Portrait of artist Aaron Fowler, and “Derion,” 2018 by Folwer.

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

The Seattle Art Museum announced assemblage artist Aaron Fowler is the recipient of the 2019 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize. The award includes $10,000 and a fall 2019 solo exhibition at the museum. Based in Harlem, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, Fowler makes large-scale sculptural works that explore imagined and autobiographical narratives that reference American history and black culture.

READ MORE about artist Aaron Fowler on Culture Type

FIND MORE about Aaron Fowler on his website

Adrian Piper Exhibition Cancelled

New York City-born, Berlin-based Adrian Piper, hasn’t traveled to the United States since 2006. Now she won’t have a chance to view her retrospective that was organized by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). After the exhibition was presented at MoMA in New York City, a version of the show traveled to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The tour was expected to conclude at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, but it was cancelled in late December. The German museum, which has been experiencing financial and leadership challenges since artistic director Okwui Enwezor stepped down last year, also announced it was scrapping a Joan Jonas exhibition last August. In the latest development earlier this month, the Haus der Kunst appointed an expert commission to oversee the museum’s operations, programming, and strategy for the next two years.

“It’s not a pretty picture …it feels as though all the exceptional international work Okwui Enwezor did to put the Haus der Kunst on the map is being undone.” — Adrian Piper

US Artists Fellows Announced

United States Artists announced its 2019 fellows, a class of 45 artists working across a range of disciplines, from architecture & design, and film to music, theater & performance, and writing. Each will receive a $50,000 unrestricted cash award. Among those recognized, visual artists included Juliana Huxtable, Simone Leigh (left), and Firelei Báez (right). Ceramicist Samuel Harvey was awarded in the craft category.

SEE FULL LIST of 2019 USA Fellows

African American Art Forgeries

The Art Newspaper reported an uptick in fake or forged African American artworks due to rising recognition of the works by museums and booming market interest in art made by black artists. Works falsely attributed to artists including Charles Alston, Alma Thomas, Beauford Delaney, Charles White, Romare Bearden, Bob Thompson, and Clementine Hunter have been discovered in recent years. The situation is exacerbated, the report said, because many of the artists have been overlooked and undervalued historically and documentation and scholarship surrounding their output can be lacking. In addition, artist estates and associated foundations are increasingly unwilling to authenticate works citing threat of litigation.

City of Richmond Recognition

Dr. Monroe Harris, the dentist who serves as president of the board of trustees the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was named one of Richmond’s People of the Year by the Times-Dispatch, the city’s local newspaper.


DEBORAH ANZINGER, “An Unlikely Birth,” 2018 (acrylic, mirror, and synthetic hair on canvas and polystyrene, 80 x 131 inches). | Courtesy the artist

First U.S. Museum Exhibition

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia announced it is presenting the first U.S. solo museum exhibition of Jamaican artist Deborah Anzinger. Exploring race, history, and time, “An Unlikely Birth” opens April 26 and will feature sculpture, video, painting, and installation.

FIND MORE about artist Deborah Anzinger on her website

Hip Hop Museum Board

Chuck D of Public Enemy was named chairman of the celebrity board of the forthcoming Universal Hip Hop Museum. Construction of the Bronx, N.Y., museum is scheduled to begin in December 2019 and the opening is planned for 2022. CT


IMAGES: Top, From left, Aaron Fowler portrait. | Courtesy the artist; AARON FOWLER, “Derion,” 2018 (hot tub cover, wood, children’s cotton and nylon coats, cotton balls, enamel paint, acrylic paint, broken mirrors, theater seats, concrete cement, 115 x 95 x 28 inches). | Photo by Robert Wedemeyer. Image courtesy the artist. © Aaron Fowler. Above left, Simone Leigh, Photo by Paul Mpagi Sepuya; Firelei Báez, Photo by Jorge Alberto. | Both courtesy United States Artists


Three new publications coincide with Adrian Piper’s retrospective. The exhibition catalog “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions 1965–2016” documents the exhibition with images of more than 280 works and writings by curators, scholars and the artist herself. “Adrian Piper: A Reader” is a collection of new critical essays by established and emerging scholars that address unaddressed or under-explored themes in Piper’s practice. In “Adrian Piper: Escape to Berlin: A Travel Memoir,” the artist explains why she has been living in Berlin since 2005 after emigrating from the United States.


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