Rendering for Destination Crenshaw

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

The initial renderings have been released for Destination Crenshaw, a public art experience envisioned as a celebration of black Los Angeles. Perkins + Will is designing the project dubbed an “outdoor museum.” Stretching more than a mile along Crenshaw Boulevard at the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the streetscape installation will feature rotating artworks.

Shirley Chisholm, the trailblazing politician who was the first black woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, is getting a statue in New York and she is the subject of a forthcoming feature film. New York has surprisingly few public monuments dedicated to women so Chirlane McCray, the city’s first lady, launched the She Built NYC initiative to correct the record. The first commission will honor Chisholm with a monument in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park scheduled to debut in 2020. Elected in 1968, Chisholm represented New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms (1969-1983). She also set her sights on the White House. In 1972, she was the first black candidate to seek a major party nomination for President and the first woman to pursue the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination. On the film front, Viola Davis will play the political pioneer in “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm.” Davis signed a feature production deal with Amazon studios and the Chisholm project is the first to move forward.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles is opening in late 2019 and soon after it is mounting a major exhibition focused on the history of black filmmaking in the 20th century. The museum is receiving the 2018 Sotheby’s Prize, a $250,000 award to support “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970.” The fall 2020 exhibition is billed as the first-ever to present “a research-driven, in-depth look at Black participation in American filmmaking.” Co-curators Doris Berger and Rhea Combs, supervisory curator of Photography and Film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHAC), are developing the project in collaboration with an advisory panel that includes film scholars and filmmakers, Charles Burnett, Ava DuVernay, and Shola Lynch, among them.


Film poster for “The Exile” (1931), Directed by Oscar Micheaux. | Courtesy Margaret Herrick Library, Edward Mapp Collection


Sixteen finalists, including Sadie Barnette, Kenyatta AC Hinkle, and Marlon Mullen, have been announced for the SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) Art Award at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). After studio visits, three winners will be selected in March and the trio will be featured in a November exhibition at SFMOMA and an accompanying catalog.

Sixteen artists and collectives have been announced for the Watermill Center’s 2019 artist-in-residence program, including Afua Ansong (Ghana), Ni’Ja Whitson (USA), Andrina Smith (USA and Shinnecock Nation), and Raja Feather Kelly (USA). Located in Watermill, N.Y., for two to six weeks the interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities serves as a home and workshop for artists where they can develop their work with access to the center’s art collection, library, archives, and grounds.

The Knight Foundation awarded $37 million in new funding to Miami arts organizations. Twenty-two organizations are benefitting from the funding, including Locust Projects, Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Rubell Family Collection Contemporary Arts Foundation. The foundation’s investment in Miami was informed by a study it conducted assessing the local arts ecosystem.

Six organizations collaborating wth artists on new projects won $50,000 Joyce Awards from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation. Among them, Emmanuel Pratt, founder of the Sweet Water Foundation, is partnering wth the Smart Museum of Art to develop “People, Energy, Light, Power: the [Re]Construction of Ethos,” a yearlong project that involves renovating and activating an abandoned house to serve as an arts hub.


Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J., announced the appointment of Alexander Gladney to its board of trustees. He is senior vice president and chief legal officer at Capital Health System, Inc.

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles announced four new board appointments, including Roc Nation Co-Founder and CEO Jay Brown who is joining the museum’s board of directors.


Artist Fahamu Pecou and Curator Andrea Barnwell Brownlee made Atlanta Magazine’s 2018 Best of Atlanta list. | Photos by Bryan Meltz, via Spelman College Museum of Fine Art


Atlanta Magazine released its annual Best of Atlanta list, covering Food & Drink, Beauty & Fitness, Arts & Culture, City Life, and Style & Design. The 2018 selections for Arts & Culture include Best Painter Fahamu Pecou and Best Curator Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.

Each year Architectural Digest recognizes top talent in architecture and design. Just released, the 2019 AD100 list includes Adjaye Associates of London and New York, which was founded by David Adjaye; Toshiko Mori Architect (New York), whose recent projects include the Fass School in Senegal, the first in the region constructed almost entirely using local materials by local craftspeople; and MASS Design Group, the Boston-based nonprofit that designed the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala.


Charles Harrison (1931-2018) rose to chief product designer for Sears, Roebuck & Company. | Photo by Tim Klein


Pioneering industrial designer Charles Harrison died Nov. 29, in Santa Clarita, Calif. He was 87. Over the course of his career, he improved the designs of hundreds of products, including the 3-D View-Master. When he retired in 1993, he was chief product designer for Sears, Roebuck & Company.


The Liverpool Biennial, the UK biennial of contemporary art, is looking for a new director. Application deadline is Jan. 7, 2019

The Studio Museum in Harlem is recruiting for several positions, including curatorial assistant and curatorial assistant (permanent collection), and roles in advancement, public programs, and human resources, among other opportunities.

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is seeking a project manager. The position is a project management/registrar role for collections and exhibitions.

Hauser & Wirth gallery recently announced the formation of the Hauser & Wirth Institute, an independent nonprofit “dedicated to art historical scholarship and to the preservation and accessibility of artists’ archives.” The institute is currently accepting applications for its paid predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior scholar research fellowships. The deadline is Jan. 11, 2019.

A call for entries is open for the 2019 Aperture Portfolio Prize, “an annual international competition to discover, exhibit, and publish new talents in photography.” Submissions are due by Jan. 23, 2019. CT


City officials and cultural leaders promote Destination Crenshaw, an open-air museum along Crenshaw Blvd that pays tribute to black Los Angeles. | Video by Destination Crenshaw


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