Sept. 18: After putting her exhibition “America Monuments” on hold, artist lauren woods explains why the action is necessary. | Video by Daily 49er

The following review of the past week or so presents a snapshot of the latest news in African American art and related culture:

After four years in Brooklyn, the New York edition of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is relocating to Manhattan, according to ARTnews. The fair was established in London in 2013, expanded to New York in 2015, and held its first fair on the continent of Africa in Marrakesh, Morocco, earlier this year. In 2019, 1-54 New York will be presented May 2-5 at Industria, a large photo studio and event space in the West Village, a couple of blocks from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Touria El Glaoui, the fair’s founder and director, said participating galleries felt being in Brooklyn made 1-54 feel like a “fringe fair” and they wanted to be closer to collectors. She said, “We need to be in the middle of things.”

“American Monument” is an interactive sound installation by artist lauren woods about police brutality that features a series of turntables that play audio sourced from specific incidents of police violence and police killings. The exhibition was scheduled to open Sept. 17 at the University Art Museum (UAM) at California State University, Long Beach. Days before on Sept. 11, Kimberli Meyer, director of the museum was fired. In the wake of her dismissal, and the subsequent pause woods put on her exhibition “American Monument,” the campus community has been mystified. To provide some transparency, Cyrus Parker-Jeannette Maria Coltharp, dean of the College of the Arts, and Maria Coltharp, the museum’s registrar & curator of the permanent collection, held a discussion session for faculty and students. Despite the outreach, very little additional information was offered and more questions were raised than answered.

Architect David Adjaye has been tapped to design a new building for the Princeton University Art Museum. According to the university’s announcement, the museum is envisioned as a “dramatically enlarged space for the exhibition and study of the museum’s encyclopedic collections, special exhibitions and art conservation, as well as object-study classrooms and office space for the 100-person museum staff.”

Twitter was abuzz recently about the National Museum of African American History (NMAAHC) having a white curator in charge of its hip hop collection, a role she has held at the Smithsonian for more than a dozen years, even before NMAAHC was in development. The museum put out a statement emphasizing her “deep commitment,” explaining she is part of a larger curatorial team focused on music, and stating its dedication to diversity.


Artist Warrington Colescott (1921-2018) talks about his practice and career. | Video by Printmaking Legacy Project


Warrington Colescott, the artist, renowned printmaker and longtime professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has died at age 97. He passed away on Sept. 10 at home in Hollandale, Wisc. Colescott is recognized for “employing his sharp wit and vivid imagination to interpret contemporary and historical events…” The Milwaukee Art Museum holds the largest collection of his work and presented “Warrington Colescott: Cabaret, Comedy & Satire” in 2010, a retrospective exploring 60 years of his print production and featuring works from the museum’s holdings. He was the brother of artist Robert Colescott (1925-2009). Read obituary here.

Artist Robert S. Duncanson is buried in an unmarked grave. The painter, who was active in the mid-19th century and is considered the first African American artist to gain widespread and international recognition, was laid to rest at Historic Woodland Cemetery about 40 miles south of Detroit. Duncanson is in a family plot, but he has no marker. According to the Detroit Free Press, a group of local artists has stepped up and raised funds for a headstone, which will be unveiled later this year at the Detroit Institute of the Arts before being installed at Duncanson’s gravesite.


New York-based curator Stephanie E. Goodalle is the 2018 Oral History Fellow at Bomb magazine. Since 2014, Bomb has been conducting extensive interviews with New York-based visual artists of African descent about their backgrounds, practice, and life experiences. In the latest installment in the series, curator Lowery Stokes Sims interviewed artist Maren Hassinger.


Ghanaian artist Paa Joe is in residence at the Detroit Institute of Arts. | via DIA


The Detroit Institute of Arts is hosting Ghanaian fantasy coffin artist Joseph Ashong (known as Paa Joe) for a month-long residency from Sept. 23-Oct. 21. Visitors to the museum will be able to watch Joe craft a coffin resembling a Ford Model-T car.

British artist Hurvin Anderson was awarded the first commission in a 10-year initiative established by the UK’s Government Art Collection. For the next decade, through the TenTen Commission, a British artist will be selected to create an original, limited-edition print for display in diplomatic buildings around the world.

The five finalists being considered to create the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on Boston Common have submitted their designs. Barbara Chase-Riboud, Adam Pendleton, Yinka Shonibare, Hank Willis Thomas, and landscape architect Walter Hood are represented among the artist teams under consideration. Their designs are on display at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square and the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal building in Dudley Square for public review through Oct. 16. The selected artist will be announced in November.

British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen plans to photograph all of London’s “Year 3” students, which is equivalent to second grade in the United States when children are 7 and 8-years old. The ambitious project will document 115,000 students at 2,410 schools in group class photographs. Images from the project will be displayed around the city in fall 2019 and in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain in fall 2019 through May 2020, coinciding with a survey of McQueen’s work opening at the Tate Britain February 2020.

“In bringing together so many of these class photos from a single year, the work will embody the diversity of the city in which the artist [Steve McQueen] grew up, as well as the potential of the next generation who will shape London’s future.” — Tate Britain


The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) plans a major film festival. The first-ever Smithsonian African American Film Festival is Oct. 24-27. A mix of screenings, conversations and master classes, the festival is showcasing historic films and contemporary works by filmmakers and artists including Kevin Jerome Everson, Ja’Tovia Gary, Betye Saar, Cauleen Smith, and Bradford Young. “Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat” is screening Oct. 26.

Themed “Reel Unity,” the Baltimore International Black Film Festival is Oct. 2-8, 2018.

The University of Chicago is hosting a two-day Afrofuturism symposium on Oct. 7 & Oct. 10, organized and moderated by Ytasha Womack, author of “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture,” and architect Antwane Lee.

The 2018 Black New England Conference is Oct. 19-20 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. Since 2006, the annual national conference has explored the Black experience past and present in northern New England. This year’s conference focuses on “the traditions, artistry, and social histories that have shaped different forms of African American style, this conference will investigate the historical and present impact of artistic expression on the development of African American identities and cultural production.”


Getty Medal honoree Thelma Golden talks about her introduction to museums and her 30-year career creating space for artists. | Video by The Getty


The Hutchins Center at Harvard University announced the recipients of the 2018 W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. The eight honorees include artist Kehinde Wiley; art collector and philanthropist Pamela Joyner; and Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative who established the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice (known as the Lynching Memorial) in Montgomery, Ala. The medal ceremony is Oct. 11.

Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Agnes Gund, arts philanthropist and president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA); and sculptor Richard Serra receive 2018 J. Paul Getty Medals from the Getty Trust on Sept. 24. The annual award honors “extraordinary contributions to the practice, understanding and support of the arts.”


The American Alliance of Museums is searching for a director of inclusion, the candidate will lead the organization’s diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) initiatives.

UCLA’s Department of Art is hiring a assistant/associate professor of ceramics to teach undergraduate and graduate art majors. It is an open rank position and the level of appointment will depend upon the candidates experience and qualifications. The recruitment period ends Oct. 21.

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Art in Pittsburgh is recruiting for three tenure-track faculty positions—two professors of sculpture and one photography professor. The application deadlines are Dec. 1.


A fully illustrated catalog, “The Prints of Warrington Colescott: A Catalogue Raisonne, 1948-2008” documents the artist’s 60-year career. Author and curator Mary Weaver Chapin worked closely with Colescott to complete the volume. She conducted extensive interviews with the artist and had full access to his papers and archives. All 359 of his editioned prints are illustrated.


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