SINCE 1999, PAMELA J. JOYNER and Alfred J. Giuffrida have focused their collecting on abstract art by artists of African descent. Nearing 100 artists, the collection is documented in a hefty volume, “Four Generations: The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art,” and a traveling exhibition.

After touring four museums, “Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection” arrived at the Baltimore Museum of Art expanded and transformed. The new version of the exhibition is titled “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art.” Presented as a series of conversations, duets, and solo shows, the exhibition tells a fascinating story about the lineage of black artists who since the post-war era have chosen to express themselves through abstraction.

A formidable group opens the show: Jack Whitten, Martin Puryear, Mark Bradford, and Julie Mehretu. Bradford and Puryear presented back-to-back solo shows in the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, in 2017 and 2019, respectively. A major traveling, mid-career survey of Mehretu opened recently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. At auction, works by Mehretu are the most expensive by a black woman, living or dead. Whitten, whose broader acclaim came in his final years, had a solo show at the Baltimore museum in 2018, occupying on his own the same space where works by 29 artists are now on view.

Their careers contrast with the experience of Norman Lewis, a celebrated painter with seven works installed in the next gallery. Lewis has been described as an “under-appreciated protagonist in the story of Abstract Expressionism.” In his lifetime, he never received the acclaim lavished on his white peers. Today, curators and major museums recognize his critical contributions. Joyner describes Lewis as the “entry point” to the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection.

“Generations” presents a spectrum of artists whose works make powerful personal, political, and aesthetic statements. Works by the likes of Lewis, Alma Thomas, Whitten, Frank Bowling, Sam Gilliam, Joe Overstreet, Ed Clark, Melvin Edwards, David Hammons, Glenn Ligon, Jennie C. Jones, Lorna Simpson, Bradford, Leonardo Drew, and Kevin Beasley are drawn from the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection. Additions from the Baltimore Museum of Art and other institutions and collectors by Puryear, Mehretu, Al Loving, Howardena Pindell, and Barbara Chase-Riboud, among others, help showcase a more comprehensive, intergenerational history of black abstract art.

“We’re endeavoring to put people on the walls in a way that not only the art world, but the community, might not naturally think of. It’s not immediately obvious that since the 1940s African Americans have been making transformational abstraction.”


Installation view of “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art,” Baltimore Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020), From left, works by Mark Bradford, Julie Mehretu, Martin Puryear, and Jack Whitten. | Photo by Mitro Hood and Maximilian Franz, Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Art

 

Central to the mission of Joyner and Giuffrida is the individual visibility of the artists they support. “We’re endeavoring to put people on the walls in a way that not only the art world, but the community, might not naturally think of. It’s not immediately obvious that since the 1940s African Americans have been making transformational abstraction,” Joyner told me.

The exhibition travels to the Pérez Art Museum Miami next (opening April 24) where it will resemble previous iterations. Joyner spoke to Culture Type about the collection, exhibition, and several artists she “loves.” She also shared backstories about acquiring some of the key works in the show:

 

CULTURE TYPE: How did the concept or idea to expand the “Solidary & Solitary” exhibition and present it as “Generations” at the Baltimore Museum of Art come about?

PAMELA J. JOYNER: It was always anticipated that Baltimore would be a materially larger presentation. Double the size. It was always anticipated that we would mix in work from Baltimore’s collection and perhaps other collections. And I think the change in name was just a practical one. This show bears no remote resemblance to Solidary Solitary. I mean, not really. There’s very little resemblance in terms of the works that are being shown. The underlying conceptual premise is consistent.

What was your role in the exhibition? How much of what we see in the exhibition display is something you weighed in on or had opinions about?

Almost zero. Where I weighed in is when I bought the artists in the collection. And that was the deal from the outset. We came up with the notion of doing this show in a time-constrained way. We had to organize it fairly quickly. I really wanted Katy Siegel and Chris Bedford to co-curate it. They had other things going on at the time. They committed when we were all in Venice at their Venice Biennale (organizing Mark Bradford’s exhibition “Tomorrow is Another Day”).

I did, however, make one request at the outset and I could not have anticipated how thrilled I am with the outcome. I said to the two of them, I promise not to micromanage, but here’s one input I have. I really don’t want this to be one more black group show. I said this is hard because it’s a group. It’s mostly, but not exclusively, black.

 


From left, JACK WHITTEN (American, 1939-2018), “Black Monolith X, Birth of Mohammed Ali,” 2016 (acrylic on canvas, overall: 84 × 63 inches /213.4 × 160 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection ; and JACK WHITTEN (American, 1939-2018), “Zen Master,” 1968 (oil on canvas, 63 1/4 × 86 inches / 160.7 × 218.4 cm.) | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection

 

Interesting.

I made that statement and the argument and I didn’t really have to argue with them because they buy this notion that there’s an arbitrariness to grouping all people of color together, unless they have some aesthetic reason to be in the same environment. I wanted to see what kind of storytelling they could come up with that would address the individual creativity of the individual maker. They could not have come up with a more elegant solution.

I don’t care how long and hard I thought about it personally, I could never have come up with this notion of the solos and duets that they came up with. The title Solidary and Solitary reflects that. In fact, when I first saw the title, I had to look up “solidary. “ I thought there was a spelling error (laughs).

This was a very particular construct. Most of these artists, their whole careers have been proposing to be viewed individually. But they also belong to a certain collective and many of them are from a particular era in time when that collective identity had very specific and urgent implications. I think the yin and yang of that is really well captured in the curatorial approach.

Most of these artists, their whole careers have been proposing to be viewed individually. But they also belong to a certain collective and many of them are from a particular era in time when that collective identity had very specific and urgent implications.

Christopher Bedford (Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art) mentioned in his opening remarks at the press preview that in 2016 it was a challenge to get museums to sign on to the traveling exhibition. I’ve heard that about a number of black exhibitions over the years, that there’s always this challenge to get institutions to take the show. From what he said, that’s changing some. Can you talk about how the landscape has changed from when you began this exhibition to now?

The other exhibition that famously ran into the same situation was “Soul of a Nation.” Of course, with my involvement with Tate, I’ve been very involved with “Soul of a Nation” from the outset of its conception. I just think that there is now more knowledge created around what is a true history. The history is the history. It happened. The issue was revealing the substance and importance of the history.

In the past you’ve heard me, or read things I’ve said, about how important I think the curatorial community is and I couldn’t even re-emphasize that more. More and more curators have unearthed and revealed more and more information about these makers and as that happens people are continuing to develop an appreciation for how significant these artists are.

Let’s just use, for instance, Jack Whitten as an example. I think between 2016 and today there’s a lot fuller understanding of how important Jack was to the canon. He was important to the canon in 1970, but nobody knew it. But now we’ve unpacked more and more of that history. Revealed more and more of that history. As that happened, museums have wanted to do what their business is, which is tell those stories.

“I think between 2016 and today there’s a lot fuller understanding of how important Jack Whitten was to the canon. He was important to the canon in 1970, but nobody knew it. But now we’ve unpacked more and more of that history.”


Detail of LORNA SIMPSON, (American, born 1960), “Soundlessness,” 2016 (ink, acrylic, and screenprint on clay board, 107 3/4 × 96 inches / 273.7 × 243.8 cm.). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection| Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

 

Let’s talk about some of the artists and works in this exhibition. Lorna Simpson’s work “Soundlessness.” She did a residency with you when she made the transition about five years ago from focusing primarily on photography to start painting on this large scale. Did she do that work when she was in residence with you? Can you tell me about that work, acquiring that work, and your thoughts about her transition to painting?

It’s a funny story actually. The very first one of those large-scale paintings that she made she made following a really serious earthquake at my residency. She’d been there for a couple of weeks. We’d been up all night giggling, drinking wine and what have you. We don’t have any requirements in our residency. You don’t have to come and make work, give presentations, give work. You don’t have to do that. You do what you want to do. We’d been giggling and doing girly for a couple of weeks and then this earthquake happened, and she started making, what she described to me as, serious work in a new direction.

My house is next door, so I’m wanting to go over and see and she said, “Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.” So, one day a couple of weeks later, right before she’s about to leave, she invited me over to see this work. That was a work that was the very first one and one I had hoped to acquire in the collection and that was kind of our agreement. That is also the work that Okwui Enwezor saw when he was trying to select the roster of artists to include in his Venice Biennale (2015) and based on that piece of work he selected her for the Venice Biennale.

We own a few things jointly with the Rennie Collection (in Vancouver). Bob has a particular way he does things. He made the decision to buy, acquire all five of the pieces that were scheduled to be shown in the Venice Biennale. That first one was not one of the ones that was on the checklist. Then two weeks before Venice opened, Okwui switched out one painting for the one Lorna had made at my residency. Then Bob and I had to negotiate. I said you like to keep these works together with their history and I am not going to pluck that one out. He actually owns that very first painting.

I wound up buying a work that was early in that series. Like Lorna, I also have a history in the classical performing arts. A lot of people still think of me as a supporter of classical ballet, which I have been for most of my life, but I’m really now focused almost completely on the visual arts. That image is sort of a montage of images from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. It’s ascending a staircase that’s not all that easy to navigate. I think that is an analogy for the collection, for Lorna’s practice, in part for my life. I just find it really poetic.

Soundlessness by Lorna Simpson: “That image is sort of a montage of images from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. It’s ascending a staircase that’s not all that easy to navigate. I think that is an analogy for the collection, for Lorna’s practice, in part for my life. I just find it really poetic.”

Do you think the earthquake motivated this new direction?

I think it just shook her up, literally. It was four o’clock in the morning. She couldn’t find the flashlights. The power was out. It was like a light went on. She clearly must have been thinking about this beforehand. When that work was finally finished, it was all laid out on the floor of the studio at the residency. I went over there, and I was like a teenager at a slumber party. Both of us were. We just screamed. I’d never seen anything like it.

 


NORMAN LEWIS (American, 1909-1979), “Afternoon,” 1969 (oil on canvas, 72 × 88 inches / 182.9 × 223.5 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection, © Estate of Norman Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

 

Tell me about the Norman Lewis work “Afternoon.”

It’s a very wonderful personal story. Through Elliott Perry and Darrell Walker (collectors), I got to know Tarin Fuller (daughter of Norman Lewis). I think I had tea with her somewhere on the circuit. And I said, I have a this and a that by Norman Lewis. He really is the entry point for our collection and I don’t think I have a painting. I don’t have a major painting that shows Norman’s skill as a colorist.

She said you’ve got to come to my space and go through it. I’m going back and forth back and forth and then I find this painting. At this time the estate was not represented. I said, “Would you consider selling this to me?” And she said, Absolutely. And we worked it out. We were talking about it last night. How meaningful an experience that was for both of us.

“I said, I have a this and a that by Norman Lewis. He really is the entry point for our collection and I don’t think I have a painting. I don’t have a major painting that shows Norman’s skill as a colorist.”

What year was that?

Oh gosh. I don’t’ remember exactly. Maybe 2009, 2010. Somewhere in there. I can’t even remember.

That is the first painting you bought of Norman Lewis directly from his family?

Yeah. Well, the only one. The other ones I’ve bought from dealers. I’ve bought at auction. You put together, what you can put together.

You mentioned this and that by Norman Lewis. Of the works that are up in the exhibition, is one of these the first that you purchased of Norman Lewis?

Uh, yes. Actually, it’s a drawing and I’m going to struggle to remember the name of the drawing. It’s an orange and yellow drawing. I bought that work…

Is it “Easter Rehearsal”?

“Easter Rehearsal.” And I bought that work, I want to say, in 2003 or ‘04 from Michael Rosenfeld. This is about the time I’m beginning to think about really putting together a collection. It took a couple more years for me to get a coherent view on what that process would look like. I just knew I loved and needed Norman Lewis. And I started buying Norman Lewis.

 


ALMA W. THOMAS (American, 1891-1978), “Pink Dogwoods and Azaleas,” 1971 (oil on canvas, 25 × 25 inches / 63.5 × 63.5 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection

 

Alma Thomas. I would love to know about “Pink Dogwoods and Azaleas.”

Her work has been so hard to find. It’s so interesting. What felt expensive five years ago, feels really cheap today. Not only was it not easy to find, but wherever I was in the cycle, it always felt expensive. This was just something I hunted down at auction. It had been owned by a student of hers who didn’t buy food or furniture in order to buy this painting, very many years ago. It always had been loved. It’s not been cleaned or touched in any way. We feel really honored to have it.

You bought it at LA Modern Auctions?

No. No. No. No. There’s one that everybody thought was mine. It’s very similar to this one that came up, maybe five or six years ago, at LA Modern Auctions. This was some midwestern auction house in the middle of nowhere.

You’ve had it for a long time, right?

Yeah. Awhile.

Do you know about when you got this one?

Uhm. It’s been more than 10 years ago.

“Her work (Alma Thomas) has been so hard to find. It’s so interesting. What felt expensive five years ago, feels really cheap today. Not only was it not easy to find, but wherever I was in the cycle, it always felt expensive.”

You mentioned the idea that it was important to get beyond race and focus on artists. You have Virginia Jaramillo in the exhibition. Can you talk about her inclusion?

She actually showed almost exclusively with the cohort of African American artists with whom she’s hung in this show. She was married to Daniel LaRue Johnson. And if you look back for instance to the 1971 “DeLuxe Show,” where that painting “Green Dawn” was shown, she was hanging with all of these other artists who are in that show—Ed Clark, Mel Edwards, Bill Williams (William T. Williams), I believe Richard Hunt was in that show (he was).

It’s actually the exact same cohort. And that says something about the evolution of institutions, the art world, the artists. Plus, I just think she’s one hell of a good painter. And then when you look at more recent shows, I would point to Brooklyn’s “Radical Black Women.” She was in that show. And a painting from the same 1970s, early 1970s series hangs in “Soul of a Nation.” She’s very much a part of that conversation and has been throughout her career.

 


CHARLES GAINES (American, born 1944), “Numbers and Trees: Central Park Series I: Tree #9, Henry,” 2016 (mounted inkjet prints and acrylic paint on printed Plexiglas, Each Panel: 96 × 42 inches / 243.8 × 106.7 cm.), Approximate Overall: 96 × 120 inches / 243.8 × 304.8 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection

 

Let’s talk about Charles Gaines.

Ooh, I love Charles.

“Numbers and Trees: Central Park Series IV” is on the main wall of his solo presentation within the larger exhibition. Tell me about Charles. What draws you to his work and why is it important?

Charles is such an important figure in many, many ways. I think people don’t appreciate that any conceptual artist from the West Coast was not only influenced by him, but [many were] taught by him. He is one of the founders, one of the key founders, of West Coast conceptualism.

We are so interested in and own deeply Mark Bradford. You know Mark Bradford was one of Charles’s teaching assistants. Rodney McMillian, Edgar Arceneaux. I believe Gary Simmons was taught by him. Cathy Opie. I mean you name it. Charles has touched people in a very particular way.

In our book (“Four Generations”), there’s an interview that Courtney Martin did with Mark and Charles together. It was actually one of the most memorable days in my life. It’s reduced to however many pages it’s reduced to, but this discussion took place over about six hours. Mark says things like, he didn’t really know his father, but Charles has been like a father figure to him. That he had the creative exuberance, but Charles taught him how to put order on that.

When you look at how Mark makes and when you really look at his paintings, you can see that he is in that line of progression. That he’s related to Charles. That he has been mentored by Charles. I would suggest that for several of the makers in our collection. That lineage is very clear.

His influence on others is clear. What about his work?

Once I understood that, I began to develop an interest in Charles’s work. His work for us has everything. It has the legacy. It has the innovative, transformational, visual, and underlying intellectual content. He’s very much wed to the notion that he wants to be viewed as an individual maker, but he also is very in touch with his collective identity and he doesn’t think that those are oppositional. He thinks that those are completely compatible. He’s very articulate on the subject. What he’s very modest about is the impact he’s had, not just on artists of color, but just artists. He’s very modest about that.

What you saw hanging there (“Numbers and Trees: Central Park Series I: Tree #9, Henry”), in terms of the big works, it’s a very deliberate thing. Those series are series of eight. But in each case, we own number nine. Why? Because he was kind enough to sell it to us. Charles, in recent years, started making an additional work in the series for his own archive… It’s one tree and system juxtaposed on the prior one. When you own the last one, you essentially own the series. That is my way of owning the whole series, which is not that easy for me to do. If I own the last one I, in effect, own the whole prior series.

“Charles Gaines is such an important figure in many, many ways. I think people don’t appreciate that any conceptual artist from the West Coast was not only influenced by him, but [many were] taught by him.”


Installation view of “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art,” Baltimore Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020), Foreground, MELVIN EDWARDS, “A Conversation with Norman Lewis (1979), background, from left, SHINIQUE SMITH, “Black, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink” (2015), KEVIN BEASLEY, “Bronx Fitted” (2015), GARY SIMMONS, “Double Cinder” (2007). | Photo by Mitro Hood and Maximilian Franz, Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Art

 

There are some younger artists in the show, I’m thinking about Shinique Smith and Kevin Beasley, whose works are hanging together in the show. Can you talk about their pieces?

Shinique’s been at the residency also. I’ve been buying her work since 2009 or 2010. She had a really comprehensive survey show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston a few years ago and we had several pieces in that show. That big rainbow piece, it’s really a monumental effort. She came to me when she was making it and asked me to help fund making it. And I did that. But that piece haunted me, because I said I was kind of out of budget. I funded the making, but I didn’t buy the piece. It was still available, and I bought it.

She’s also one committed to this dialogue that I’m discussing where she wants to be recognized as an abstract maker in and of her own right. But it’s clear what her roots are and what her culture is and that comes out. She’s somebody I’ve gotten to know well.

Kevin Beasley’s also been at the residency. I want to say at least twice, maybe three times. He’s coming again next year (2020). That big alter piece is, if that’s what you’re referring to, because there are two works in the show…

The baseball cap piece.

The baseball cap piece (“Bronx Fitted”) is the first one we bought. We own that career deeply. I think we own 10 maybe 12 works by Kevin Beasley. We’ve also commissioned work. We’ve also commissioned work by Shinique Smith.

“The baseball cap piece (“Bronx Fitted”) is the first one we bought. We own that career deeply. I think we own 10 maybe 12 works by Kevin Beasley. We’ve also commissioned work. We’ve also commissioned work by Shinique Smith.”

That huge, single room installation (by Kevin Beasley) that is a perfect example of where I will collaborate with the Rennie, usually on pieces that are too big for me to house because I don’t have a private museum. He (Bob Rennie) doesn’t really keep things on view. He does rotating shows. We buy it together. We can own something that is monumental to the practice. I would say, the wonderful cotton gin piece, not withstanding, at the Whitney, I think this is Kevin’s most iconic work, if not close to the most iconic work.

Frankly, Bob and I, it’s interesting, we thought people would not respond positively to the idea of us owning work together. But, in fact, maybe it’s the moment, the sharing economy. People seem interested in the fact that in some ways it’s more efficient. One, it’s an efficient use of our resources. Two, we can get it out in the world in a different way. It can be seen more. That’s our intent.

When you said you thought people would have problem with it, did you mean the artists you’re acquiring it from, or the institutions that might be showing it?

Both, both.

 


Installation view of works by LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE from The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection, “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art,” Baltimore Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020). | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

 

Your focus is on abstract art, but you collect very deeply with Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, who is recognized for her figurative practice. How does she fit into your collection?

I love Lynette. I’ve always proposed that she’s an abstract painter. Some critic, somewhere recently, actually wrote that. I thought, well okay. But you know, the people aren’t real.

They’re imagined.

Right. I actually have breached that line in a more serious way elsewhere in the collection. My view is I make the rules, I can break them. I am not a museum. There are times when I find extraordinary painters or artists outside of the mainstream of our collecting practice that I love and acquire.

Jordan Casteel is probably the even more obvious example. I love that work. I love that she’s foregrounding people who would otherwise be in the background. That is completely consistent with the mission of our collection.

I love everything about her personal story. I think the work has gotten really good. Really fast. That is an artist I expect to continue to collect.

What about Lynette, though? What about her work stands out for you?

Oh, I love it. I love it. I mean, I just love the formalism. I love the historical references. I love that they’re people we might know. You can see I have ballet dancers. It’s really as basic as that. I just love the people. What I don’t have, that I would love to have, is a painting with several figures in it. I’m trying, but me and everybody else on the face of the planet, right?

Portraits by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: “I love it. I love it. I mean, I just love the formalism. I love the historical references. I love that they’re people we might know.”

While it’s been positive over the past few years that there has been broader interest in Africa American art, that should’ve have been there long ago, how is that affecting your ability to expand the collection? Works are exponentially more expensive now.

They are. They are exponentially more expensive. I have to be even more… I’ve always been pretty focused… I write a mission and strategy, but the most important thing I write in this era of high prices is an execution plan. What does that look like? Who I am going to buy on an annual basis. I try to stick to the plan. I try to execute the plan.

Does that mean you are continuing to buy people who are mid-career but maybe concentrating more on who’s coming next?

No. It means who am I going to buy? That’s part of the execution plan. The other part of the plan is understanding in a high level of detail across the multiple generations, from the 1940s to 40 minutes ago, where are the holes in the collection and how am I going to fill them.

There are historic holes. Now we are not four generations, we are really five generations. That’s just an organizing principle for me. I think of birthdates. Where across this span of history, do I have holes and what is it I am endeavoring to fill?

For instance, I would love to have owned an Al Loving torn canvas. There is one on display in the “Generations” show, but it’s not ours. But there were only 15 of those and I didn’t get one. I wasn’t able to acquire one of those. There are no more. They are mostly in institutional hands. I try to be surgical and knowledgeable. Things come up and I just have to be ready to act when things come up.

 


From left, FRANK BOWLING (Guyana-born British, born 1936), “Traveling with Robert Hughes,” 1969-1970 (acrylic on canvas, 111 1/8 x 83 1/8 inches / 282.3 x 211.1 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection; and AL LOVING (American, 1935-2005), “Brownie, Sunny, Dave, and Al,” 1972, later revised (stained, torn, cut, and sewn canvas, and wooden rod, 174 × 132 3/4 inches / 442 × 337.2 cm). | National Gallery of Art, Washington, Pepita Milmore Memorial Fund, 2013.61.1

 

You have a strategy and a plan and you have gaps. What are looking for now? What’s on your list?

(Pauses and laughs) Well, for instance, sculpture is not that easy for me to own, but we do own it. Because I’ve been busy buying paintings, I had never fully prioritized the sculpture. Among historical figures, and he’s in his early 80s, Richard Hunt is someone who is surfacing in the collection. And we’ve this year (2019), bought several. Richard Hunt is one person.

I mentioned Jordan Casteel. I’m sad that I’m not at her opening today (“Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze” at Stanford University’s Cantor Museum). We love that work. We will continue to buy that work. I mentioned Lynette and the hole I’m trying to plug there.

We love Firelei Baez. She’s amazing. We bought an installation and emptied a room and installed it in my house. I’ve never done that. We’re very committed to her. We’re very committed to Shinique. That kind of spans, that runs the generational gamut.

You have a mission-driven collection. You’ve been collecting. You’ve been connecting people, museums and curators with artists. You’ve got a book and the touring exhibition. What’s next? What’s the next step in continuing and pushing the mission forward?

Since 2016, we’ve had a series of projects. Of course, the planning for it began before the book was released in 2016. I’m ready to be done with projects for a while. (Laughs) For the moment, what I’m really looking forward to is concentrating on artists and buying art.

Now that said, you know I sit on a number of boards and those endeavors always have a project orientation to them because the museums that have excited me are quite dedicated to organizational change. There are always projects that are unanticipated that come up in the context of those boards that require time, attention, and resources. I’m just going to focus on my boards, my artists, and art. CT

 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

 

“Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art” is on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020

“Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection” is on view at at Pérez Art Museum Miami, April 24, July 26, 2020

 

TOP IMAGE: SHINIQUE SMITH (American, born 1971), “Black, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink,” 2015 (clothing, fabric, and ribbon on wood panel 72 × 252 × 6 inches / 182.9 × 640.1 × 15.2 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection

 

BOOKSHELF
“Four Generations: The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art” was published in 2016. A new and expanded version of the volume was recently released to coincide with the Baltimore exhibition.

 


Installation view of “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art,” Baltimore Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020), Works by John Scott flanking WILLIAM T. WILLIAMS, “Eastern Star” (1971). | Photo by Mitro Hood and Maximilian Franz, Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Art

 


Installation view of NORMAN LEWIS, “Afternoon” (1969), far left, and “Easter Rehearsal” (1959), second from right at bottom, with additional Lewis works from the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art,” Baltimore Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020). | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

 


LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE (English, born 1977), “Godly Governance,” 2013 oil on canvas, 59 × 55 inches / 149.9 × 139.7 cm). | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection

 


Installation view of ALMA W. THOMAS, “Pink Dogwoods and Azaleas” (1971), second from right, with Thomas works from the Smithsonian American Art Museums, “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art,” Baltimore Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2019-Jan. 19, 2020). | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine

 


KEVIN BEASLEY (American, born 1985), “Chair of the Ministers of Defense,” 2016 (resin, wood, acoustic foam, jeans, trousers, du-rags, altered t-shirts, altered hoodies, guinea fowl feathers, wrought iron window gate, vintage Beni Ourain Moroccan rug, kaftans, housedresses, Maasai war shields, Zulu war shields, and vintage peacock rattan chair, Overall: 154 × 162 × 84 inches / 391.2 × 411.5 × 213.4 cm). | The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco and Rennie Collection, Vancouver

 

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