Still from Solange’s film “When I Get Home.” | Courtesy the artist

The following review presents a snapshot of recent news in African American art and related black culture:
Solange Screening Art Film at Museums in U.S. and Europe

An international slate of museums and theaters is screening an extended director’s cut of the art film that accompanies Solange‘s fourth album “When I Get Home.” The 15 collaborating venues include the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and ICA Philadelphia at the Black Star Film Festival. Free screenings of the 41-minute film directed and edited by Solange started July 17. Screenings begin this weekend in Chicago (MCA Chicago, Aug. 3) and Baltimore (Baltimore Museum of Art Lexington Market, Aug. 3, 17, and 24). Showings are scheduled to begin (MFA Houston, July 17) and end (Chianti Foundation, Marfa, Oct. 13) in Texas, Houston-born Solange’s home state.

New York City Cultural Institutions Fail Diversity Test

Seeking information on how staff demographics reflect New York City’s population, the city surveyed 65 cultural organizations that receive public funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Cultural Development Fund. The group included large and small museums, performing arts organizations, institutions dedicated to music, gardens, a park and a zoo. The city issued a report showing whites are highly overrepresented compared with their share of the population. Whites represent 32 percent of the population and make up 66 percent of the arts workforce; by contrast African Americans represent 10 percent of staff and 22 percent of the population.

51 Museums Selected for Board Diversity Initiative

The American Alliance of Museums (which represents art museums, and history and science museums, among others), selected 51 museums to participate in its Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation. The program is designed to “provide the framework, training, and resources for museum leaders to build inclusive cultures within their institutions that more accurately reflect the communities they serve.”


Gary Simmons | Photo by Tito Molina, HRDWRKER; Asmaa Walton | Courstey Saint Louis Art Museum

Asmaa Walton Joins Saint Louis Art Museum as Romare Bearden Fellow

The Saint Louis Art Museum’s 2019-2020 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow is Asmaa Walton. She has a BFA in art education from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in arts politics from New York University. A Detroit native, Walton was previously the first-ever KeyBank Diversity Leadership Fellow at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Gary Simmons Joins the Board of the Mike Kelley Foundation

The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced the appointment of artist Gary Simmons to its board of directors. The Los Angeles-based, artist-centered foundation “supports artists and arts organizations committed to developing compelling practices and programs—including experimental projects, lesser-known artists, and daring content across a wide range of disciplines.” He joins six other members, including artist Catherine Opie and Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby Elected to PAFA Board

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia elected five new members to its board of trustees, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, an ex-officio trustee. The Los Angeles-based artist is an alum of PAFA, where she received a post-baccalaureate degree in 2006 before earning an MFA from Yale University.

Crowdsourcing Funds to Preserve Nina Simone’s Childhood Home

In 2017, artists Adam Pendleton, Julie Mehretu, Rashid Johnson, and Ellen Gallagher came together to purchase the childhood home of Nina Simone and save it from demolition. Now the National Trust for Historic Preservation is ensuring the Tryon, N.C., home is preserved for future generations and is asking for the public’s help through a $25,000 Indiegogo campaign. With guidance from the artists, the National Trust “is working to develop a rehabilitation plan, perform critical exterior stabilization work, and identify future uses and protection for this National Treasure.”

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo x David Hammons?

GQ magazine covered the 35th annual Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) in Oakland, Calif. (July 13-14), reporting on the celebration of black cowboys and styling pioneers of the culture in the latest Western-inspired fashions. Interestingly, the feature includes the following description of the event: “Every year [Stephanie] Haynes (the winningest cowgirl in BPIR history), dressed in bedazzled chaps and denim to match, gallops into the center arena on horseback to Ray Charles’s rendition of ‘America the Beautiful,’ followed by a younger cowboy or cowgirl—this year Raemia Clemons had the honor—with another flag in tow: David Hammons‘s iconic African American flag, which the artist famously flew at a Swedish art show entitled ‘Black USA’ in 1990.” The flag Clemons is shown carrying is red, black, and green, but the design differs greatly from the flag Hammons created. It’s not the artist’s flag or a replica.

IMAGE: Raemia Clemons, 21, Barrel Racer at the 35th annual Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo in Oakland, Calif. | Photo by Alex Welsh via GQ

MoAD Offering Emerging Artists Solo Exhibition Opportunities

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco has issued a call for emerging and mid-career California artists, local Bay Area practitioners in particular. The museum’s 2019-2020 Emerging Artist Program seeks exhibition proposals “reflecting the cultural and artistic richness of the African Diaspora.” Three artists will be selected to present three-month solo exhibitions at the museum. The submission deadline is Aug. 5

Studio Museum in Harlem is Hiring

Several positions are available at the Studio Museum, including assistant to the director’s office, director of public programs and community engagement, and archive fellow. The museum also needs a couple of accountants. The positions are open until filled

Art + Feminism Seeks an Executive Director

Art + Feminism seeks an executive director who will work remotely. Established in 2014, Art + Feminism describes itself as “an award-winning do-it-yourself campaign to improve coverage of gender, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia.” The job is currently an independent contractor position. Applications are due Aug. 13

Magnum Foundation Fellowship for Photographers

Designed for early-career, New York City-based photographers, the Magnum Foundation Fellowship is a 12-week program from mid-September to mid-November offering a stipend, mentorship, and the opportunity to work on an individual project and participate in the daily operations of the foundation. The application deadline is Aug. 15


Brent Leggs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation enlists the public’s help through donations to restore Nina Simone’s childhood home. | Video by National Trust for Historic Preservation


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