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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.

Zoé Whitley Tapped as Director of London's Chisenhale Gallery

Zoé Whitley Tapped as Director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery

  CHISENHALE GALLERY in London’s East End has hired Zoé Whitley as its next leader. An American curator, over nearly two decades, Whitley has built a formidable career based in London, producing insightful, innovative, and inclusive exhibitions and programming at major UK museums and galleries. Whitley has been serving as...
Culture Talk: Collector Pamela Joyner on the Artists Defining the History and Shaping the Future of Black Abstract Art

Culture Talk: Collector Pamela Joyner on the Artists Defining the History and Shaping the Future of Black Abstract Art

  SINCE 1999, PAMELA J. JOYNER and Alfred J. Giuffrida have focused their collecting on abstract art by artists of African descent. Nearing 100 artists, the collection is documented in a hefty volume, “Four Generations: The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art,” and a traveling exhibition. After touring four...
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Extraordinary Frederick Douglass Archive Inspired an Exhibition and Ceremonial Tribute Staged by Artist Raphaël Barontini

Extraordinary Frederick Douglass Archive Inspired an Exhibition and Ceremonial Tribute Staged by Artist Raphaël Barontini

The exhibition “Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom” at the SCAD Museum of Art was accompanied by “The Golden March,” a special commission by artist Raphaël Barontini composed of a marching band performance and site-specific installations. | Photography Courtesy of SCAD   SAVANNAH, GA.—Carrying flags and banners bearing the image of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the Savannah...
Faith Ringgold Painting Covers Artforum, Inside Kerry James Marshall Writes About 'Black Artists in Unexpected Places'

Faith Ringgold Painting Covers Artforum, Inside Kerry James Marshall Writes About ‘Black Artists in Unexpected Places’

  PICASSO’S “GUERNICA” (1937) is admired and respected by many artists, including Kerry James Marshall and Faith Ringgold. In 1980, Marshall’s first trip to New York—and first flight on an airplane—was made expressly to see the grand work on loan from Spain at the Museum of Modern Art. Ringgold has described “Guernica” as her favorite...
Jacob Lawrence's 30-Panel American History 'Struggle' Series Reunited for First Time at Peabody Essex Museum

Jacob Lawrence’s 30-Panel American History ‘Struggle’ Series Reunited for First Time at Peabody Essex Museum

REBELLIOUS, DEMOCRATIC, AND COMPLEX. That’s how trailblazing artist Jacob Lawrence saw America. Before he ever put paintbrush to panel, Lawrence spent five years conducting research for what would become one of his most ambitious bodies of work, Struggle: From the History of the American People. This 30-panel narrative epic told a version of American history...
Culture Type Picks: 14 Best Black Art Books of 2019

Culture Type Picks: 14 Best Black Art Books of 2019

  BLACK ARTISTS spanning generations are receiving more and more critical recognition and opportunities. Some of the most compelling illustrated art books published in 2019 are monographs contributing to the much-deserved and in many cases long-overdue attention of individual artists. New volumes are dedicated to Kwame Braithwaite, Robert Colescott, Lubaina Himid, Suzanne Jackson, and Julie...
Kerry James Marshall's 'Past Times' Painting Was Among Stars at Lavish 50th Birthday Party of Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs

Kerry James Marshall’s ‘Past Times’ Painting Was Among Stars at Lavish 50th Birthday Party of Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs

  BEFORE HE TURNED 50, Grammy award-winning music producer, entertainment mogul, and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs bought the most expensive painting by a living African American artist at auction. Earlier this month, Combs threw himself a huge 50th birthday bash and the painting, “Past Times” (1997) by Kerry James Marshall, served as a backdrop for...
On the Rise: 47 Curators and Arts Leaders Who Took on New Appointments in 2019

On the Rise: 47 Curators and Arts Leaders Who Took on New Appointments in 2019

  BLACK CURATORS have risen to significant positions at important institutions in the United States and internationally over the past year. In a field where people of color have historically been underrepresented, this 2019 listing of new curatorial and arts leadership appointments demonstrates the growing influence of people of African descent in the visual arts....
On View: Vanessa German, 'Trampoline: Resilience & Black Body & Soul' at Fort Gansevoort in New York

On View: Vanessa German, ‘Trampoline: Resilience & Black Body & Soul’ at Fort Gansevoort in New York

    CANDID, HARSH, AND IMAGINATIVE, Vanessa German‘s mixed-media sculptures, assemblages, and wall-mounted altars are rich with narrative. Created to gird against the daily violence and indignities endured by black and brown people, her Power Figures possess joy, love, and soul protection. Pittsburgh-based German is a performance artist and activist who paints, sculpts and writes....
Lonnie G. Bunch III Officially Installed as 14th Secretary of Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch III Officially Installed as 14th Secretary of Smithsonian Institution

  IT’S OFFICIAL. Lonnie G. Bunch III was installed as the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on Nov. 1. The ceremony was presided over by John G. Roberts Jr., chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, who serves as chancellor of the Smithsonian. Roberts presented Bunch with a ceremonial brass key, a symbolic...
Using His Camera as an Instrument, Frank Stewart Has Been Hanging with Jazz Musicians for Five Decades

Using His Camera as an Instrument, Frank Stewart Has Been Hanging with Jazz Musicians for Five Decades

  MILES DAVIS HOLDING COURT with the press after a performance at Lincoln Center is one of Frank Stewart’s more well-known photographs. A camera flash shines bright aimed at Davis who is perched against a wall on the opposite side of the room, elevated slightly just above everyone, his shadow cast behind him. Stewart shot...
On View: 'Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections' at Detroit Institute of Arts

On View: ‘Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections’ at Detroit Institute of Arts

AARON DOUGLAS, “Study for Haitian Mural, Wilmington, Delaware,” 1942 (oil on board). | Lent by Wilson A. and Deborah Fl. Copeland and Lauren F. C. N’Namdi   WHILE ATTENTION is often paid to patrons of the arts in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, for generations, the city of Detroit has had a significant...
Acting in Solidarity, Four Artists Including Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo Share 2019 Turner Prize

Acting in Solidarity, Four Artists Including Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo Share 2019 Turner Prize

  FOR THE FIRST TIME in its 35-year history, the Turner Prize was awarded to more than one artist. Helen Cammock and Oscar Murillo were among four artists shortlisted for the British art prize. On Dec. 3, it was awarded jointly to Cammock, Murillo, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and Tai Shani in the wake of their...
Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Selections Inspired by African American Artists From Betye Saar to Nick Cave and Kehinde Wiley

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Selections Inspired by African American Artists From Betye Saar to Nick Cave and Kehinde Wiley

  MANY POPULAR AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTISTS are making versions of their work more accessible through objects and products sold at museums and other outlets. A box of artist-inspired notecards, an artful calendar, or a new coffee table book makes the perfect gift. In November, “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”...
Celebrating African American Art Every Month of the Year, 2020 Calendars Showcase Charles White, Ernie Barnes, Alma Thomas, Basquiat and Bearden

Celebrating African American Art Every Month of the Year, 2020 Calendars Showcase Charles White, Ernie Barnes, Alma Thomas, Basquiat and Bearden

  OVER THE PAST YEAR, an “African American Art” wall calendar has featured a succession of 19th and 20th century artists, each month showcasing works by William H. Johnson, Robert S. Duncanson, and James A. Porter, among others. Expressing support for Angela Davis, Charles White‘s “Love Letter” (1971) presided over October and this month Laura...
Fall Galas: Museums are Honoring the Young and Old and Bringing Artists Together Across Disciplines

Fall Galas: Museums are Honoring the Young and Old and Bringing Artists Together Across Disciplines

  IT’S GALA SEASON and museums have been hosting star-studded fetes honoring artists and raising funds to support their programs and venues. Artist Rashid Johnson was honored at Performa 19’s opening night gala, paid tribute to a fellow artist at the Dia Art Foundation, and co-chaired the Guggenheim Museum’s gala. (He serves as a trustee...