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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.

Painting Power, Capturing Character: Smithsonian Unveils Official Obama Portraits

Painting Power, Capturing Character: Smithsonian Unveils Official Obama Portraits

  WASHINGTON, DC—There are many ways to define and depict power. When President Obama’s portrait was unveiled Monday, it was a reminder that leadership, command, and influence, can be inspiring and reassuring, powerful and black. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of the former president artfully captures the man and the symbol. The...
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Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Exhibition Posters for the Art Lovers on Your List

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Exhibition Posters for the Art Lovers on Your List

AN EXHIBITION POSTER featuring “Bid ‘Em In/Slave (Angie)” by Barkley Hendricks (1945-2017) was produced on the occasion of “Black Fire: A Constant State of Revolution,” a 2015-16 group show at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Neb. I discovered the poster last spring, shortly after the artist died. The image features a female subject...
Meeting of Minds: Times Style Magazine Brings Together Jay Z, Artist Henry Taylor, and Editor Dean Baquet

Meeting of Minds: Times Style Magazine Brings Together Jay Z, Artist Henry Taylor, and Editor Dean Baquet

  JAY Z IS FEATURED on the latest cover of T magazine, the New York Times style publication. A painting by Henry Taylor, the portrait of the rapper, music mogul, and business man illustrates a wide-ranging interview conducted by Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the Times. The newspaper’s top editor doesn’t often stray from...
Holiday Gift Guide 2017: 14 New Books for the Photography Lovers on Your List

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: 14 New Books for the Photography Lovers on Your List

EXCEPTIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS tell amazing stories. Through images by and about people of African descent, a number of recently published volumes further reveal the personalities, places, cultures and issues that have captured our imaginations and surface others largely overlooked. Must haves for the photography enthusiasts on your gift list, these titles span fine art, documentary, and...
Jordan Casteel's Portraits Bring Visibility to Black Men in Harlem

Jordan Casteel’s Portraits Bring Visibility to Black Men in Harlem

  BIGGIE SMALLS APPEARS ON THE COVER of the latest edition of Frieze magazine. The slain rapper is wearing one of his signature Cosby sweaters, a gold chain and dark shades. His image is emblazoned on a red hoodie worn by Quentin, an African American man who is the subject of a painting by Jordan...
Chicago Artist Barbara Jones-Hogu, a Founding Member of AfriCOBRA, Has Died

Chicago Artist Barbara Jones-Hogu, a Founding Member of AfriCOBRA, Has Died

BARBARA JONES-HOGU, “Unite (First State),” 1969 (screenprint). | © Barbara Jones-Hogu, Courtesy Lusenhop Fine Art   THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT has lost a central figure. Barbara Jones-Hogu (1938-2017), a founding member of the artist collective AfriCOBRA, died Nov. 14. The Chicago artist, educator, and filmmaker, was 79. Recognized for her political, pro-Black images combining figuration...
Auction Record: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting Sells for More Than $1.5 million at Sotheby's, Shattering Artist's Previous High Mark

Auction Record: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Painting Sells for More Than $1.5 million at Sotheby’s, Shattering Artist’s Previous High Mark

“The Hours Behind You” (2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye   A MESMERIZING IMAGE of five black women attracted record-breaking interest at Sotheby’s New York on Nov. 16. “The Hours Behind You” (2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye sold for $1,575,000 (including fees), a world record for the British-Ghanaian painter, according to Sotheby’s sales results. Estimated to attract bids...
Survey: The Latest News in African American Art and Beyond, Nov. 19, 2017

Survey: The Latest News in African American Art and Beyond, Nov. 19, 2017

Barbara Jones-Hogu (1938-2017). | Photo by David Lusenhop   SURVEY is a review of the latest news and happenings related to visual art by and about people of African descent, with the occasional nod to cultural matters. THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT has lost a significant figure. A founding member of the artist collective AfriCOBRA, Barbara...
Lyle Ashton Harris Joins Salon 94, the Multidisciplinary Artist Has a New Gallery and a New Book

Lyle Ashton Harris Joins Salon 94, the Multidisciplinary Artist Has a New Gallery and a New Book

  FOLLOWING HIS PARTICIPATION in the 2017 Whitney Biennial earlier this year, Lyle Ashton Harris has a new gallery and a new monograph. This week, Salon 94 announced its representation of the New York-based artist whose latest book, “Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs: Selections from the Ektachrome Archive,” was just published by Aperture....
Auction Record: Kerry James Marshall's Imaginative Portrait of Harriet Tubman Reaches $5 million at Christie's New York

Auction Record: Kerry James Marshall’s Imaginative Portrait of Harriet Tubman Reaches $5 million at Christie’s New York

  A TENDER AND REVOLUTIONARY PORTRAIT of Harriet Tubman by Kerry James Marshall sold for more than $5 million last night at Christie’s New York. Titled “Still Life with Wedding Portrait,” the painting depicts the abolitionist posing with her first husband John Tubman. Interest in the 2015 painting far exceeded its $1 million to $1.5...
November Exhibitions: 18 New Shows Feature African American Artists Nick Cave, Ellen Gallagher, Sam Gilliam, Mark Bradford, Nina Chanel Abney, Kehinde Wiley, and More

November Exhibitions: 18 New Shows Feature African American Artists Nick Cave, Ellen Gallagher, Sam Gilliam, Mark Bradford, Nina Chanel Abney, Kehinde Wiley, and More

“White River Fish Kill” (2017) by Nina Chanel Abney.   PROSPECT.4 OPENS TO THE PUBLIC on Saturday. The international triennial features major exhibitions and inventive installations by more than 70 artists, including prominent artists of African descent, the late Barkley L. Hendricks, Derrick Adams, John Akomfrah, Hank Willis Thomas, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kahlil Joseph, Odili...
Auction Record: 2009 Painting by Titus Kaphar Sets New Benchmark at Phillips New York

Auction Record: 2009 Painting by Titus Kaphar Sets New Benchmark at Phillips New York

  A SCULPTURAL PAINTING by Titus Kaphar set an artist record today. “Tina Vesper,” a portrait of a Reconstruction-era woman who could pass for white, is partially shrouded with un-stretched canvas. The 2009 painting sold for $40,000 (including fees) at Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Art Day Sale in New York, exceeding its estimate of...
Annual List of Top 100 Art World Power Players Includes Notable Rankings for Thelma Golden, African American Artists

Annual List of Top 100 Art World Power Players Includes Notable Rankings for Thelma Golden, African American Artists

From left, Curator Thelma Golden. | Photo © Julie Skarratt; Artist Kara Walker. | Photo by Paul Zimmerman, Getty Images   THELMA GOLDEN IS THE EIGHTH most powerful person in the art world, according to Art Review. The London-based international contemporary art magazine published its 2017 Power 100 list of the most influential figures in...
Studio Museum in Harlem Announces 2018 Artists in Residence

Studio Museum in Harlem Announces 2018 Artists in Residence

From left, Sable Elyse Smith, Allison Janae Hamilton, and Tschabalala Self.   THREE WOMEN ARTISTS will be in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem during its 50th anniversary year. The museum announced Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self, and Sable Elyse Smith are its 2018 artists in residence. Their residency begins in early April 2018....
Survey: The Latest News in African American Art and Beyond, Nov. 8, 2017

Survey: The Latest News in African American Art and Beyond, Nov. 8, 2017

SURVEY is a review of the latest news and happenings related to visual art by and about people of African descent, with the occasional nod to cultural matters. SEVERAL MAJOR EXHIBITION featuring African American artists are opening this week including Mark Bradford at the Hirshhorn Museum, Nick Cave at the Frist Center, Nina Chanel Abney...