radcliffe baily @ if you build it


ART AGENDA IS A LISTING OF MUST-SEE EXHIBITION OPENINGS and interesting talks and appearances happening this week in black art. Today’s edition features a panoply of impressive presentations of modern and contemporary art from Los Angeles and Sacramento to Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York:


June 25 – Aug. 10, 2014
“If You Build It” at Sugar Hill Apartments | Harlem, N.Y.
Public arts organization No Longer Empty is bridging art and architecture in Harlem’s Sugar Hill. Commissioned by Broadway Housing Communities, David Adjaye designed a contemporary mixed-use affordable housing development at 155th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue that has quickly become an architectural point of pride in the historic neighborhood. Before residents move into the new building’s 98 apartments, the structure is serving as public exhibition space. “If You Build It” will feature photography, mixed-media, sculpture and site-specific installations by local, national and international artists, more than 20 in all. The group includes Nari Ward, Radcliffe Bailey (whose “Windward Coast” is shown above), Hank Willis Thomas and William Villalongo.

June 27 – August 31, 2014
Lorna Simpson at the Baltimore Museum of Art | Baltimore
The Baltimore Museum of Art’s latest Black Box exhibition features “Easy to Remember,” a video installation by photographer and conceptual artist Lorna Simpson. Part of the museum’s collection, the work is composed of a group of individuals humming John Coltrane’s rendition of “Easy to Remember,” penetrating ode to love and loss. Projected on 15 monitors, the installation focuses on each person’s lips, creating a mesmerizing visual and audio chorus.


more material
“More Material” curated by Duro Olowu at Salon 94.


June 26 – Aug 1, 2014
Duro Olowu at Salon 94 Gallery, Bowery | New York
A fascinating mix of art, fashion, culture and design paying homage to women, “More Material” (shown above) is both an exhibition and pop-up shop presented by British-based, Nigeria-born fashion designer Duro Olowu. A follow-up to “Material,” his 2012 group show at Salon 94 Freemans, the exhibition features limited-edition designs from Olowu’s latest collection and a diverse roster of more than 60 including Nick Cave, Theaster Gates, Barkley Hendricks, Glenn Ligon, Tracee Ellis Ross, Malik Sidibe, Lorna Simpson, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Carrie Mae Weems, who have contributed contemporary and vintage art, textiles, furniture and objects.

tete de femmeJune 26 – Aug. 8, 2014
Mickalene Thomas at Lehmann Maupin Gallery | New York
In a departure from her large-scale celebrations of the female form, Mickalene Thomas’s new body of work focuses her exploration of beauty on the face. “Tete de Femme” features seven abstract, mixed-media works (“Untitled #3” is shown at left) that examine “how artifice serves both to mask and reveal the individual essence of her subjects.”

HEAD TO THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE to view two important presentations of African American Art. Inspired by the title of a 1903 W.E. B. Du Bois essay, “Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts features prints by Eldzier Cortor and the Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection.

June 27 – Aug. 31, 2014
Eldzier Cortor at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Philadelphia
Thanks to a generous gift from legendary artist Eldzier Cortor, his rarely exhibited work is on view at PAFA. Born in 1916, Cortor grew up in Chicago and is one of the few living WPA artists. From early on, his practice concentrated on images of African American women and the female figure with references to African sculpture and Surrealism. The printmaker has donated a collection of 53 prints, plates, test proofs and other materials that illustrate his creative process to PAFA. From the series Jewels, Dance Composition, Odalisque, which have a decidedly art deco vibe, and L’Abbatoire III and Facets, the works on view were created between the 1950s to 2000.

June 27 – Oct. 12, 2014
Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts | Philadelphia
San Antonio collectors Harmon and Harriet Kelley have assembled a robust representation of 20th century African American art. “The Harmon & Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper,” a traveling exhibition that features a fraction of the couple’s holdings, includes drawings, etchings, lithographs, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, gouaches, linoleum and color screen prints, by Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Robert Blackburn, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert Colescott, Eldzier Cortor, Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Whitfield Lovell, Allyson Saar, Alma Thomas and Charles White, among many others.


steve mcqueen drumroll
“Steve McQueen: Drumroll” at MOCA Pacific Design Center.


June 28 – Sept. 21, 2014
Steve McQueen at MOCA Pacific Design Center | Los Angeles
British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen, whose “12 Years a Slave” won the 2013 Oscar for Best Picture, is a creator who finds inspiration in many forms. “Steve McQueen: Drumroll” features a three-channel video projection shot from the perspective of an oil drum as the artist rolls it down 56th, 57th and 58th streets in Manhattan, and also includes “Barrage,” a 1998 series of photographs that capture gutter barriers in Paris.

June 29 – Sept. 21, 2014
Smithsonian African American Art at Crocker Art Museum | Sacramento
Representing the 20th century’s major artistic movements, Richmond Barthe, Jacob Lawrence, William H. Johnson, Alma Thomas, Felrath Hines, Benny Andrews, Thornton Dial and Sam Gilliam are among the 48 artists included in “African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond.” The Smithsonian survey has been traveling the country and offers an opportunity to see 100 paintings, sculptures and photographs from the American Art Museum rarely exhibited outside the institution. CT


IMAGES: From top, “Windward Coast” by Radcliffe Bailey at “If You Build It” via No Longer Empty; Installation view of Duro Olowu’s “More Material” via Salon 94; “Untitled #3” by Mickalene Thomas via Lehmann Maupin; Installation view of “Drumroll” by Steve McQueen via MOCA Pacific Design Center.


Do you enjoy and value Culture Type? Please consider supporting its ongoing production by making a donation. Culture Type is an independent editorial project that requires countless hours and expense to research, report, write, and produce. To help sustain it, make a one-time donation or sign up for a recurring monthly contribution. It only takes a minute. Many Thanks for Your Support.