Director Rashid Johnson at Sundance

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

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is launching a three-year, $4 million initiative designed to diversify museum boards and leadership. A 2017 survey commissioned by AAM found, among respondents, 46 percent of museum boards are all white, and just 5.2 percent of board members are African American. Focusing on demographic diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, the initiative is funded by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation.

READ MORE about museum staff diversity on Culture Type

HBO Buys Rashid Johnson’s ‘Native Son’

HBO acquired “Native Son” the feature film based on Richard Wright’s 1940 novel. The deal was struck ahead of the film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 24. “Native Son” marks artist Rashid Johnson‘s directorial debut. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wrote the screenplay and the cast includes David Alan Grier, Sanaa Lathan, with Ashton Sanders of “Moonlight” in the lead role of Bigger Thomas.

READ MORE about Rashid Johnson’s directorial debut on Culture Type

David Hammons x Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

Hauser & Wirth plans a solo exhibition with artist David Hammons opening May 18 at the gallery’s Los Angeles location. A student of Charles White, Hammons developed as an artist in Los Angeles in the 1960s and moved to New York in 1974. A fascinating figure in the city for more than four decades, he has eschewed formal representation, but over the years has engaged with select galleries to present solo exhibitions, most recently at Lévy Gorvy, Mnuchin Gallery, and White Cube in London. In 2003, Hammons had a show at Hauser & Wirth Zurich. First reported by ARTnews and artnet News, the forthcoming exhibition is the artist’s first in Los Angeles in 45 years and will feature all new work.

Curator Zoé Whitley Joins Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre in London has appointed Zoé Whitley senior curator. She has been serving as curator of international art at Tate modern, where she co-organized “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” Whitley is curating the British Pavilion presentation by Cathy Wilkes at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Lorna Simpson Awarded Getty Medal

The J. Paul Getty Trust announced artist Lorna Simpson is among three recipients of the 2019 J. Paul Getty Medal, along with Mary Beard and Ed Ruscha. The medal, which was awarded to Thelma Golden, Agnes Gund, and Richard Serra last year, recognizes “distinguished individuals to honor their extraordinary contributions to the practice, understanding and support of the arts.” The medals will be awarded at a Getty Center dinner in September.

Lorna Simpson “is at once a photographer and multimedia artist whose work is both trenchant in its critique of race, gender, and identity, and exquisite in its formal beauty and technical execution.”
— James Cuno, President and CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust

Memphis Brooks Museum Names African American Art Fellow

The Memphis Brooks Museum has appointed Kimberly Diana Jacobs its inaugural Joyce Blackmon Curatorial Fellow in African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora. Jacobs previously served as assistant curator of performance at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a master’s degree in history from Jackson State University was also a Romare Bearden Fellow at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Gracie Mansion Celebrates Women Artists

Women artists have long been underrepresented on the walls of Gracie Mansion, so Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York City organized an all-female exhibition at the mayor’s residence. Curated by Jessica Bell Brown, “She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York” (through Jan. 31, 2020), features 44 artists with significant ties to the city, including Jordan Casteel, Simone Leigh, Lorraine O’Grady, Faith Ringgold, and Kara Walker.

Mellon Foundation Invests $2.2 Million in Poetry

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $2.2 millon in grants to the American Academy of Poetry to support state and city poet laureates and the work of more than 20 poetry organizations.

Studio Museum Residency: Artists Wanted

Applications are open for the Studio Museum in Harlem’s 2019-2020 Artist-in-Residence program. The deadline is April 1, 2019.

Nominations for Canadian Sobey Award

Nominations are open for the Soby Art Award, the prestigious Canadian contemporary art prize recognizing artists 40 and under. The National Gallery of Canada is accepting artist nominations from “recognized agents, artists and institutions” for the annual $100,000 award. The deadline is March 1, 2019, at or before 6 p.m. EST. CT


TOP IMAGE: Jan. 25, 2019 – Director Rashid Johnson speaks at the premiere of “Native Son” at the Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre, Park City Utah. | Photo by George Pimentel, Getty Images


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