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. United States Artist Fellows for 2016 were announced, including Senga Nengudi and Stanley Whitney. Curatorial appointments were made at the Tang Teaching Museum and Chrysler Museum. Artists, curators and scholars convened in Johannesburg for Black Portraiture[s] III and Zimbabwe announced it is participating in the 2017 Venice Biennale. Plus, sculptor Houston Conwill died.


SAM GILLIAM, “Leaf,” 1970 (acrylic on canvas). | via Dallas Museum of Art



The Dallas Museum of Art announced the acquisition of Sam Gilliam’s “Leaf,” a 1970 “drape” painting.

Zimbabwe announced it will stage a pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, marking the fourth appearance for the sub-Saharan nation.

A local TV news station reported that the governor decried a For Freedoms billboard in Pearl, Miss., featuring Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan emblazoned on a 1965 “Bloody Sunday” image of police confronting civil rights protesters, including John Lewis, in Selma, Ala.

After 27 years, the Royal Ontario Museum apologized for “Heart of Africa,” a racist exhibition that opened at the Toronto museum in 1989.



Sculptor Houston Conwill, 69, whose memorial to Langston Hughes and Arturo Alfonso Schomburg is installed at the Harlem library and cultural center named for the latter, has died.



Isolde Brielmaier was named curator-at-large at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The Chrysler Museum of Art announced that Kimberli Gant is joining the Norfolk, Va., museum as curator of modern and contemporary art.

The Ringling museum of art at Florida State University in Sarasota, Fla., appointed Michelle Moseley senior development officer.


From left, Stanley White, Senga Nengudi, Winfred Wembert, Jacolby Satterwhite, Jefferson Pinder. Images: Jacolby Satterwhite, Photo © Matthew Placek; all others courtesy the artists via United States Artists



United States Artists named 2016 fellows in nine creative disciplines including Senga Nengudi, Jefferson Pinder Winfred Wimbert, Jacolby Satterwhite, Stanley Whitney, and author Claudia Rankine.

Sonia Boyce among recipients of Awards for Artists 2016 presented by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to visual artists and music composers in the UK.

Burkina Faso-born artist Siaka Soppo Traoré was awarded the Prix Orange de l’Artiste Numérique AKAA at the inaugural edition of the Also Known as Africa contemporary art and design fair in Paris.

The UK’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead announced a new international artist award determined by four artist judges, including Lorna Simpson.

The Rema Hort Mann Foundation announced the eight recipients of its Emerging Artists Grant in New York, including Sondra Perry and Azikiwe Mohammed.

London’s National Portrait Gallery awarded the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 for a photograph of young Johannesburg student by Swiss-Italian photographer Claudio Rasano.


Watch video!
Mail & Guardian produced highlight videos about Black Portraitures [III] in Johannesburg. View part 2 video here.



Part of a series of gatherings about imaging the black body, Black Portraitures [III]: Reinventions: Strains of Histories and Cultures was held in Johannesburg this week.

The Whitney Museum of Art released a list of 63 artists and collectives slated to participate in its forthcoming biennial, including Henry Taylor, Lyle Ashton Harris, Pope.L, and Deanna Lawson.

Dread Scott discussed the results of the presidential election with Hrag Vartanian, editor-in-chief of Hyperallergic on Facebook Live. (video)

Festival Albertine at the French Embassy in New York featured a series of talks, including “Art, Race, and Representation,” a panel moderated by Thelma Golden, with Thomas Lax and Kehinde Wiley, among others.

dread-scott-imagine-a-world-artforum-nov-2016HEARD, Nick Cave‘s dancing horses performance piece was staged in Sydney, Australia.



Dread Scott‘s “Imagine a World Without America” (2007) graced the cover of the November issue of Artforum, a special edition surveying artists on politics with contributions from Scott, who offered a poignant image riffing on the NRA, and Simone Leigh, among others.

The Winter 2017 issue of ARTNEWS will feature insights on how to fix the art world from artists, curators, art dealers, critics, and historians, including artists Coco Fusco, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems, curator Naima Keith, and publishers Yvette Mutumba and Julia Grosse.

In its December issue, Elle magazine published a special feature on women in the art world, including the founders of the Black Art Incubator, Studio Museum in Harlem Director Thelma Golden, and Jordan Casteel, an artist-in-residence at the museum.


Watch Congressman John Lewis of Georgia accept National Book Award and reflect emotionally on how as a child he was denied a library card because he is black.



“Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America” features essays by the likes of Toni Morrison and Junot Diaz.

Over a period of three years, Time magazine consulted curators, photographers, editors and historians for its 100 Most Influential Images of All Time project. Photographs by Gordon Parks, James VanDerZee and Malick Sidibe made the cut, along with images documenting Emmett Till’s ravaged body, sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists during the 1968 Olympic medal ceremony in Mexico City, and a police dog attacking a civil rights protester in Birmingham, Ala., among others.

To foster a discussion about gun violence, Bayete Ross Smith invited a group of “artsy” people to a rifle and pistol range in Manhattan.

At “Historically black” National Book Awards ceremony, winners include Colson Whitehead and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

Vice President-Elect Mike Pence was greeted with boos, jeers and limited applause when he entered the theater to see “Hamilton” on Broadway and at the curtain call received a message directly from the cast.

After a politically divisive year, Oxford Dictionaries announced its new word of the year for 2016 is “post-truth.” The shortlist included “woke,” “latinx,” and “alt-right.” CT


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