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An exploration of black art through vintage and contemporary books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type shares invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.
Culture Talks
Culture Talk: Arnold Lehman on Curating 'American African American,' a Selling Exhibition at Phillips London

Culture Talk: Arnold Lehman on Curating ‘American African American,’ a Selling Exhibition at Phillips London

  AMONG THE HALLMARKS of Arnold Lehman’s nearly two-decade tenure as director of the Brooklyn Museum was his focus on community engagement, popular culture, and the visibility of African American artists. After retiring in 2015, he transitioned from the museum world to the auction world, joining Phillips as a special adviser to the CEO, Edward...
Culture Talk: Kellie Jones Discusses 'South of Pico,' Her Recently Published Book About African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and '70s

Culture Talk: Kellie Jones Discusses ‘South of Pico,’ Her Recently Published Book About African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ’70s

Kellie Jones, author of “South of Pico.”   A DECADE AGO, Kellie Jones set out to write a book about African American artists in Los Angeles. The focus of her research was the 1960s and ’70s, a period when artists in the city were experimenting with materials and form, and mixing art with activism. Shortly...
Culture Talk: British Painter Hurvin Anderson on Personal and Political Histories

Culture Talk: British Painter Hurvin Anderson on Personal and Political Histories

HURVIN ANDERSON, “Rootstock,” 2016 (acrylic and oil on canvas). | Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery   MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, Hurvin Anderson was staying at a hotel in Montago Bay when he spotted some kids climbing a mango tree through the window. The image brought back vivid memories. The youngest of eight children, all of...
Culture Talk: Ian Berry on New Alma Thomas Exhibition Catalog, an Encyclopedic View of the Singular Artist

Culture Talk: Ian Berry on New Alma Thomas Exhibition Catalog, an Encyclopedic View of the Singular Artist

ALMA THOMAS, “End of Autumn,” 1968 (acrylic and graphite on canvas). | Collection of Richard Grossman and Adam Sheffer; Courtesy Studio Museum in Harlem   EXPLAINING HER CHOICE to focus on brightly hued abstract work, Alma Thomas (1891-1978) said in 1970: “Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on...
Backstory: Nina Chanel Abney Revisits Her First Major Painting, ‘Class of 2007’

Backstory: Nina Chanel Abney Revisits Her First Major Painting, ‘Class of 2007’

NINA CHANEL ABNEY, “Class of 2007,” 2007 (acrylic on canvas).   ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING PAINTINGS in the exhibition “30 Americans” is by Nina Chanel Abney. It’s a compelling work, depicting her MFA class at Parsons School of Design in New York. The artist envisions herself as a bespectacled, gun-toting blonde; Her classmates don...
Culture Talk: New Orleans Gallery Owner Stella Jones on 20 Years in the Art Business

Culture Talk: New Orleans Gallery Owner Stella Jones on 20 Years in the Art Business

Gallery owner Stella Jones with “Haiti Demain,” 1987 (mixed-media collage on canvas) by Lois Mailou Jones. | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine   NEW ORLEANS — FOR TWO DECADES, the Central Business District in New Orleans has been home to Stella Jones Gallery. It’s the namesake of a doctor, who turned her passion for collecting...
Culture Talk: Curator Lauren Haynes on Bringing the Colorful, Abstract Paintings of Alma Thomas to Harlem's Studio Museum

Culture Talk: Curator Lauren Haynes on Bringing the Colorful, Abstract Paintings of Alma Thomas to Harlem’s Studio Museum

ALMA THOMAS, “Snoopy Sees Earth Wrapped in Sunset,” 1970 (acrylic on canvas). | Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist; Courtesy Studio Museum in Harlem   AT A TIME WHEN MOST ARTISTS are in the sunset of their careers, Alma Thomas (1891-1978) was on the rise. Recognized for her expressive abstract paintings, her exuberant use...
Culture Talk: Curator Adrienne Edwards on Her New Exhibition 'Blackness in Abstraction'

Culture Talk: Curator Adrienne Edwards on Her New Exhibition ‘Blackness in Abstraction’

PACE GALLERY IS PRESENTING a few of Adrienne Edwards’s “favorite things.” It’s how the curator describes works by black contemporary artists about whom she writes and has a social and intellectual connection, and modern standouts with whom she has been “obsessed” over the course of her academic and professional career. A veteran curator at Performa...
Culture Talk: Courtney Willis Blair on Ryan Lee Gallery's Representation of Emma Amos

Culture Talk: Courtney Willis Blair on Ryan Lee Gallery’s Representation of Emma Amos

  AT THE REAR OF RYAN LEE GALLERY in New York, a 1966 painting by Emma Amos casually sits on the floor leaning against the wall between works by other gallery artists. Blending figuration and Abstract Expressionism, the canvas references Color Field painting and conjures Bob Thompson. The work bears little resemblance to the collage...
Culture Talk: Franklin Sirmans on Leading the Pérez Art Museum in Miami

Culture Talk: Franklin Sirmans on Leading the Pérez Art Museum in Miami

SIX WEEKS INTO HIS TENURE as director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Franklin Sirmans is adapting to his new role at the museum and new expectations for Art Basel Miami Beach. Previously, as department head and curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), he could duck in...
Culture Talk: Lauren Haynes on 'Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art'

Culture Talk: Lauren Haynes on ‘Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art’

A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE STUDIO MUSEUM in Harlem was inspired by the pluck of a young Chicago entrepreneur. When positive images of black people were absent from America’s most popular household magazines, John H. Johnson started his own. Fixtures on the coffee tables of countless black families across the country, Ebony and Jet served...
Culture Talk: Amalia Amaki on Collector Richard A. Long

Culture Talk: Amalia Amaki on Collector Richard A. Long

BEFORE SETTLING IN ATLANTA in 1968, Richard A. Long (1927-2013) visited Alain Locke’s home and viewed his art collection, sat for portraits in Paris with Beauford Delaney and directed the College Museum at Hampton Institute. In Atlanta, where he essentially became dean of the black arts community, Long founded the African American Studies program at...
Culture Talk: Bruce Talamon on Photographing David Hammons

Culture Talk: Bruce Talamon on Photographing David Hammons

FOUR DECADES AGO, WHILE DAVID HAMMONS was working in his Los Angeles studio making body prints and assemblages, and developing ideas for installations and performances, Bruce W. Talamon was nearby photographing every moment. He says the two met in 1974, before the artist moved to New York. Hammons had already gained some recognition. In 1971,...
Culture Talk: Duke Professor Richard J. Powell on Archibald Motley

Culture Talk: Duke Professor Richard J. Powell on Archibald Motley

THE NASHER MUSEUM OF ART at Duke University is infused with Chicago jazz and Paris blues. Since January 19, the museum has been exhibiting 45 paintings by Chicago artist Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891-1981). “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” presents a rare opportunity to experience the work of one of the 20th century’s most important...