RETROSPECTIVE is a review of the latest news and happenings related to visual art by and about people of African descent, with the occasional nod to cultural matters. This week, highlights include news that women artists will gather in Brooklyn for a historic group photo; the grand re-opening of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in East Harlem; and new appointments at arts nonprofits in New Jersey. Plus, new exhibitions opened featuring Edgar Arceneaux, Betye Saar, and Martine Syms, among others. Also, in the nation’s capital, social change is on the agenda at the Creative Time Summit DC, and today marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party.


STEPHEN SHAMES, “Kathleen Cleaver, communications secretary and the first female member of the Party’s decision-making Central Committee, talks with Black Panthers from Los Angeles, in West Oakland, California, USA,” July 28, 1968, printed 2016 (gelatin silver print). | via Steven Kasher Gallery



The Black Panther Party was founded 50 years ago today in Oakland, Calif. (Oct. 15, 1966), and several exhibitions around the country are looking back at the Black Power organization through documentary photographs and contemporary art. To mark the milestone, Panther co-founder Bobby Seale spoke in Sacramento at Brickhouse Art Gallery, where he promoted his new book “Power To The People: The World of The Black Panthers,” which features photographs by Stephen Shames, and recounted the founding of the local chapter.

The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) re-opened in a new home, a renovated firehouse in East Harlem.

The director of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis responded to criticism of the decision to wall off a controversial Kelley Walker exhibition after public outcries describing its content as racist and sexist and the departure of show’s curator.

Organized by a group called Decolonize this Place, more than 200 people attended an anti-Columbus Day tour at the Natural History Museum in New York, that emphasized the history of white supremacy and colonization found in the institution’s displays.

The Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, where “The Color Line,” a major exhibition of art by African American artists and historical documents and publications is on view, has removed a children’s hand out booklet after criticism about its reference to the “pleasant lives” of some slaves and claim that racial discrimination in the United States ended with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

An article published by artnet News examined auction prices for art by black artists and asks “Is the Art Market Racially Bias?”

After more than 700 women artists gathered for a group portrait in Los Angeles over the summer, the project will be revisited in New York. Called “Now Be Here #2” and organized by artis Shinique Smith, the East Coast portrait will be taken at the Brooklyn Museum on Oct. 23.


Artist Kim Schoenstadt gathered women artists for a group snapshot at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in Los Angeles on Aug. 28, 2016. East Coast artists will do the same in Brooklyn next week. | Photo via Now Be Here


mccoll-center-pr-nicole-j-caruth-photo-by-dana-damewood APPOINTMENTS

Nicole J. Caruth (at right) will serve as artistic director at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, in Charlotte, N.C., effective Dec. 1.

Dexter Wimberly has been appointed executive director of the Newark, N.J.–based nonprofit Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art.



The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation announced recipients of its 2016 Gold Rush Awards—Kimberly Drew, Lauren Haynes, Rashaad Newsome, and Swoon—who will be honored on Oct. 22.

The Watermill Center in Watermill, N.Y., announced its 2017 artists-in-residence, including Carrie Mae Weems who is also a recipient of the center’s Inga Maren Otto Fellowship.

In celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, the Royal Academy of Arts in London honored contributions to visual arts and architecture. Yinka Shonibare MBE was among five Royal Academicians who nominated recipients and architect David Adjaye was among the award winners.

The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University awarded the Dorethea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize to Steven Cozart for his series “Pass/Fail,” which references the brown paper bag test.


STEVEN COZART, “Officer Watkins,” 2014 (triptych: charcoal, pastel, and collage on brown paper bags). | via Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University



Underway this weekend (Oct. 14-16), Creative Time Summit DC: Occupy the Future, has gathered in Washington, D.C., artists and activists exploring the intersection of art and social justice through talks, presentations, and roundtables. Attend or watch the Livestream

Art Noir collaborated with Open House New York to present “City of Cultural Exchange,” a 10-stop tour of culturally diverse destinations this weekend (Oct. 15-16)—including Black Lady Theatre, Lower East Side Tenement House, Louis Armstrong House Museum, and Studio Museum in Harlem—during its an annual showcase of the city’s most important architectural spaces and historic buildings.

Nationwide, exhibition openings this week included “Ronald Lockett: Fever Within” at the High Museum in Atlanta; “Martine Syms: Borrowed Lady” in Vancouver; Edgar Arceneaux at MIT List Center in Cambridge, Mass.; Colin Chase at June Kelly Gallery in New York; and Betye Saar at Roberts & Tilton in Los Angeles. EXPLORE MORE fall exhibitions



Mother Jones published a review of two photography books that chart the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party.

As Ava Duvernay’s new documentary “The 13th” makes clear, the United States has a serious mass incarceration problem that is disproportionately putting black and brown men behind bars. Though rarely mentioned, women are being locked up too. Book Riot recommended several books that give a voice to the experiences of women prisoners through first-person narratives and testimonies.



Martine Syms programmed 24 hours of TV for Public Access Info, footage featuring Fred Moten, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Redman, and much more, is looping through Oct. 22.

Lenny Letter talked with artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby whose first solo exhibition in Europe recently opened at Victoria Miro in London.

National Geographic reported that after being in the possession of the former mayor of Gary, Ind., for years, Nat Turner‘s skull has been returned to his family and the Smithsonian has been enlisted to conduct DNA testing. CT


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