RETROSPECTIVE is a review of the latest news and happenings related to art by and about people of African descent. In the first half of July 2016, highlights include responses to police violence through the lens of art by artists including Dread Scott, curator Thomas J. Lax, and writer Taylor Renee Aldridge in the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minn.—both African American men shot by cops. Plus, the Studio Museum in Harlem announced its new artists in residence and opened its summer exhibitions including Alma Thomas and Richard Hunt, the National Museum of African American History and Culture launched a new website, and Barkley L. Hendricks won an award.


2016 Studio Museum Artists in Residence
Clockwise from top left, Autumn Knight, Julie Phillips, Andy Robert are the 2016-17 artists in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. | Images via State of the Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art;; ARC Magazine



The Studio Museum in Harlem announced its latest cohort of artists in residence for 2016-17 — Autumn Knight (b. Houston, Texas), Julia Phillips (b. Hamburg, Germany), and Andy Robert (b. Les Cayes, Haiti).

In anticipation of its grand opening in September, the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) launched a new website with a powerful design, access to its collection, and details about its opening celebration.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby %22Super Blue Omo,%22 2016 - Victoria Miro Gallery> The Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Fla., announced that it had purchased “Super Blue Omo” by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, (at right) the much-talked about painting of a lone female figure that sold by Victoria Miro Gallery on the first day of Art Basel.

Swann Auction Galleries in New York released a preview of its Oct. 6 African American Fine Art sale. Highlights include a monumental pastoral scene painted by Edward M. Bannister in 1877; significant paintings by Norman Lewis, Felrath Hines, Robert Neal, Frank Bowling, and Sam Gilliam; 18 photographs by James VanDerZee; prints by Elizabeth Catlett, Robert Blackburn, and Charles White; and a collage by Romare Bearden.

A statue of Mary Seacole, a 19th century nurse, was unveiled in London, the first public statue in the UK “dedicated to a named black woman.”

Fifty years after Omali Yeshitela tore down a mural at city hall in St. Petersburg, Fla., depicting black figures playing the banjo and eating watermelon, the 74-year-old founder of the Uhuru Movement stood his ground and announced he wants to form a committee to ensure that whatever replaces it considers the interests of the African American community.

Three local institutions, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Beck Cultural Exchange Center and East Tennessee Historical Society have launched a collaborative effort to recognize 20th century painter Beauford Delaney in his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn.

IMAGE: Above right, NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY, “Super Blue Omo,” 2016. (acrylic, transfers, colored pencils, and collage on paper). | Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida. Purchase, acquired through the generosity of Jim and Irene Karp, 2016.178. Image of courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London. © Njideka Akunyili Crosby



Bill Jones, one of the first black photographers to train his lens on Hollywood—capturing everyone from Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Halle Barry, Denzel Washington to Whitney Houston and Rihanna—died at 81.



The Senate approved Carla Hayden as the next librarian of Congress. The first woman and first African American to hold the post, she previously served as head of Baltimore’s public library system and is the former president of the American Library Association


Emeka Ogboh. Photo by Viktoria TomaschkoHONORS & AWARDS

> The 2016 Bottcherstrasse Art Award, one of Germany’s most valuable art prizes, was presented to Emeka Ogboh, (at right) a Nigerian-born artist who lives in Berlin. His sound installation “Market Symphony” is currently on view at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C.

Connecticut-based Barkley L. Hendricks won this year’s Rappaport Prize, which is awarded annually by the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, in Lincoln, Mass., to a contemporary artist with ties to New England.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., announced its first-ever African Art Awards Dinner will honor Yinka Shonibare MBE, Ato Malinda and Bob Collymore on Oct. 28.

IMAGE: At right, Emeka Ogboh, Photo by Viktoria Tomaschko



“John Outterbridge: Rag Man,” an exhibition of new work made since 2000, opened at the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado (July 1-Oct. 16, 2016).

Thelma Golden spoke to Theaster Gates at the Aspen Ideas Festival about what is next for him in Chicago and how he is expanding his vision of using art to rebuild communities around the world. (VIDEO)

Organized in collaboration with the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., an exhibition surveying the work of Alma Thomas opened at the Studio Museum in Harlem (July 14-Oct. 30, 2016). The museum is also presenting a new Richard Hunt exhibition.

“Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show” opened at The Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center in Addis Ababa, marking the first time Mehretu has presented her work in Ethiopia, where she was born.

Odili Donald Odita served as juror of the “The Woodmere Annual: 75th Juried Exhibition at the Woodmere Art Museum” in Philadelphia, asking the artists (70 are participating, selected from 448 entries) to respond to a theme for the first time, “The Condition of Place.” The exhibition is on view through Aug. 28, 2016.

Exploring her sculpture, performance and video work, “Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures” opened at Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In conjunction with the Association of African American Museums’s annual conference (Aug. 3-6) in Riverside, Calif., the Riverside Art Museum has mounted “Visual Voice,” an exhibition featuring 19 “masterful” black artists from Southern California, including John Outterbridge, Ernie Barnes, Samella Lews, Artis Lane, Charles White, Richard Mayhew, and Noah Purifoy (June 17-Oct. 6, 2016).

EXPLORE MORE summer exhibition listings on Culture Type here and here


Mickalene Thomas - ZoetropePUBLICATIONS

< Mickalene Thomas designed the Summer 2016 issue of Zoetrope All-Story (at left), a quarterly literary publication founded by Francis Ford Coppola.

Originally scheduled to be published on July 13, the catalog for the Alma Thomas exhibition co-organized by the Studio Museum in Harlem (where it is currently on view) and the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore college, has been delayed until September.

Kadir Nelson‘s illustration of an African American father and his children at the beached graced the cover of a double issue of The New Yorker magazine (July 11 & July 18, 2016).

The catalog has finally been published for “Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa,” a group show featuring 25 artists and collections, presented at the Yerba Buena Center for the Art in San Francisco in 2014.


black lives matter art on instagram - washington post
Artists including to Ti-Rock Moore, Nikkolas Smith, Curt Merlo, Andrea Levy, and Nina Chanel Abney are among the artists who have created work inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. | via Washington Post



Three years after the movement and hashtag were established, the Washington Post reported on the “most powerful art” inspired by Black Lives Matter.

In an article considering provocative art created in response to the recent spate of police-related killings and focusing on a flag bearing the statement “A Man was Lynched by Police Yesterday” by artist Dread Scott, the New York Times Race/Related team published an article that asked “Does this Flag Make You Flinch?”

Inspired in part by the cavalier behavior of gallery goers in the presence of a sculpture by Sanford Biggers, Taylor Renee Aldridge, co-founder of ARTS.BLACK, an online publication, penned “Black Bodies, White Cubes: The Problem with Contemporary Art’s Appropriation of Race” for ARTnews.

In an essay on the Museum of Modern Art’s Inside/Out blog titled “How Do Black Lives Matter in MoMA’s Collection?” curator Thomas J. Lax considered three recent addition’s to the museums collection—paintings by Faith Ringgold, and Kerry James Marshall, and a video Steffani Jemison.

Blouin ArtInfo surveyed the “Art World’s Black Lives Matter Instagrams,” an outpouring of content from well-known artists, museum officials and lesser-known creatives.

Members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed a “protest dance” to Beyonce’s “Freedom” song featuring Kendrick Lamar. (WATCH VIDEO)

For Artforum’s 500 Words column, artist Wangechi Mutu wrote about “Throw,” 2016, her site-specific action painting that is featured in the exhibition “Blackness in Abstraction,” curated by Adrienne Edwards at Pace Gallery in New York.

The Washington Post profiled one of the most important artists based in the nation’s capital in “The not-so-simple comeback story of pioneering artist Sam Gilliam.”

Hyperallergic reported on the graphic visualizations W.E.B. Du Bois created more than a century ago. The 60 hand-drawn charts, graphs, and maps presented as a part of his “Exhibit of American Negroes” at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900 have been digitized by the Library of Congress. CT


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