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A REVIEW OF THE WEEK’S NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE ART WORLD:

Mickalene Thomas Joins Kavi Gupta
Mickalene Thomas, the Brooklyn based artist known for her powerful mixed-media portraits of women and interiors, is expanding her footprint. She is now represented by Kavi Gupta in Chicago and Berlin. In a statement, Thomas’s newest dealer described her rhinestone-embellished works thus: “Drawing from a long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape and still life, Thomas’ political and pop-culturally infused imagery explores constructed notions of identity and the self. Her multi-referential work presents a complex viewpoint on what it means to be a contemporary woman.” Kavi Gupta boasts a roster of 17 artists including Theaster Gates and Glenn Kaino, along with Thomas, who continues to be represented in New York and Hong Kong by Lehmann Maupin, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in Southern California, and Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris and Brussels.

daby englishDarby English Named Consultant to MoMA
Recognizing his expertise in works by black artists, the Museum of Modern Art has hired Darby English (left) as a consulting curator to strengthen its holdings and exhibition programs in this area. English, will maintain his full-time role as the Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. English is the author of “How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness,” co-editor of ““Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress” and he is working on a new book, “1971: A Year in the Life of Color,” whose subject was the basis of his Twenty-Sixth Annual Rebay Lecture at the Guggenheim Museum in January 2014. According to MoMA, “Among the first tasks he will undertake is an analysis of the Museum’s collection of works in this area, as well as the publication of a critical reader bringing together key texts documenting black artists’ work and its historical reception.”

“My conversations with MoMA’s staff and trustees have left me deeply impressed by the Museum’s commitment to address this area [black art] reflectively and responsibly. I couldn’t be happier to begin this relationship.”
— Darby English

New York Times Profiles Oscar Murillo
Twenty-eight-year-old Oscar Murillo has catapulted to stardom in the art world. Two years ago he was a struggling London art student; today his paintings are selling at auction for six figures. The Times reports on his sudden, meteoric rise this week. The article opens with a Christie’s auction where one of Murillo’s works, “an abstract painting filled with black scratching, ‘Burrito’ scrawled across the top in bright yellow,” is for sale, an anecdotal scene that sheds light on the furor surrounding the young artist: “While Mr. Murillo is little known outside clubby contemporary art circles, and he has his share of skeptics, his fans have called him ‘the 21st-century Basquiat.’ That night, after fierce competition, “Untitled (burrito)” sold for $322,870, more than six times its high $49,000 estimate. Only two years ago, Mr. Murillo, who was born in Colombia, was waking up at 5 a.m. to clean office buildings to cover his expenses at the Royal College of Art in London. Now, he is represented by David Zwirner, one of the world’s most prestigious galleries, and when a choice canvas comes up at auction or through private sale, it can fetch more than $400,000.”

Kinsey Collection Tour Extended
The schedule for “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect” has been extended adding stops in Atlanta and Houston. After a years long tour, during which the collection was on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and 14 other venues from 2006 to 2014, the exhibit will appear at the Atlanta History Center from April 5 to July 13, before heading to the Houston Museum of African American Culture. The Kinsey exhibition tells the story of the African American experience from 1632 to the present through historical documents, rare artifacts, documentary photographs and original art by Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Artis Lane, William H. Johnson and Henry O. Tanner, among others.

IMG_0913‘Witness: Art and Civil Rights’ Published
Published on March 18, “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” coincides with the Brooklyn Museum exhibition of the same name on view from March 7 to July 6, 2014. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ‘Witness’ is a rare curatorial examination of how visual artists and photographers interpreted the struggle for racial justice in the 1960s. Both the book and the exhibition feature more than 100 works by African American artists—Elizabeth Catlett, David Hammons, Norman Lewis, Barkley Hendricks and Benny Andrews—as well as other artists inspired by the civil rights era.

Kara Walker Publishes First Lithographs
Inspired by “Porgy & Bess,” artist Kara Walker has published her first series of lithographs. ARTNews recently reported that after Walker’s friend was cast in the storied opera, the artist attended run-throughs and sketched while she watched. It was a fortuitous exercise that led to a unique opportunity. The suite of four lithographs, an edition of 40, on mouldmade paper, numbered and signed, are part of a collaboration with Arion Press. Walker illustrated “Porgy & Bess,” the limited-edition libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin published in November 2013, with 16 lithographs. The suite of four images accompanies the project. Walker was first introduced to “Porgy & Bess” as a child by her mother. In an artist’s statement she describes why she was drawn to the project and how she approached the images: “Unlike the bulk of my work, in which I plumb erratically and sometimes dangerously through American history using narrative forms and mis-readings of racist texts as the basis, the Porgy & Bess series of images is quite straightforward, more an homage to the feeling of the music. And to that feeling I had as a child of a heavy atmosphere hanging around a timeless act of love.” CT

 

IMAGE: Top, Detail of “Portrait of Mnonja,” 2010 (rhinestones, acrylic and enamel on panel) by Mickalene Thomas at Smithsonian American Art Museum. | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

 

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