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An essential resource focused on visual art from a Black perspective, Culture Type explores the intersection of art, history, and culture

Guggenheim Announces Major Appointment, Naming Naomi Beckwith Deputy Director and Chief Curator

Guggenheim Announces Major Appointment, Naming Naomi Beckwith Deputy Director and Chief Curator

THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM in New York has hired Naomi Beckwith to serve as deputy director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator. The announcement was made today by the museum’s director Richard Armstrong. It’s a major appointment that comes against the backdrop of select museums nationwide facing accusations...
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Iconic Lorna Simpson Portrait of Rihanna Covers January/February Essence Magazine

Iconic Lorna Simpson Portrait of Rihanna Covers January/February Essence Magazine

  FOR YEARS, Lorna Simpson has been recognized for her powerful and transporting collage portraits of Black women. Her subjects are usually anonymous. Her latest is one of the most recognizable women in the world—music, beauty, and fashion icon Rihanna. Essence magazine commissioned Brooklyn-based Simpson to make a series of portraits of Rihanna for its...
National Gallery of Art Makes 4 New Hires, Including First Curator of African American and Afro-Diasporic Art

National Gallery of Art Makes 4 New Hires, Including First Curator of African American and Afro-Diasporic Art

THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART (NGA) announced four new appointments today, including hires for three newly created positions. Kanitra Fletcher is the Washington, D.C., museum’s first-ever associate curator of African American and Afro-Diasporic art. Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Officer Mikka Gee Conway and Eric Bruce, head of visitor experience and evaluation, are also inaugurating...
Brenna Youngblood is Now Represented by Roberts Projects in Los Angeles

Brenna Youngblood is Now Represented by Roberts Projects in Los Angeles

  AFTER FEATURING TWO WORKS by Brenna Youngblood at Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach, the digital art fair held in December, Roberts Projects in Los Angeles announced its representation of the multidisciplinary artist yesterday. Youngblood expresses herself through abstraction and often integrates found objects and materials into her work, many with personal significance. Trained as...
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Hire Curator of African Art, Natasha Becker is First to Serve in Newly Created Position

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Hire Curator of African Art, Natasha Becker is First to Serve in Newly Created Position

THE FINE ARTS MUSEUMS of San Francisco (the de Young and Legion of Honor) expanded their curatorial team at the end of the year, hiring an inaugural curator of African art. Natasha Becker officially started at the Museums in the newly created role on Dec. 1. Working in the department of the arts of Africa,...
Culture Type: The Year in Black Art 2020, Key News, Exhibitions, Awards, and More That Defined Year

Culture Type: The Year in Black Art 2020, Key News, Exhibitions, Awards, and More That Defined Year

  Noah Davis at David Zwirner Gallery, NY   BLACK ARTISTS WON NUMEROUS AWARDS, joined major art galleries, and published lavishly illustrated books about their work in 2020. Early in the year, Christine Turner’s documentary “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business” screened at Sundance, an expansive survey of Los Angeles painter Noah Davis opened at...
Culture Type Picks: 15 Best Black Art Books of 2020

Culture Type Picks: 15 Best Black Art Books of 2020

  WITH MUSEUMS CLOSED and galleries shuttered for months on end in 2020, a succession of new art books focused on Black artists provided much needed solace, insights, and deep dives into the practices of up-and-coming artists and historic figures. When exhibitions dedicated to Kamoinge Workshop, Tyler Mitchell, Jordan Casteel, and Yvette Yiadom-Boakye were temporarily...
Coming Soon: 'Icons of Nature and History,' a Major Survey of David Driskell Opens at High Museum in Atlanta in February 2021

Coming Soon: ‘Icons of Nature and History,’ a Major Survey of David Driskell Opens at High Museum in Atlanta in February 2021

  A MAJOR TRAVELING SURVEY of David Driskell (1931-2020) opens at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in February 2021. “David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History” will present an overview of Driskell’s illustrious career and celebrate highlights of his oeuvre, across painting, printmaking and collage. About 60 paintings and works on paper will...
Titus Kaphar Explored Renaissance Christian Imagery and Presented a Black Jesus Painting in a Deconsecrated Church in Brussels

Titus Kaphar Explored Renaissance Christian Imagery and Presented a Black Jesus Painting in a Deconsecrated Church in Brussels

Gesù Church in Brussels   A DECONSECRATED CHURCH in Brussels, Belgium, served as the venue for a recent exhibition of religious paintings by Titus Kaphar. “The Evidence of Things Unseen” was presented by Maruani Mercier gallery at Gesù Church. Kaphar’s practice is a sustained interrogation of Western art. He challenges historic narratives and questions what...
Nina Chanel Abney Embraces the Great Outdoors in 'Idyllic Scenes of Blackness'

Nina Chanel Abney Embraces the Great Outdoors in ‘Idyllic Scenes of Blackness’

“Nina Chanel Abney: The Great Escape” at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.   A CAMPFIRE, BIKES, AND FRESHLY CAUGHT FISH have replaced the tumult and complexity of contemporary urban life that have animated Nina Chanel Abney‘s paintings in recent years. Her latest exhibition features rural scenes: farming, hunting, and kayaking. The graphic, boldly hued paintings...
On the Rise: 54 Curators and Arts Leaders Who Took on New Appointments in 2020

On the Rise: 54 Curators and Arts Leaders Who Took on New Appointments in 2020

  REGULAR OPERATIONS AT MUSEUMS and cultural institutions were disrupted this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector faced (and continues to contend with) temporary closures, severe financial losses, widespread layoffs, and racial reckonings. Against this backdrop and despite these challenges, dozens of Black curators were appointed to a variety of new posts this...
Sam Gilliam on His New Work at Pace Gallery: 'I Am Trying to Express Something That is Contemporary'

Sam Gilliam on His New Work at Pace Gallery: ‘I Am Trying to Express Something That is Contemporary’

  THE SIX-DECADE CAREER of Sam Gilliam has been defined by a commitment to color and a penchant for invention, innovation, and charting his own path. In the mid-1960s, Gilliam developed two new formats for presenting his work. He began wrapping his canvases on top of frames, creating his signature Beveled-Edge paintings. Then he removed...
Eclipsing $4 Million, Barkley L. Hendricks Painting 'Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami)' Sets New Auction Record at Sotheby's

Eclipsing $4 Million, Barkley L. Hendricks Painting ‘Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami)’ Sets New Auction Record at Sotheby’s

  A RECORD BREAKER opened Sotheby’s Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale last week. The first lot was a 1972 portrait by Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017). His subject in “Mr. Johnson (Sammy From Miami)” wears a football jersey and a red visor atop a vertically impressive afro. He’s holding a comb with a few...
'Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi' Exhibition Catalog Wins Publication Award

‘Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi’ Exhibition Catalog Wins Publication Award

  PUBLISHED TO DOCUMENT her solo exhibition at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta, “Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi” is the first major publication to explore the work of artist Deborah Roberts. It’s an exceptional volume and an award winner. “Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi” received a 2020 Mary Ellen...
Auction Record: Betye Saar's Mixed-Media Meditation on Black Education Sells for Nearly $82,000 at Sotheby's

Auction Record: Betye Saar’s Mixed-Media Meditation on Black Education Sells for Nearly $82,000 at Sotheby’s

  AN ASSEMBLAGE WORK by Betye Saar set a new artist record at auction recently. “ABCD Education” (2001) sold for $81,900 at an online sale hosted by Sotheby’s. The result was nearly three times the high estimate ($20,000-$30,000) setting a new benchmark. Saar’s work can be read as a meditation on Black education that comments...
Victoria Miro Gallery Now Represents Painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami

Victoria Miro Gallery Now Represents Painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami

Painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, 2019. | Photo © Jo Metson Scott   VICTORIA MIRO IN LONDON has added Kudzanai-Violet Hwami (b. 1993, Zimbabwe) to its roster. Hwami’s work explores themes of identity, displacement, the diaspora, and the Black body, often in the form of intimate nudes. Working with sourced images and family photographs, she makes figurative...
Amy Sherald Painting Skyrockets to Record-Setting $4.2 Million at Phillips, Works by 4 More Black Artists Set New Benchmarks

Amy Sherald Painting Skyrockets to Record-Setting $4.2 Million at Phillips, Works by 4 More Black Artists Set New Benchmarks

  A DOUBLE PORTRAIT by Amy Sherald set an astronomic new auction record Dec. 7 at Phillips New York. “Two Bathers” (2015) soared to $4,265,000 against a low-six figure estimate of $150,000-$200,000. The painting sold for about 20 times its high estimate with bidding ongoing for 15 minutes. “The Bathers” was the first lot in...