RETROSPECTIVE is a review of the latest news and happenings related to art by and about people of African descent. In the last half of July 2016, highlights include the launch of Black Art Incubator, a dynamic New York space for artistic, intellectual and social exchange founded by four young art world influencers; the announcement that artist Rashid Johnson is joining the Guggenheim Foundation; acquisitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Modern Art in New York, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and Broad Museum in Los Angeles; and the revelation that six years ago, Fisk University quietly sold two paintings from its historic collection. Also, a New York Times report examining the overwhelmingly white board leadership at the city’s cultural institutions, and how modest progress is being made to diversify them, is a recommended read.


Florine Stettheimer - Asbury Park South
FLORINE STETTHEIMER’s “Asbury Park South” (1920), is currently on view in the exhibition “O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York” at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine.



Taylor Renee Aldridge, Jessica Bell Brown, Kimberly Drew and Jessica Lynne, the founders of Black Art Incubator, are “staging a much-needed art world intervention.” Launched at Recess, the artists space in Soho on July 19, the collaborative project brings together artists, curators, community members, critics, and scholars through a series of public events. Scheduled through Aug. 19, gatherings thus far have included a grant writing workshop, a teach-in by artist Dread Scott, and an art book swap. “We’re occupying this storefront at Recess and turning it into a workspace; so it’s this performance of labor, but we’re actually putting a frame on the labor that goes into making works of art, making exhibitions, making professional relationships,” Brown told Artsy. “It’s calling attention to how this art world gets produced.”

Two paintings, including “Asbury Park South” by Florine Stettheimer, were quietly sold by Fisk University in 2010 when the historically black college was experiencing financial duress.

Galeria Nara Roesler of São Paulo, Brazil, announced its representation of Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea, who lives and works in New York.

The Miami Herald published an apology by Franklin Sirmans, director of the Perez Art Museum Miami, acknowledging that selling a paper build-your-own-sculpture kit featuring Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara in the museum gift shop was a mistake because it offended many people in the community.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign enlisted more than two dozen top graphic designers, including Antionette D. Carroll, Bobby C. Martin Jr., and Arem Duplessis, create buttons for its Forty-Five Pin Project.

As a part of her Bench By The Road Project marking important places with connections to black history, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison donated a bench to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

Style setters Thelma Golden, Rujeko Hockley, Kimberly Drew, Juliana Huxtable, April Hunt, and Yvette Mutumba and Julia Grosse, co-editors of the online magazine Contemporary And, made the list of the 20 Most Fashionable Women in the Art World published by artnet News.




The Detroit Institute of Arts marked the launch of a major, three-year multimillion dollar initiative to expand its collection of African American art with the purchase of “Bird,” a 1990 sculpture by David Hammons (at right).

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta announced the acquisition of 530 works of art, including 38 works of African Art; works by African American artists Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Purvis Young, Thornton Dial Jr., and Sheila Pree Bright; and “Indian Country” (2015), oil on canvas by Stanley Whitney.

Earlier this year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired “American People Series #20: Die,” a 1967 painting by Faith Ringgold and Kerry James Marshall‘s 2015 painting “Untitled (Policeman).” Both are currently on view at the museum.

The Broad museum in Los Angeles announced it was acquiring 29 new works of art, including its first work by Colombian artist Oscar Murillo, “trade today,” (2014–15), an eight-panel composition of canvases hanging like flags.


rashid johnson - guggenheim board
RASHID JOHNSON is the first artist to serve on the board of the Guggenheim Foundation since Hilla Rebay, the institutions founding director and curator. In 2012, he was short-listed for the Hugo Boss Prize, which is administered by the Guggenheim.



Artist Rashid Johnson joined the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Board of Trustees.

The American Alliance of Museums named Sage Morgan-Hubbard Ford W. Bell Fellow, an opportunity that focuses on expanding the role of museums in P-12 education

Pérez Art Museum Miami announced it has added four new members to its board of trustees‏, including Barron Channer, CEO of BACH Real Estate, and Dorothy Terrell, founder and managing partner of FirstCap Advisors.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts welcomed six new members to its board of trustees, including Kelly Lee, chief cultural officer of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy.


The Emmy-nominated documentary “Through a Lens Darkly” was directed by Thomas Allen Harris and Deborah Willis is among the producers.



The film “Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” was nominated for an Emmy award, one of 54 PBS programs nominated for News & Documentary Emmy Awards, the most nods earned by any organization this year. The 37th annual Emmys will be presented Sept. 21.

Performa announced its fall 2016 gala, Beloved Country, paying tribute to the rich and powerful history of the visual and performing arts in South Africa, would honor curator Okwui Enwezor. The gala is Nov. 1 in New York.

Carrie Mae Weems received the 2016 National Artist Award from Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colo.

Congressman John Lewis accepted a 2016 Eisner Award at Comic-Con for Best Reality-Based Work for “March, Book 2,” a graphic memoir of the Civil Rights Movement by Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. According to the Washington Post, the Georgia Congressman who led the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, is the first sitting politician to win an Eisner Award.

The Contemporary Austin announced it has established the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, a new $100,000 unrestricted artist award. This fall, inaugural advisory board members, including MCA Chicago Curator Naomi Beckwith and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator at The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and co-curator of Made in L.A. 2016, will select the first recipient of the Texas museum’s prize, which is to be awarded every two years.


$100 Bullets by Garland Martin Taylor
Weinberg/Newton Gallery curated “The Heat” in support of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. GARLAND MARTIN TAYLOR’S bullet works are being sold for $100 and the gallery says half of the proceeds from the sales will go to the nonprofit.



Hanging from the ceiling by guitar strings, spent bullet casings embellished with human hair and feathers by Garland Martin Taylor force visitors to “dodge bullets” as they walk through the installation. The works are featured in “This Heat,” an exhibition at Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago in which three local artists explore the rampant gun violence problem in the city.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London announced its special projects for the October fair, including the first major UK solo exhibition of late Malian photographer Malick Sidibe, presented in collaboration with Somerset House and MAGNIN-A Gallery of Paris.

[VIDEO] Dread Scott, whose flag declaring “A Man Was Lynched by Police Today is a part of the “For Freedoms” exhibition on view at Jack Shainman Gallery spoke to photographer Eric Gottesman and Lauren van Haaften-Schick, a curator, writer and artist, about his practice, police violence, reactions to the controversial work of art the gallery on July 20 .

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center has announced the list of 33 participating artists in the forthcoming Atlanta Biennial (Aug. 27-Dec. 18, 2016), which includes Darius Hill, Coco Fusco, Adler Guerrier, Horton Humble, Kalup Linzy, Abigail Lucien, Sharon Norwood, Stacy Lynn Waddell, and Cosmo Whyte.

[VIDEO] Based in Los Angeles artist Todd Gray wore another man’s clothes for one year. He is re-staging the performance for Made in L.A. and presented a reading and discussed the project with Hamza Walker, co-curator of the biennial exhibition, at the Hammer Museum on July 20.

Curated by Sarah Lewis, a Harvard University professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African, “Race, Love, and Labor” (July 23–Oct. 16, 2016), is a group exhibition including Endia Beal, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deana Lawson, and Xaviera Simmons, opened at The Center for Photography at Woodstock

The Shed, a massive new contemporary arts space presenting performance, visual art, music and multidisciplinary work where the High Line meets Hudson Yards, announced its inaugural programming includes FlexNYC, a three-year collaboration with choreographer Reggie Gray (“Regg Roc”), and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring, providing a free dance residency for the city’s youth.

LOOP magazine  - Issue 1Pharrell Williams is among the creatives tapped to present new projects at the Guggenheim Museum’s “Works & Process” series the fall in New York.

Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum” opened at Art Gallery Ontario in Toronto, Canada.



Jazz musician and composer Jason Moran is publishing LOOP, a new limited edition magazine in collaboration with Luhring Augustine, his New York gallery. “Dedicated to jazz from the perspective of the musician and performer,” the first issue (Fall 2016) is now available.

The September 2016 edition of Frieze magazine marks the publication’s 25th anniversary. To celebrate, Frieze is printing three different covers, one of which will feature work by British artist Chris Ofili, who lives and works in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Featuring images of Senga Nengudi‘s recent nylon mesh pantyhose and sand sculptures and text contributions by Rizvana Bradley, Jessica Bell Brown, and Ellen Tani, the volume “Senga Nengudi” was published to complement the Los Angeles-based artist’s first exhibition at Dominique Levy Gallery in New York.


Floyd Norman, 81, was a Disney animator, layout artist, storyboard artist, and writer. Early on, he worked on “Jungle Book,” and later at Pixar.


[VIDEO] A trailer was released for “Floyd Norman: An Animated Life,” a documentary about Floyd Norman, the first black animator at Disney, which is scheduled to open in select theaters Aug. 26.

A New York Times report, “The Disrupters: Making New York’s Cultural Boards More Diverse,” shows pressure from the city is yielding some results at institutions that have historically been the exclusive bastion of wealthy white patrons.

“Where the Sun Sets,” a Frieze magazine interview with South African artist Mohau Modisakeng exploring personal politics and the importance of being able to explain and write about your work, coincides with his first UK solo exhibition at Tyburn Gallery in London through Sept. 19.

In “The Library of Last Resort,” the online journal n+1 reports that “whatever early progress the Library of Congress made on the internet has been squandered.”

[VIDEO] Kanye West who is performing at a benefit for the Watermill Center in the Hamptons this evening (July 30), released a video for “The Life of Pablo” track “Wolves,” a collaboration with Olivier Rousteing that doubles as a Fall 2016 ad campaign for Balmain. CT


Update: Kanye West’s collaboration with Robert Wilson, the theater and visual artist who founded Watermill Center, was delayed until 2017. Ja Rule performed in West’s absence.


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