“In My Solitude” (2018) by Billie Zangewa at Blank Projects.


ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH (ABMB) opens to the public today. The 17th edition of the art fair features more than 250 galleries from 35 countries in the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. The enthusiasm surrounding ABMB has infused the entire city over the years, inspiring a slate of satellite fairs offering more accessible and diverse buying experiences and special exhibitions, programming and related events.

Representation remains wanting, but after nearly two decades, there are more opportunities to explore art by black artists at ABMB. A number of galleries are offering choice works by African American artists—selections by prominent names and promising emerging talents, new works fresh from artists’s studios, and important works by historic artists and under-appreciated figures. Many dealers are devoting displays to individual artists. Here’s an overview of where to find them:


The art fair floor is organized in a series of sectors, including the main Galleries section, and areas called Nova, Survey, Edition, and Positions. The Galleries sector is occupied by top galleries—established dealers with exceptional programs and rosters that include artists who are represented in museum collections. High-priced heavyweights can be found here.

Critically recognized and highly sought artists El Anatsui, Mark Bradford, Ed Clark, Sam Gilliam, Oscar Murillo, Alma Thomas (1891-1978), and Jack Whitten (1939-2018) are featured at New York-based Mnuchin Gallery‘s booth.

Abstractions by Romare Bearden (1911-1988) are on view in a special display at D.C. Moore Gallery. Before the artist concentrated on the collage works for which he is most recognized, he made the lesser-known abstract works primarily from the mid-1950s to early 60s. D.C. Moore is also featuring works by David Driskell and Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), among others.


From left, ROMARE BEARDEN, “River Mist,” 1962 (oil on unprimed linen and oil, casein, and colored on canvas, cut, torn, and mounted on painted board, 54 1/4 x 40 7/8 inches). | The Romare Bearden Foundation. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, NY. © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY; and RASHID JOHNSON, “Untitled Microphone Sculpture,” 2018 (mixed media bronze, ceramic tile, mirror tile, books, shea butter, oil stick, black soap, and wax, 72 × 72 × 7 inches / 182.9 × 182.9 × 17.8 cm). | via David Kordansky Gallery


Artists Theaster Gates, Glenn Ligon, Christina Quarles, and Tavares Strachan, who just launched a sculpture into space paying tribute to pioneering African American astronaut Robert H. Lawrence Jr., have work on view at Regen Projects of Los Angeles.

A panoply of works by Zanele Muholi is on view at Stevenson Gallery. The South African photographer has gained international renown for her photographic portraits documenting the LGBTQI community in her home country. Her most striking images are self-portraits.

Reviewing her new book in the New York Times, Yrsa Daley-Ward wrote: “Muholi is known for dramatically increasing the contrast in her self-portraiture so as to appear stunningly pitch black, her gorgeous darkness and regal stoicism heightened. When met with this technique again and again in her work, you are confronted by your own thoughts and beliefs regarding beauty, race and cultural identity. You’re stirred to action, to discomfort, to see and be seen.”

“[Zanele] Muholi is known for dramatically increasing the contrast in her self-portraiture so as to appear stunningly pitch black, her gorgeous darkness and regal stoicism heightened. When met with this technique again and again in her work, you are confronted by your own thoughts and beliefs regarding beauty, race and cultural identity.” — Yrsa Daley-Ward

Stevenson of Cape Town and Johannesburg is presenting a capsule exhibition of Muholi’s work that reflects the arc of her practice with examples from all of her series from 2006 to present. The photographic installation is hung salon style across three walls.

Works by several other African contemporary artists are also on view at Stevenson, including Mawande Ka Zenzile, Moshekwa Langa, Simphiwe Ndzube, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Kemang Wa Lehulere, and Portia Zvavahera.


Installation view of various works by Zanele Muholi, “Both, And” at Stevenson Gallery, Art Basel Miami Beach 2018. | via Stevenson Gallery


HOWARDENA PINDELL, “Autobiography: Japan (Tombo No Hane),” 1982-1983 (mixed media on canvas, 66.5 × 148 inches / 168.9 × 375.9 cm). | via Garth Greenan Gallery


The 50-year anniversary of the founding of AfriCOBRA continues. Established in Chicago in 1968, the artist collective has been the focus of several exhibitions around the country. Kavi Gupta is presenting works by members Gerald Williams, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, and Sherman Beck at ABMB. The showcase follows “AfriCOBRA 50,” a group exhibition curated by Williams at the Chicago gallery and coincides with “AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People” opening today at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami.

Spanning the spectrum, New York-based Tilton Gallery is mounting a show that features a number of its artists, including Noah Purifoy (1917-2004) and John Outterbridge, 20th century masters of assemblage, and ascendant 21st century painters Derrick Adams and Tomashi Jackson.

David Castillo Gallery has a booth in the Galleries section for the first time this year. The Miami gallery states that its program centers around “art historical, cultural, and personal investigations of identity.” The focus reflects the interests and background of owner David Castillo, who is of Cuban descent, and the practices of gallery artists such as Belkis Ayón (1967-1999), Sanford Biggers, Adler Guerrier, Xaviera Simmons, Shinique Smith, and Vaughn Spann, who explore issues of race, inequality, migration, and claiming place.

The New York Times profiled the gallery this week. Naomi Beckwith, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, told the Times: Miami “belongs to that basin of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea more so than it does even to the U.S. The landscape there is highly specific, and David is quite sensitive to that voice and built a program around those themes.” She added that the gallery is “not just a place that sells art. It’s a place where artists can showcase their thinking.”

David Castillo Gallery is “not just a place that sells art. It’s a place where artists can showcase their thinking.” — Curator Naomi Beckwith

On the first day of ABMB, David Castillo is presenting black and white works “organized across a visual, conceptual and temporal divide.” Over the course of the fair, the selection will change and evolve to include full-color works.


Installation view of works by Tschabalala Self, Positions Sector, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Art Basel Miami Beach 2018. | © Art Basel


From left, CHARLES GAINES, “Numbers and Trees: Palm Tree 1, Tree #4, Zori,” 2018 (acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, wood, 109 x 56 7/8 x 5 3/4 inches / 276.9 x 144.5 x 14.6 cm). | © Charles Gaines, Photo by Fredrik Nilsen; AMY SHERALD, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be (Self-imagined atlas),” 2018 (oil on canvas, 54 x 43 x 2 inches / 137.2 x 109.2 x 5.1). | © Amy Sherald, Photo by Joseph Hyde


Earlier this year, Hauser & Wirth announced its representation of Los Angeles artist Charles Gaines and Baltimore-based Amy Sherald, who painted First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. A post-minimalist conceptual artist, Gaines employs systems-based methodologies in his work, which explores language, aesthetics, politics, and music.

The gallery is showing brand new works by Gaines and Sherald, along with recent works by several others, including Mark Bradford, Ellen Gallagher, Rashid Johnson, and Lorna Simpson.

Blum & Poe is presenting works by nearly two dozen artists, Robert Colescott, Tony Lewis, and Henry Taylor, among them. David Kordansky Gallery has a new painting by Rashid Johnson and a 1970 painting by Sam Gilliam. Both galleries are based in Los Angeles.

A focused selection of recent works by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo is on view at Lehmann Maupin. His sculpture and mixed-media works on canvas are composed of leather, ribbon and found objects. The New York-based gallery explains Hlobo’s practice as an “exploration of his own identity, as he attempts to ascertain qualities that exist outside of codifying labels associated with gender, sexuality, and ethnicity.”

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is displaying works informed by Asian art, design, and philosophy. Nearly three dozen artists are featured, including Romare Bearden, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Beauford Delaney, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Alma Thomas, Charles White, and William T. Williams. Select works include “Mess of Greens” (1968), a beveled-edge painting by Gilliam, an indigo abstract by Thomas titled “Deep Blue Night Scene” (1972-73), and Lawrence’s “Christmas in Harlem” (1937).


From left, WADSWORTH JERRELL, “Navaga,” 1974 (acrylic on canvas); and JAE JERRELL, “Brothers Surrounding Sis in Ornamented Screen,” 2017 (mixed media, 64 × 18 × 18 inches / 162.6 × 45.7 × 45.7 cm | via Kavi Gupta


Installation view of works by Deborah Roberts and Yinka Shonibare at Stephen Friedman Gallery, Art Basel Miami Beach 2018. | © Art Basel


Stephen Friedman Gallery of London is devoting a section of its booth to new works by Austin, Texas-based Deborah Roberts. Primarily working in collage, she makes abstracted representations of girls that explore race and identity issues and notions of beauty and body image. Roberts is showing large-scale images of girls and boys broadening the conversation to perceptions surrounding feminism and masculinity.

The artist has been gaining more attention over the past two years or so, spurred by her inclusion in prominent group exhibitions and a solo show organized by the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in early 2018. “Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi” featured more than 50 collages, paintings, and hand-painted serigraphs. Her first gallery exhibition with Stephen Friedman is scheduled for summer 2019.

Works by acclaimed artists are on view at Jack Shainman Gallery, including Nina Chanel Abney, El Anatsui, Nick Cave, Kay Hassan, Barkley L. Hendricks, Kerry James Marshall, Gordon Parks, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Meanwhile, a huge Njideka Akunyili Crosby painting is at Victoria Miro Gallery of London. Sadie Coles HQ of London is showing Martine Syms. New York-based Garth Greenan Gallery has works by Howardena Pindell. And Goodman Gallery, which has locations in Cape Town and Johannesburg is showing works by El Anatsui, Kudzanai Chiurai, Yinka Shonibare, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others.


Publishers of editioned works, prints and multiples have set up shop in the Edition sector. Nina Chanel Abney is also featured in this section. Her first print edition made in collaboration with Pace Prints is being offered at the fair. Published in an edition of 35, “Two Years and Counting” (2018) is a large-scale, 11-color relief print. Describing how she approached making the work, Pace Prints said Abney “employed her improvisational graphic language and unique stenciling techniques.”

Abney’s first exhibition with Pace Prints is currently on view at the New York gallery through Dec. 15. The series of life-sized monoprints explores a range of issues, from gentrification and housing discrimination, to gender and identity issues, and America’s racially charged politics of division.

Pace Prints is also showing works by more than a dozen other artists at ABMB, including Leonardo Drew and Wangechi Mutu.


From left, JOE OVERSTREET, “North Star,” 1968 (acrylic on canvas construction, 93 x 85 x 3 inches). | via Eric Firestone Gallery; and JOYCE J. SCOTT, “Buddha Washes Unclean Soul in the Waters of Yemaya,” 1994 (beads, thread, wire and fabric, 15 × 12 × 17 inches / 38.1 × 30.5 × 43.2 cm). | via Peter Blum Gallery


The Survey section is designed to highlight historic works through solo presentations and themed group exhibitions. Here, Eric Firestone Gallery is bringing attention to Joe Overstreet, whose work is included in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at the Brooklyn Museum and is on view at the Menil Collection in Houston. The gallery is showing his abstract works from the 1960s and 70s.

Overstreet has transformed two-dimensional paintings into three-dimensional installations and also experiments with uniquely supported and shaped canvases. His work reflects the challenges of the African American experience as well as the tangible progress realized over generations through legislation and cultural progress and the hopeful promise of further change.

Born in rural Mississippi, Overstreet lives and works in New York City. In 1973, he co-founded Kenkeleba House in the East Village. For nearly a half century, the studio and gallery space has been supporting and exhibiting the work of artists of color.

New and early works by Baltimore bead artist Joyce J. Scott are on view at Peter Blum Gallery. Scott employs beautiful glass beads to raise social and political issues and tell stories about gun violence, domestic violence, and American history. She has invoked the likes of Harriet Tubman, Buddha, and Rodney King in her work, which she realizes in the form of jewelry, mixed-media sculpture, installations and wall hangings. A solo exhibition of her works, “Joyce J. Scott: What Next and Why Not,” was recently presented at Peter Blum in New York City.


Positions is a scouting ground where collectors, curators, and critics can discover up-and-coming talents. Galleries showcase a single artist presenting one project or a cohesive body of work.

Thierry Goldberg Gallery is showing a new series of collage paintings and drawings by Tschabalala Self in the Positions sector. Self explores ideas and perceptions about the black female body through painting, printmaking and assemblage. Currently a 2018-19 artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, she splits her time between New York City and New Haven, Conn.

St. Louis, Mo.-based Kahlil Robert Irving makes mixed media sculptures with found objects that explore pressing social issues, from race matters to the politics of division and police violence. His works are on view at Callicoon Fine Arts.

The gallery presented Irving’s first New York solo exhibition in fall 2017. Artforum noted the potency of the works: Irving’s “smashed porcelain, stoneware, gravel, and glass sculptures hold multitudes. The works, cast from Styrofoam food containers, soda bottles, and paint cans, are destroyed and then pieced together into rough assemblages that interrogate material, visual, and political realities.”


KHALIL ROBERT IRVING, “Fragmented MASS & Murder [(Shards ⇔ Screenshots) |Gilded Tears] JASON STOCKLEY KILLED HIM: Pixilated ≥ Shattered MING to MATTER,” 2018 (Glazed and unglazed stoneware and porcelain, found vintage decals, personally constructed decals (screenshots, patterns, scanned objects, memes), black luster, blue luster, gold luster, opal luster, red enamel, test tiles, gilded pyrometric cones, 18 × 26 × 14 inches / 45.7 × 66.0 × 35.6 cm). | via Callicoon Fine Arts


ZINA SARO-WIWA, Table Manners: Season 1, Barisuka Eats Roasted Ice Fish and Mu. | Copyright © The Artist, Courtesy Tiwana Contemporary, London. Video by Art Basel. (See more videos from this series)


In the Nova sector, galleries focus on one, two, or three artists and feature relatively new work produced within the past three years. Josh Lilley of London is presenting a solo show of works by Harlem-based Derek Fordjour. His paintings weigh issues of race, identity, community, and individual vulnerability through sports and parade themes.

London gallery Tiwana Contemporary is presenting “Table Manners” (2014-2016) by Zina Saro-Wiwa. The Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s multi-channel video series “explores the political implications of epicurean communities, highlighting the performative practices of food consumption as indispensable to the imagination of belonging in West Africa.”

Jonathan Garnham, founder of Blank Projects in Cape Town, has said. “Artists in South Africa certainly have something to say, because of our history.” The gallery concentrates on emerging artists. For its first appearance in the Nova sector, Blank Projects is showing a body of new works by Malawian-born, Johannesburg-based artist Billie Zangewa. She makes hand-stitched collages working with raw silk (top of page). The images are figurative compositions in which she depicts herself in everyday scenes.

“Female artists have tended to be neglected through history especially black female artists,” Garnham said. “I think it’s an important time to be presenting this kind of art.” CT


TOP IMAGE: BILLIE ZANGEWA, “In My Solitude,” 2018 (silk collage). | Courtesy Blank Projects


UPDATE(12/07/18): A few images have been updated or replaced and a link to a map of the art fair has been addded.


FIND MORE about gallery locations on map of the art fair

FIND MORE about Houston artist Jamal Cyrus, the winner of the 2017 BMW Art Journey. The prize includes a presentation of his works in the BMW Lounge at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

FIND MORE about Charles Gaines who participated in an Artist Talk at last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, with Naima Keith, deputy director and chief curator at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala.


Released in September, “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness” is South African photographer Zanele Muholi’s first monograph. “Joyce J. Scott: Harriet Tubman and Other Truths” documents the artist’s exhibition at Grounds for Sculpture, her largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date. Published to document the artist’s first-ever museum survey, “Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989” includes written contributions by Thelma Golden, Naima Keith, Ellen Tani, Anne Ellegood, Howard Singerman, and Malik Gaines (the artist’s son, who is writer, artist, and scholar). The volume also features a conversation between Gaines and Courtney J. Martin. “An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden” presents a full and vivid account of Romare Bearden’s life.


Diedra Harris-Kelley, co-director of the Romare Bearden Foundation discusses Romare Bearden | Video by D.C. Moore Gallery

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