The following review presents a snapshot of the recent news in African American art and related black culture:
Lauren Haynes and Teka Selman Named Co-Curators for Inaugural Tennessee Triennial

A new triennial launching in Tennessee in 2021 will be co-organized by Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., and Teka Selman, a Durham, N.C.-based independent curator (shown above). Produced by the nonprofit Tri-Star Arts, the Tennessee Triennial for Contemporary Art will feature exhibitions and programming spanning museums, universities, and art spaces across the state, from Nashville and Memphis to Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Boulevard Boasting Museums Renamed For Arthur Ashe

Previously called simply “Boulevard,” a main thoroughfare in Richmond, Va., is lined with monuments to Confederate Soldiers, a statue of tennis champion Arthur Ashe, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). Located next door to the VMFA, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, held a dedication ceremony last Saturday (June 23) unveiling new street signs and celebrating the street’s new name: Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

First Public Art Work by Kehinde Wiley Debuts September in Times Square

Described as Kehinde Wiley‘s largest work to date, “Rumors of War” will be installed on the Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th Streets. Presented by Times Square Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and Sean Kelly, the artist’s New York gallery, the monumental bronze sculpture features a young African American man wearing “urban streetwear,” mounted on a horse. The sculpture will be on view in New York City Sept. 27-December 2019, before being permanently installed in Richmond on historic Arthur Ashe Boulevard at the entrance to the VMFA.

“With this new sculpture, Kehinde Wiley returns to equestrian portraiture to engage its complicated visual rhetoric of warfare and heroism on an epic scale. …’Rumors of War,’ is the artist’s direct response to the ubiquitous Confederate sculptures that populate the United States, particularly in the South. — VMFA

Association of African American Museums Appoints New Director

Vedete Coleman-Robinson was named executive director of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) at the end of March. The Washington, D.C.-based organization’s member museums are dedicated to African and African America art, culture, and history. Coleman-Robinson joined AAAM from the National Park Service where she managed grants for HBCUs and the preservation of America’s historic places and diverse history.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Announced Gallery List for London Edition this Fall

The art fair’s seventh edition in London is being held at Somerset House, Oct. 3-6, 2019. Art by more than 140 artists emerging and established will be presented for sale by 45 galleries from 19 countries. Sixteen of the galleries are based in Africa and 15 are participating in the fair for the first time.

Civil Rights Exhibitions Recognized for Excellence in Label Writing

The American Alliance of Museum annually recognizes excellence in label writing. The goal of the competition is to explore the “process, purpose, and improvement” of the tool used to inform and communicate with visitors. Eleven labels from seven exhibitions were recognized, including “Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement” (June 30-Sept. 9, 2018) at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, and “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow” (Sept. 7, 2018-March 3, 2019) at the New-York Historical Society in New York City.

Finalists for Chicago Artadia Awards Announced

Five artists are under consideration for the annual Artadia Awards in Chicago, including Bethany Collins, Brendan Fernandes, and Caroline Kent. Visits from second round jurors will determine two winners, each to be awarded $10,000 unrestricted grants.

NMAAHC Accepting Applications for Fall Internships

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture offers 10-15 week internships in the fall, spring, summer. The fall program begins Sept. 15. Deadline for applications is July 15.


IMAGES: Top of page, 2021 Tennessee Triennial curators Teka Selman and Lauren Haynes. | Photo by Derrick Beasley; Above left, Vedete Coleman-Robinson. | via Association of African American Museums (AAAM)


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