RETROSPECTIVE is a review of the latest news and happenings related to art by and about people of African descent. This week, highlights include news that timed entry tickets for the Sept. 24 grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., will be released starting this morning; an artist collective is raising funds to lease and renovate Langston Hughes Harlem home; and artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen is being honored in his native Britain, and also in Chicago. Plus, Awol Erizku is now represented by Night Gallery in Los Angeles, and curator Sarah Lewis‘s celebrated Vision & Justice edition of Aperture magazine has been reinterpreted as an exhibition at Harvard Art Museums.


University of Kansas’s Common Work of Art: WILLIE COLE, “Calpurnia,” “Bertha Mae,” and “Lula Bell,” from 2012 “Beauties” series (intaglio and relief). | Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Peter T. Bohan Art Acquisition Fund, 2016.0031,2016.0032, 2016.0033


aperture223-3 NEWS

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) announced that timed tickets to the Smithsonian museum’s long-awaited Sept. 24 grand opening will be available today, Aug. 27, starting at 9 a.m. EDT. Get tickets here

NMAAHC also announced major sponsorships from five donors. Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Prudential Financial, Target, and Toyota each gave $2 million to support the grand opening celebration at the Smithsonian’s African American museum.

For the coming 2016-17 academic year, the University of Kansas has chosen “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates as the Common Book. To complement the literary selection, the Spencer Museum of Art has identified three prints by artist Willie Cole as the accompanying Common Work of Art (at top). Prints from the same series, “The Beauties: Print Series by Willie Cole” are on view at the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Night Gallery in Los Angeles announced it is representing three new artists including Awol Erizku, the Ethiopian-born photographer, sculptor and painter whose work recently covered the Vision & Justice issue of Aperture magazine (above right).

[VIDEO] Sharon Watson is rallying fellow creatives in Harlem to preserve the legacy of Langston Hughes. She has formed I, Too, Arts Collective, and is raising funds with the goal of leasing and renovating as a creative arts space the E. 127th Street brownstone where the legendary poet once lived.


Adrienne Chadwick024. headshot vertical. June 3. 2016APPOINTMENTS

The Perez Art Museum Miami announced three new deputy directors, including Adrienne Chadwick, deputy director for education (at left).



Turner Prize–winning video artist and Academy Award–winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has won this year’s BFI Fellowship, the British Film Institutes’s highest honor. McQueen is the youngest director to receive the honor, which will be presented at the London Film Festival in October.

British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen is also being recognized by Chicago International Film Festival, also in October, where he will receive a Black Perspectives tribute., the festival program is marking its 20th year.

Artist Sonya Clark, who has served as chair of the Craft and Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts since 2006, is the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Scholarship faculty award and has also been named Distinguished Faculty Fellow for the School of the Arts.

Maurice Mbikayi, who was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, has been nominated for the Luxembourg Art Prize. The winner will be selected from among 10 nominees on Sept. 18



“Vision & Justice: The Art of Citizenship” opens today at Harvard Art Museums. Examining “the contested relationship between art, justice, and African American culture from the 19th through 21st century in the United States,” the exhibition complements a course taught by curator Sarah Lewis and reflects a special summer edition of Aperture magazine she edited. An exploration of the role of photography in the African American experience, the issue featured two covers—a black-and-white, civil rights era-image of Martin Luther King Jr., with his father and son by Richard Avedon; and a boldly hued contemporary portrait by emerging artist Awol Erizku (above right).

Two special projects in Chicago are taking art to the streets:

Sanford Biggers and Rashid Johnson are among 15 artists participating in Override, an Expo Chicago public art initiative presented on 28 billboards throughout the city (Aug. 29-Sept. 25, 2016).

For Freedoms, the artist-run super PAC co-founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman debuted in New York and has migrated to Chicago where works from the initiative by Rashid Johnson, Nari Ward, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others, will be displayed in Monique Meloche Gallery’s “off the wall” exhibition, a series of installations on public bus benches throughout Wicker Park Bucktown (Sept. 1-Nov. 30, 2016). Simultaneously, Dread Scott‘s video “Anti-Campaign Ad” will be on view in the gallery.


President Obama’s summer playlists include everything from Wale and Janelle Monet, to Prince, D’Angelo, Ledisi, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis.



Labor Day is still a week away. Check out President Obama’s Summer Playlist released earlier this month. Tracks by Wale, Janelle Monet, Jay-Z with Pharrell, Common, Aloe Blacc, Nina Simone, Prince, Gary Clark Jr., and Charles Mingus, are among the 19 daytime selections. The nighttime list features Chrisette Michele, Esperanza Spalding, Ledisi, D’Angelo, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mary J. Blige/Method Man, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Anthony Hamilton, and Floetry.

Curator and social media maven Kim Drew interviewed photographer Carrie Mae Weems for Lenny, the newsletter co-founded by Lena Dunham.

Reporting for The New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham talked to Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, who explained why he had to break into his office the first day on the job; listened as curator Rex Ellis recounts how he acquired Nat Turner’s bible; and questioned whether the museum is presenting the institution of slavery with enough gravity.

[VIDEO] Last weekend in Chicago, Theaster Gates co-hosted his fourth gathering of black artists. The Black Artists Retreat is “guided by the tenets of fellowship, rejuvenation, and intellectual rigor and strives to create time and space for an intergenerational community of black visual artists to engage outside of the institutional environment.” Watch a video capturing last year’s convening. CT


A review of the 2015 Black Artists Retreat in Chicago. | Video by BAR


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