ART AGENDA IS A LISTING OF MUST-SEE EXHIBITION OPENINGS and interesting talks and events happening this week in black art. Today’s edition features a pair of much-antipated exhibitions of new works by Nick Cave at Jack Shainman Gallery, art and civil rights at Dartmouth, a Hank Willis Thomas public art installation in Chicago, Kara Walker in a works on paper group show, and more:


Aug. 30 – Dec. 14, 2014
‘Witness: Art and Civil Rights’ at Dartmouth | Hanover, NH
Featuring a range of mediums including photography, painting, sculpture, textiles and mixed-media works, “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties,” at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, brings together the work of 66 artists compelled by the groundbreaking struggle for racial justice. The exhibition originated at the Brooklyn Museum and includes a diverse slate of contributors such as Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Benny Andrews and Faith Ringgold, African American artists known for exploring civil rights themes, along with the likes of Philip Guston, Norman Rockwell and Robert Indiana.

Read Culture Type review of ‘Witness: Art and Civil Rights.’


HWT bench marks
“Black Power” 2008 by Hank Willis Thomas via Monique Meloche Gallery


Sept. 1- Nov. 30, 2014
Public Bus Benches to Feature Works by Hank Willis Thomas | Chicago
Hank Willis Thomas’s new public art project bridges art and advertising. A key component of the artist’s practice is exploring symbolism in marketing, advertising, branding and sloganeering and “Hank Willis Thomas: Benchmarks” expands upon the effort. Some of his more recognizable works that examine visual representations of “blackness” and identity, including “Black Power” 2008 (above) will appear on Chicago bus benches. The exhibition marks the debut of Monique Meloche Gallery’s “off the wall” project, a public initiative presenting art in the city’s Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood.


KW at Sikkema Jenkins
“Sketch for an American Comic Opera with 20th century Race Riots,” 2012 (pastel and graphite on paper, 3 parts) via Sikkema Jenkins


Sept. 2 – Oct. 4, 2014
Kara Walker at Sikkema Jenkins Gallery | New York
Sikkema Jenkins is opening its fall season with a group show of works on paper by five artists the gallery represents including Kara Walker. The exhibition features Walker’s “Sketch for an American Comic Opera with 20th century Race Riots” 2012 (above), a pastel and graphic work that measures more than 200 inches in length and is executed in three panels. In contrast to her precisely cut paper silhouettes, the gallery describes the sketch as having “a more direct relationship to the artist’s hand, with a greater sense of chaos, chance, and movement.”


Now through Sept. 10, 2014
Art Auction to Benefit The Drawing Center | New York
Nab a Deborah Grant and help sustain The Drawing Center. Paddle 8 is hosting an online auction benefitting the nonprofit that focuses solely on the presentation of historic and contemporary drawings. Online bidding on works by Grant, Rashid Johnson, Dave McKenzie and Rashaad Newsome, among others, began on Aug. 26 and concludes with silent bidding on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the The Drawing Center’s Fall Benefit Auction at 35 Wooster Street in Soho.


Nick Cave - Jack ShainmanSept. 4 – Oct. 11, 2014
Nick Cave at Jack Shainman Gallery | New York
The masterful creator of countless, visually stunning sound suits is exploring new paths of creativity. Nick Cave, who captivated the art world with sculptural works that are both objects and wearable costumes is presenting a pair of exhibitions at Jack Shainman Gallery that focuses on sculptures composed of found objects. “Rescue” at the gallery’s West 24th Street location features found ceramic dogs perched in elaborate, fanciful environments. The works are heavy with symbolism, referencing discarded pets, the loyal companionship dogs provide to man, and alluding to the term “dawg,” hip-hop parlance for a close trusted friend who is like a brother. At the West 20th Street space, “Made for Whites by Whites” (at left) is anchored by racially charged objects, highly collectible items found at antique shops, flea markets and memorabilia fairs across the country. In describing the artist’s approach to using these challenging materials, the gallery says, “Cave treats these items with compassion while forcing the viewer to confront this problematic genre of mass-produced and widely disseminated collectibles.” In May 2014, Cave staged the first public viewing of the shift his work has taken at The School, the gallery’s new location in Kinderhook, N.Y.

“[Nick] Cave treats these items with compassion while forcing the viewer to confront this problematic genre of mass-produced and widely disseminated collectibles.” — Jack Shainman Gallery

Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 @ 6 p.m.
Nick Cave Talk with Denise Markonish at Jack Shainman Gallery | New York
Denise Markonish, curator at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, will engage artist Nick Cave in a conversation about “Rescues” and “Made for White by Whites,” the new body of work he is exhibiting at both Chelsea locations of Jack Shainman Gallery. Space is limited. RSVP to to attend.


Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 (check local listings)
Kehinde Wiley Documentary Premieres on PBS | Nationwide
For his 2012 exhibition at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, Kehinde Wiley presented regal portraits of black women for the first time. “An Economy of Grace” goes behind the scenes showing how the works came together—Wiley casting his subjects from the streets of Harlem and Brooklyn, commissioning couture gowns for the women, painting the portraits from photographs, and finally the revealing moments when the women see themselves larger-than-life on canvas just before the show opens.



Sept. 3 – Dec. 6, 2014
South Africa Photographer Ernest Cole at New York University | New York
Pioneering black photojournalist Ernest Cole (1940-1990) documented the lives and experiences of black South Africans during apartheid. The first solo show of his work, “Ernest Cole: Photographer” at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery features more than 100 compelling images from the South African’s archive, showing both challenging times and lighter moments. His powerful, penetrating work offers a window into what it was like for black South Africans to live under the segregation and violence of apartheid. A couple of years ago, Cole’s work was included in “South Africa in Apartheid and After” with photographers David Goldblatt (who discusses Cole’s work in the video above) and Billy Monk, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. CT


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