OFFERING COVERAGE OF ARTS AND CULTURE that rivals its fashion reporting, W magazine has recently trained its lens on several Black artists. In November, articles were published on Sam Gilliam and Rashid Johnson. Though separated by nearly two generations, the artists are closely connected. Both are represented by David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles where Johnson curated an exhibition of Gilliam’s work in 2013. The December Art & Fashion issue features brief reports on Julie Mehretu, whose work is among the most expensive by a living woman artist, and emerging talent Kevin Beasley who, if press interest is any indication, has a promising career ahead of him.

All four of the articles were published online and do not appear in the print versions of the magazine.

sam-gilliam - w mag
SAM GILLIAM in his Washington, D.C., studio. | Photo by Richard Burbridge via W magazine

“Red Orange Yellow Green and Blue Period” by Jim Lewis
In a revealing profile, Jim Lewis spends time with Sam Gilliam at his Washington, D.C., studio. The 81-year-old artist opens up about fundamental matters of his work, life and mental health, explaining why he abandoned figurative works for Color Field painting, why purple is his favorite color, how his frameless paintings came about, and his views on fatherhood (“‘Dad’ is the sweetest word I’ve ever heard.”) and race (“It’s important to me as a man, but to the work, no.”).

“There’s an adjustment between being the father and being the artist. Anyway, ‘Dad’ is the sweetest word I’ve ever heard.”
— Sam Gilliam, W magazine

“Artists in Residence” by Alix Browne
What does a home say about its owner? Alix Browne pursues the answer, visiting Rashid Johnson at the Kip’s Bay residence he shares with his wife, artist Sheree Hovsepian, and their young son. The renovated Manhattan townhouse, once owned by artist Jennifer Rubell, remains a work in progress (“I move stuff around throughout the day,” Johnson says) where their art collection (Ellen Gallagher, Sam Gilliam, Paul McCarthy, Djordje Ozbolt, Jason Rhoades) is displayed proudly and a “black room” features works by Glenn Ligon, William Pope.L and an archive of Black Panther Party newspapers.

From “The Forever Now”: JULIE MEHRETU, “Heavier than air (written form),” 2014 (ink and acrylic on canvas). | Courtesy the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, and carlier | gebauer, Berlin. Copyright Julie Mehretu, Photo by Tom Powel

“Julie Mehretu: Brushes with Greatness” by Stefan Ruiz
W magazine catches up with eight women artists who are “storming the boy’s club,” including painter Julie Mehretu whose work is included in “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Mehretu, 44, tells Stefan Ruiz that her new paintings, uncharacteristically gray and personal, are still attuned to the real world, “a world that I feel is in crisis.”

“The art objects have a sort of aliveness to them. They change the sonics of the room, and it maybe becomes 
a little more immersive.”
— Kevin Beasley, W magazine

“Kevin Beasley: Star Material” by Andrew Russeth
Kevin Beasley, a musician whose art practice spans sculpture, performance and sound, took full advantage of his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2013-14) honing his craft and garnering prime opportunities beyond the museum (at the Museum of Modern Art and the 2014 Whitney Biennial). As Beasley, 29, prepares to move to his new studio in Queens, Andrew Russeth asks him about his work (“The art objects have a sort of aliveness to them. They change the sonics of the room, and it maybe becomes 
a little more immersive,” Beasley says.) and discovers the artist is ready for prime time. His first solo show in New York and a Guggenheim Museum commission are on the horizon. Manwhile a lengthy Q&A feature appears in the current issue of Art in America). CT

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.