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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.

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Alma Thomas's Hometown Museum in Columbus, Ga., Plans a Major Retrospective

Alma Thomas’s Hometown Museum in Columbus, Ga., Plans a Major Retrospective

Alma Thomas with her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. | Courtesy Archives of American Art   LARGELY KNOWN AS A WASHINGTON, D.C,-BASED ARTIST who dedicated herself to her practice full-time late in life, Alma Thomas (1891-1978) is recognized for her abstract compositions, exuberant works defined by rhythmic pattern and vibrant color. The...
The Month in African American Art: Here’s What Happened in March 2018

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

  The following review of March 2018 presents a snapshot of the latest news in African American art and related culture:   NEWS | The Fifth Avenue building that housed the Studio Museum in Harlem when it was founded in 1968 is being razed. | Photo by Elizabeth Dee Gallery via Artforum   NEWS When...
Early Work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby Tops Sotheby's Second Sale Devoted to African Modern & Contemporary Art

Early Work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby Tops Sotheby’s Second Sale Devoted to African Modern & Contemporary Art

AN ANDY-WARHOL-STYLE PORTRAIT made by Njideka Akunyili Crosby while she was in graduate school sold for more than twice its estimate at Sotheby’s London this week. The auction house held its second sale dedicated to Modern & Contemporary African Art on March 28, and “À La Warhol,” a four-image self-portrait by the Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based...
National Portrait Gallery: Titus Kaphar and Ken Gonzales-Day Explore 'UnSeen' Narratives in Historic Portraiture

National Portrait Gallery: Titus Kaphar and Ken Gonzales-Day Explore ‘UnSeen’ Narratives in Historic Portraiture

  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hanging half loose from its stretcher, a portrait of Thomas Jefferson reveals an image of a black woman behind it. It’s a provocative juxtaposition that raises a question about the relationship between the two subjects. Her hair is covered while her partially shown shoulder and leg are bare. She is brown-skinned...
Los Angeles Artist Henry Taylor Made a Series of Paintings as He Traveled the Globe, the New Works are Now on View in Tokyo

Los Angeles Artist Henry Taylor Made a Series of Paintings as He Traveled the Globe, the New Works are Now on View in Tokyo

HENRY TAYLOR, “Ghanaian #3,” 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 15.75 x 11.75 x .75 inches, 40 x 29.8 x 1.9 centimeters). | © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo   GLOBETROTTING OVER THE PAST YEAR, Henry Taylor spent time in Europe, Africa, and Cuba. All the while he was...
The Atlantic Explores Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Through a Contemporary Lens, with Contributions From Artists LaToya Ruby Frazier and Kara Walker

The Atlantic Explores Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Through a Contemporary Lens, with Contributions From Artists LaToya Ruby Frazier and Kara Walker

KARA WALKER, “Dr. King,” 2015   THE YEAR 2018 coincides with many historic milestones. It’s been a half century since the Studio Museum in Harlem was founded, the Chicago artist collective AFRICOBRA was formed, Olympic track athletes raised their fists at the Mexico City games in a stand for racial justice, and the Kerner Commission...
New ART21 Film Documents Jack Whitten in the Studio Working on His Last Painting

New ART21 Film Documents Jack Whitten in the Studio Working on His Last Painting

  LAST OCTOBER, ART21 collaborated with Jack Whitten (1939-2018) on a short film about his life and work. Shot in his studio, “An Artist’s Life: Jack Whitten” captures him making a painting titled “Quantum Wall, VIII (For Arshile Gorky, My First Love In Painting),” as he explains his innovative methods and techniques. He also talks...
Sotheby's Contemporary Auctions: Exploring Tension Between Security and Exclusion, Hurvin Anderson Painting Tops $1 Million

Sotheby’s Contemporary Auctions: Exploring Tension Between Security and Exclusion, Hurvin Anderson Painting Tops $1 Million

Lot 11: HURVIN ANDERSON, “Some People (Welcome Series),” 2004 (oil on canvas, 150 by 232 cm. 59 by 91 3/8 inches). | Estimate £600,000—£800,000 ($832,560-$1,110,080). | Sold for £850,000 ($1,179,460) Hammer Price – £1,029,000 GBP ($1,427,840) including fees   A SIGNIFICANT PAINTING by Hurvin Anderson topped $1 million at Sotheby’s London on March 7. A...
Auction Record: Lorna Simpson 'Cloud' Work Sets New Benchmark for the Artist

Auction Record: Lorna Simpson ‘Cloud’ Work Sets New Benchmark for the Artist

LORNA SIMPSON, “Cloud,” 2005.   FEATURING AN ICONIC CLOUD ELEMENT, a major work by Lorna Simpson sold for $70,000 ($87,500 including fees) at Sotheby’s New York earlier this month. The price was an artist record, according Ask Art, Art Price, and Sotheby’s auction results. “Cloud,” a 2005 serigraph printed on felt in nine parts was...
Amy Sherald is Joining Hauser & Wirth, the Mega-Gallery Announced its Worldwide Representation of the Baltimore-Based Artist

Amy Sherald is Joining Hauser & Wirth, the Mega-Gallery Announced its Worldwide Representation of the Baltimore-Based Artist

  HAUSER & WIRTH ANNOUNCED its representation of Amy Sherald March 20. The Baltimore-based artist paints imaginative portraits of ordinary African Americans. She recently took on a well-known subject for the first time when she was commissioned to paint First Lady Michelle Obama whose portrait was unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on Feb....
The Broad Acquires Mark Bradford's Record-Setting 'Helter Skelter I,' Along with Works by Julie Mehretu, Kerry James Marshall

The Broad Acquires Mark Bradford’s Record-Setting ‘Helter Skelter I,’ Along with Works by Julie Mehretu, Kerry James Marshall

Detail of Mark Bradford’s “Helter Skelter I” (2007).   ART MARKET HISTORY WAS MADE earlier this month when “Helter Skelter I,” a monumental painting by Mark Bradford sold for $10.4 million (nearly $12 million, including fees) at Phillips London. The price was the highest-ever achieved at auction for a work by a living African American...
'Unanswerable': Lorna Simpson's London Exhibition Charts Her Subconscious and Embrace of New Mediums

‘Unanswerable’: Lorna Simpson’s London Exhibition Charts Her Subconscious and Embrace of New Mediums

Lorna Simpson: In The Studio. | Video by Hauser & Wirth   OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS OR SO, Lorna Simpson has transformed her practice. An accomplished conceptual photographer, she is now a formidable painter, who is newly expressing herself through sculpture. Since the mid-1980s, Brooklyn-based Simpson has challenged conventional notions of gender, identity, history,...
National Museum of Women in the Arts Acquires Two Works by Mildred Thompson, the Late Artist Known for Her Energetic Abstractions

National Museum of Women in the Arts Acquires Two Works by Mildred Thompson, the Late Artist Known for Her Energetic Abstractions

MILDRED THOMPSON, “Magnetic Fields,” 1990   THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS celebrated the birthday of Mildred Thompson (1936-2003) with the announcement of two acquisitions. Under-recognized in her lifetime, the Atlanta-based artist worked in abstraction, making paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture. Thompson was featured prominently in “Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to...
Art & Commerce: Scenes From the Armory Show 2018

Art & Commerce: Scenes From the Armory Show 2018

Works by Emma Amos at Ryan Lee Gallery, Armory Show 2018   NEW YORK CITY WAS FLUSH with art fairs over the weekend and The Armory Show was the central attraction. Solo exhibitions featuring Sanford Biggers at David Castillo Gallery, Emma Amos at Ryan Lee Gallery, and Simphiwe Ndzube at Nicodim Gallery were among the...