, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). | Photo by Brian Forrest via ICA LA

 
“Abigail DeVille: No Space Hidden (Shelter)” @ Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles | Sept. 9-Dec. 31, 2017

Multidisciplinary artist Abigail DeVille’s first solo museum presentation in Los Angeles is an inaugural exhibition at the new Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art, ICA LA opened in a new downtown Los Angeles location Sept. 9. DeVille’s site-specific installation “touches upon displacement, migration, marginalization, and cultural invisibility.”

 


NATE YOUNG, Installation view of “Cleromancy” 2017 at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

 
“Nate Young: Cleromancy” @ Moniquw Meloche Gallery, Chicago | Sept. 9-Nov. 4, 2017

Chicago-based Nate Young employs a range of mediums including text, drawing, woodcraft, sculpture, and performance in this very personal exhibition in which he draws on his own family archives and oral history. The images are “related to the history of black jockeys, the Great Migration, divining, and Young’s own mythologizing of his great-grandfather” and “investigate structures of knowledge production, systems that inform belief and the illusiveness of meaning.”

 


AWOL ERIZKU, “Fuck 12 | 50 Round Drums,” 2017 (mixed media). | via Night Gallery

 
“Awol Erizku: Menace to Society” @ Night Gallery, Los Angeles | Sept. 9-Oct. 7, 2017

For his first solo exhibition with the gallery, Awol Erizku “collapses America’s history of institutionalized racism, and its counter strategies, from the late 1960s into the future to better understand our political moment.” He is showing two bodies of work. Mixed-media sculptures composed of corrugated metal, plastic sheets, plywood, and palates inspired California assemblage works by African American artists in the 1960s. He has also painted atop controversial images from an “unauthorized” Black Panther Party coloring book that the group did not not approve for publication. Erizku lives and works in Los Angeles.

 


SIMPHIWE NDZUBE, “Untitled Eclipse,” 2017 (acrylic on canvas). | via Nicodim Gallery

 
“Simphiwe Ndzube: Bhabharosi” @ Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles | Sept. 9-Oct. 14, 2017

With this exhibition, Simphiwe Ndzube has officially gone international. Ndzube is based in Los Angeles and South Africa, and this presentation is his first solo show outside of his native Cape Town. Featuring paintings and sculpture characterized by his signature use of clothing, fabric, and objects to give his works cultural and socio-political context, the exhibition takes its name from an invented term that means “one who embodies elements of beauty and hardship, one who has been rejected, disjointed, disfigured, and discarded after being used for his labour.”

 


ROMARE BEARDEN, “River Mist,” 1962 (mixed media, 54 x 40 inches). | Romare Bearden Foundation, Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, NY, Art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY via Neuberger Museum of Art

 
“Romare Bearden: Abstraction” @ Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, Purchase, N.Y. | Sept. 10-Dec. 22, 2017

In the mid-1960s, Romare Bearden began making the collages for which he is best known. In the years prior, his practice focused on abstraction. This exhibition considers this significant, but little explored period. Described as “the first substantive and scholarly examination of this important body of work,” the show features a wide variety of abstracts—watercolors, mixed media collages, and stain paintings—including small works and large-scale paintings standing six-feet tall.

 


William Villalongo previews his UConn exhibition. | Video by UConn School of Fine Arts

 
“William Villalongo: Outside My Name or Through Other Eyes” @ Contemporary Art Galleries at University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn. | Sept. 11-Oct. 13, 2017

William Villalongo’s exhibition features paintings, collages, and prints, along with a film that gives some insight his use of the African mask as a symbol of double consciousness in his practice. According to Villalongo, “‘Between Pablo Picasso and Aaron Douglas’ is the story of American Modernisms and the essential and underrepresented African-American contribution to that history. For both artists African masks and sculpture were key to unlocking the metaphysics of space. In Douglas’ hands this bore out a new Afrocentric aesthetic proving consequential to how emancipated black folks would begin to imagine themselves.” The exhibition coincides with Villalongo’s 2018 Artist Residency at the university’s Counterpoint Press.

 


CARRIE MAE WEEMS, “Ritual and Revolution” (1998), installation view at P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York. | Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery via Block Museum of Art

 
“Carrie Mae Weems: Ritual and Revolution” @ Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. | Sept. 12-Dec. 10, 2017

“Ritual and Revolution” by Carrie Mae Weems was acquired by the museum in 2016 as part of a gift of 68 works from collector Peter Norton. Created in 1998, the three-dimensional, gallery-sized installation was created in 1998 and “explores the historic human struggle for equality and justice, including references to the Middle Passage, the French Revolution, [and] World War II.” Composed of 18 diaphanous printed cloth banners displayed in a semi-architectural formation, the work includes a poetic audio track.

 


STEFFANI JEMISON, “Untitled (Affirmations for Living),” 2011 – ongoing (mixed media and hardware, unique 11 x 8.5 inches). | Courtesy the artist via ICA Philadelphia

 
“Speech Acts” @ Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia | Sept. 13-Dec. 23 2017

This group show features new and recent works by Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Steffani Jemison, Tony Lewis, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Martine Syms and “explores experimental black poetry and how the social and cultural constructs of language have shaped black American experiences.”

 


CHRIS OFILI, “Paradise Lost” Installation View, David Zwirner, New York. | © Chris Ofili, Photo by EPW Studio/Maris Hutchinson. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

 
“Chris Ofili: Paradise Lost” @ David Zwirner Gallery, 533 West 19th Street, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 14-Oct. 21, 2017

In an exhibition space created specifically for this show, Chris Ofili presents new works that explore themes of lost innocence, alienation, and desire. The artist states that the works pose “the question of the sweetness of the song—is the sweeter song the song of the uncaged bird, or the song of the caged bird? And what that really is asking about liberation and constraint, and how that could potentially relate to being human.”

 


SONYA CLARK, “Woven Comb Carpet,” 2013 (combs). | Courtesy the artist via SCCA

 
“Sonya Clark: Entanglements” @ Southeast Center for Contemporary Art, Winston Salem, N.C. | Sept. 14, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018

Sonya Clark’s craft and design practice explores issues of race, culture, gender, identity, and class, through the cultural power of hair. This exhibition surveys her career as a visual storyteller whose works are “beaded, woven, piled and plied.” She is presenting sculptures and installations made from hair and combs, as well as photographs, and two new works “Passing” and “No passing.”

“In this country, hair is still used to negotiate race.” — Sonya Clark


A preview of Adrian Piper’s exhibition at Lévy Gorvy, New York. | Video by Lévy Gorvy

 
“Adrian Piper @ Lévy Gorvy Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 14-Oct. 21, 2017”

A conceptual artist and philosopher, Adrian Piper works in a variety of mediums, including photography, video, and performance. Throughout her career, she has explored the “intersubjective formation of self, identity, race and gender; racism, sexism, xenophobia, and competing conceptions of political responsibility.” For her first exhibition at Lévy Gorvy, she pursues these themes through three bodies of work—her “Mythic Being” series (1973–1975), “It’s Just Art” (1980), and “Here,” an installation she developed in 2008 and is presenting for the first time in this exhibition. Born in New York City, Piper is based in Berlin.

 


JEFF SONHOUSE, “Nationhood,” 2017 (oil and matchsticks on fiberboard). | via Tilton Gallery

 
“Jeff Sonhouse: Masked Reduction” @ Tilton Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 14-Oct. 28, 2017

Brooklyn-based Jeff Sonhouse is presenting a series of new work, vibrant portraits of the African American male within Western culture. The paintings are inspired both by contemporary media images and historic portraiture. According to the gallery, his images are “painted close up to appear right on the canvas surface and indeed, are frequently built up with collage elements to extend into the viewer’s space. Sonhouse simultaneously pares down his figures to focus on their essential formal elements, and builds up the surface, color and design elements to achieve maximum impact. His figures remain cool and somewhat distant, while often pulsating with hot, vibrant colors.”

 


Habitat Puerto Rico site model. | Courtesy Safdie Architects; DAVID HARTT, “Carolina I,” 2017 (archival pigment print mounted to Dibond). | Courtesy of Corbett vs. Dempsey and commissioned by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

 
“David Hartt: In the Forest” @ Graham Foundation, Madlener House, Chicago | Sept. 14, 2017-Jan. 6, 2018

This multi-part installation continues David Hartt’s investigation into the relationship between “ideology, architecture, and the environment.” In a new commission, Hartt revisits architect Moshe Safdie’s unfinished 1968 Habitat Puerto Rico project, an experimental housing development designed to provide 800 low-cost homes for moderate-income families. The innovative design called for “a system of stacked prefabricated concrete modules cascading down an undeveloped hill in the densely populated Hato Rey neighborhood of San Juan.” Fifty years later, the artist returns to the site capturing the remains of the project for a meditative film included in the exhibition. Hartt’s installation is particularly relevant given the destruction in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

Hartt is giving a talk about the installation on Oct. 18.

 


TARIKU SHIFERAW, “Duck Seazon (Wu-Tang),” 2017 | via Addis Fine Art

 
“Tariku Shiferaw: Erase Me” @ Addis Fine Art Project Space, London | Sept. 14-Oct. 8, 2017

Taking its title from a Kid Cudi song, this exhibition features “One of These Black Boys,” a series of new paintings by Ethiopian-born, Brooklyn-based Tariku Shiferaw. According to the gallery, the series “interrogates the concept of mark-making both physically and metaphysically. Using titles of songs from Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae music, these paintings embody both the experiences and struggles expressed through music by Black artists. The topics range from expressions of being black bodies in a white social construct to expressions of romance and sex.”

 


“Radical Women” was organized “to reappraise the contribution of Latin American women artists and those of Latino and Chicano heritage in the United States to contemporary art.” | Video by Hammer Museum

 
“Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985” @ Hammer Museum, Los Angeles | Sept. 15-Dec. 31, 2017

This exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA and was organized to give unprecedented visibility women artists working in Latin America and U.S.-born women artists of Latino heritage. Representing 15 countries, more than 100 artists whose practices span photography, video, and other experimental mediums, are included.

 


PHILEMONA WILLIAMSON, “Limbs,” 2016 (oil on linen). | via Montclair Art Museum

 
“Philemona Williamson: Metaphorical Narratives” @ Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, N.J. | Sept. 16, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018

Philemona Williamson’s first museum retrospective is being presented at her hometown museum. Based in Upper Montclair, N.J., Williamson’s colorful paintings often feature floating doll-like figures conveying elusive ideas and emotions, leaving the viewer to guess at the meaning and significance of the “enigmatic and evocative” images. The exhibition features 20 paintings spanning her career from 1988 to the present, along with two site-specific installations.

“I paint figures depicting individuals of varying ethnicities inhabiting timeless, invented, dream-like environments, I probe the psychological landscape of adolescence, blurring the lines between race, gender, and class.” — Philemona Williamson


Installation view of “Dimensions of Black,” Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, UC Davis, 2017 (From left, Details of Gary Simmons, “Gazebo,” 1997; Kori Newkirk, “Glint,” 2005.) | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

 
Dimensions of Black” @ Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis | Sept. 17-Dec. 28, 2017

This exhibition was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and features art from collections of MCA San Diego and UC Davis. More than 30 works—in a range of mediums spanning the 1960s to present—document the legacy and perspectives of African American artists, many who have a direct connection to California—including James Crosby, Charles Gaines, Kerry James Marshall, Kori Newkirk, Gary Simmons, Henry Taylor, Horace Washington, and Charles White. The presentation intends to surface stories about “intergenerational knowledge transfer, multidisciplinary dialogues, and institutional critique.”

 


PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA, “Studio (0X5A0173),” 2017 (archival pigment print, 75 x 50 inches, edition of five). | via Team Bungalow

 
“Paul Mpagi Sepuya: Dark Room” @ Team (Bungalow), Venice, Calif. | Sept. 17-Oct. 22, 2017

Paul Mpagi Sepuya is presenting a series of photographic portraits featuring male friends, lovers, and peers. In some instances Sepuya himself is the subject. The Los Angeles-based photographer “has produced a series of new images that interrogate and challenge the history and nature of photographic portraiture from a queer, black perspective. For Sepuya, his medium is as much about disclosure as concealment, the role of the photographer ultimately one of control. Central to his practice is the undisguised and frequently experimental use of mirrors, which draws the viewer’s attention to the images’ photographic artifice, complicating the experience of looking at a subject, while also engendering a mystifying effect.

 


LATOYA RUBY FRAZIER, “Sandra Gould Ford sitting on the Bank of the Monongahela River in Braddock, PA,” 2017. | Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome

 
LaToya Ruby Frazier in Two Parts: Notion of Family @ Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh | Sept. 21-Nov. 18, 2017; On the Making of Steel Genesis: Sandra Gould Ford @ August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh | Sept. 22-Dec. 31, 2017

LaToya Ruby Frazier is presenting two photography exhibitions in Pittsburgh, not too far from where she grew up. At Silver Eye’s new Penn Gallery, she is showing images from her seminal series (and book) “The Notion of Family.” Both political and personal, the photographs document the parallel decline of her family and Braddock, Pa., her hometown where steel mills have employed generations, and also wreaked havoc on their health, environment, and economic well-being. At the August Wilson Center, Frazier is collaborating with fellow artist Sandra Gould Ford, who is also from Southwestern Pennsylvania. The exhibition explores Ford’s life and work through photographs, writings, documents, and videos. Frazier printed many of the images in the show as “cyanotypes, a 19th century photographic process that renders images in shades of blue, referencing an architect’s blueprint and the idea of ‘blue collar’ work.”

 


ELLEN GALLAGHER, “Abu Simbel,” 2005 (photogravure, watercolor, colored pencil, varnish, pomade, plasticine, blue fur, gold leaf, and crystals). | Published by Two Palms, New York, Edition: 25. © Ellen Gallagher. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Image © 2016 Ellen Gallagher

 
“Black Pulp!” @ Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University, Middleton, Conn. | Sept. 19-Dec. 19, 2017

Curated by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson, this exhibition “showcases the unique power of pulp and printed matter to contest dominant cultural narratives” and features a range of works—comic books, magazine, etchings, digital prints, and drawings—spanning 1912 to 2016 by 21 intergenerational artists of African descent.

 


STEVE MCQUEEN, “Ashes,” 2002-2015 (double video projection). | via The Whitworth

 
“Steve McQueen: Ashes” @ The Whitworth, University of Manchester, UK | Sept. 22, 2017-March 2018

The Whitworth recently acquired “Ashes” by British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. Exploring both despair and hope, McQueen presents the story of a young Caribbean man in an “immersive projection with sound.” The film pairs Super 8 footage shot in 2002 with audio captured recently in Grenada.

 


WANGECHI MUTU, “Water Woman,” 2017 (Bronze, 36 x 65 x 70 inches, Edition 2 of 3, with 2 AP), Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2017. | Artwork © Wangechi Mutu. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons, Courtesy The Contemporary Austin

 
Wangechi Mutu @ The Contemporary Austin, Jones Center, Austin, Texas | Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018

In 2016, Wangechi Mutu’s work was transformed. The Kenyan-born artist, who splits her time between New York and Nairobi, opened a studio in the East African capital and transitioned away from two-dimensional work to primarily three-dimensional sculputure. Composed of indigenous materials including clay, soil, and “coal-like paper pulp,” the works tap “into the spiritual and supernatural, the ancient and primordial, and the terrestrial and cosmological.” Mutu is presenting these new and existing works in her first solo exhibition in Austin, where she is also introducing a new edition of “Throw,” a performance painting.

 


FRANK BOWLING, “5 Petal Flow for Keith Critchlow,” 2012 (acrylic on canvas). | via Mark Selwyn Fine Art

 
Frank Bowling @ Mark Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles | Sept. 23-Nov. 4, 2017

Guyana-born Frank Bowling splits his time between London and New York. This exhibition reflects the arc of the artist’s practice, from his mid-1970s poured paintings to his more recent Abstract Expressionist canvases characterized by “a wider diversity of technique and composition.” Another exhibition, “Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi,” remains on view at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany through January 2018. Meanwhile, a five-decade retrospective of Bowling’s career is planned for 2019 at the Tate Britain.

“I was not allowed to explore the paint possibilities. Every time I did a group of pictures, it had to be nailed down within this black dilemma or political or Caribbean dilemma. It could not be taken as art qua art; it had to be socio-political or socio-anthropological. All of those disciplines kept getting in the way of my effort to be a painter, so I had to be constantly on the move. That’s what is happening in the work.” — Frank Bowling


PAUL STEPHEN BENJAMIN is a Working Artist Project Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia | via MOCA GA

 
“WAP: Paul Stephen Benjamin” @ Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Atlanta | Sept. 23-Nov. 18, 2017

Conceptual artist Paul Stephen Benjamin’s practice is defined by the color black. Working in a range of mediums, including large-scale mixed-media sculptures and video installations, he considers the complex nature of blackness, harnessing the color to wage discussions about identity, race, and masculinity. A Working Artist Project Fellow at MOCA Georgia, Benjamin is presenting new works in this exhibition and is giving a talk at the museum on Oct. 26.

 


KAHLIL JOSEPH, “Fly Paper,” 2017 (still, HD video installation, sound). | Courtesy the artist via New Museum

 
“Kahlil Joseph: Shadow Play” @ New Museum, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 27, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018

Los Angeles-based Kahlil Joseph makes transcendent, captivating short films in which music generally plays a powerful role. The museum describes his works as having the “lush and impressionistic quality of dreams with particular reverence for quotidian moments and intimate scenes.” For his first solo presentation in New York, Joseph is debuting “Fly Paper,” a film installation inspired by the work of Roy Decarava (1919-2009).

 


ANDRES SERRANO, “Untitled X-1, Untitled X-2, Untitled X-3,” 2015 (chromogenic print). | via Jack Shainman Gallery

 
“Andres Serrano: Torture” @ Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 28-Nov. 4, 2017

The gallery describes Andres Serrano’s career as “influential and transgressive.” Exploring sex, sexuality, violence, faith, and celebrity, his provocative images push the limits of contemporary photography and ethics. His recent torture series “unflinchingly examines the relationship between trauma and memory, violence and representation.” The photographs reference detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and Irish “Hooded Men” who were abused by the British army in 1971. Serrano’s torture images are concurrently on view at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston through Oct. 8.

 


MICKALENE THOMAS, “Shinique: Now I Know,” 2015 (mixed-media, rhinestone, acrylic, and oil on wood panel). | © Mickalene Thomas via Moody Center

 
“Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star” @ Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston | Sept. 28, 2017-Jan. 13, 2018

This traveling exhibition presents the arc of Mickalene Thomas’s practice, exploring her interpretation of black female beauty, power, identity, and sexuality through paintings, collages, prints, and mixed-media works, as well as photography and film. The exhibition is anchored by an room-sized tableau, an immersive environment designed by Thomas where her documentary film tribute to her mother, “Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman” (2012), is screened.

 


TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK, “Bloodshot Eyes, Trippy Patterning, Red, Green, and Yellow Coloration, Yep, This Piece is About Traffic Lights,” 2016 (acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 30.5 x 40 inches). | Collection of Leigh and Reggie Smith, Houston, Texas via Art League Houston

 
“Trenton Doyle Hancock: Texas: 1997 – 2017,” Rice Gallery Space, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston | Sept. 29-Nov. 17, 2017

Trenton Doyle Hancock is Art League Houston’s 2017 Artist of the Year. The Houston-based artist is presenting more than 50 works in a range of mediums, including mixed-media, painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. According to the league, the works “highlight a vast cross section of materials and textures that not only trace the development of the artist’s epic narrative, but also mark the significant evolutions within the artist’s dynamic and imaginative art-making practice.” PLEASE NOTE: This exhibition was relocated from the Art League Houston, which sustained significant damage in Hurricane Harvey.

 


NORMAN LEWIS, “Afternoon,” 1969 (oil on canvas, 72 x 88 inches). | Collection of Pamela Joyner, © Estate of Norman Lewis, Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY. Photo Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago via Ogden Museum

 
“Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner Guiffrida Collection” @ Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans | Sept. 30, 2017-Jan. 21, 2018

Following the publication last fall of “Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art,” which documents Joyner/Giuffrida collection, this show draws from the private holdings, presenting work from the 1940s to the present. The exhibition “celebrates the achievement of individual artists, the collective history told by their art, and the social changes that have changed the way we understand art history in the broadest sense.” The following artists are included: Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Leonardo Drew, Melvin Edwards, Charles Gaines, Sam Gilliam, Jennie C. Jones, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Shinique Smith, Tavares Strachan, Jack Whitten, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. CT

 

TOP IMAGE: JENNIFER PACKER, “Tenderheaded,” Installation view 2017. | Courtesy the artist and Corvi-Mora, London. Photo by Tom Van Eynde via Renaissance Society