This post will be updated throughout the week

Feb. 19, 2021

Art Institute of Chicago Appoints Leader of People and Culture
Norissa Bailey is joining the Art Institute of Chicago as senior vice president, People and Culture. In her new post, she will “shape the museum’s efforts on inclusion and belonging, staff engagement, performance management, and communications. Under her guidance the team will advance the museum’s anti-racism and equity work and prioritize building and sustaining a supportive workplace culture in alignment with our central Human Resources team.” Bailey previously served as vice president, People and Culture at Chicago’s Navy Pier and managed human resources at Perkins and Will, the global design firm. She officially starts at the Art Institute on March 1.


Calida Rawles Joins Lehmann Maupin
Lehmann Maupin announced its representation of Calida Rawles. The Los Angeles-based artist is recognized for her images of Black men, women, and young people submerged and floating in waves of pool water. Her first solo exhibition with the gallery will open in New York City in September 2021. | Culture Type


Newark Museum of Art Announces Board Co-Chairs
Two business executives are leading the Newark Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees. Eric Fitzgerald Reed, vice president of public policy and community engagement for Verizon Communications, has been appointed co-chair of the museum’s board. He is serving alongside Allen Karp, executive vice president of health care management and transformation at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Linda Harrison serves as director and CEO of New Jersey’s Newark Museum of Art.


Phillips Collection Elects New Board Members
The Phillips Collection elected five new board members, including Sala Elise Patterson, a writer and communications, content, and brand strategist, who founded The Songhai Group, a communications advisory firm whose clients include international organizations, cultural institutions, and mission-driven companies. The Washington, D.C., museum is celebrating its centennial in 2021.


IMAGE: Norissa Bailey. | Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago


Feb. 18, 2021

Art Historian Kobena Mercer is Joining Faculty at Bard College
Bard College announced the appointment of Kobena Mercer, whose scholarship focuses on “modern and contemporary art in the Black Atlantic, examining African American, Caribbean and Black British artists with critical methods from cultural studies.” Beginning in fall 2021, he will serve as the Charles P. Stevenson Chair in Art History and the Humanities, a joint appointment between the Art History and Visual Culture Program in the undergraduate College, and the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS). Mercer is joining Bard from Yale University. His many books include “Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies” (1994), his first, and “Alain Locke and the Visual Arts,” which is forthcoming in 2022.


Artists Announced for Desert X 2021
Serge Attukwei Clottey, Christopher Myers, and Xaviera Simmons are among the 13 artists selected for Desert X 2021. The third edition of the outdoor biennial exhibition is March 12-May 16 in Coachella Valley, Calif.


Hauser & Wirth Opening in Menorca This Summer
After a two-year conservation and restoration project, Hauser & Wirth Menorca is opening July 17 with a Mark Bradford show. The new art center and outdoor sculpture trail on Isla del Rey is located in the port of Mahon in the Mediterranean Sea. The inaugural exhibition will feature a group of new paintings and sculptures by Los Angeles-based Bradford.


DIA Investing in African American Art
In December, the Founders Junior Council (FJC) at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) donated more than $1 million to the museum, including $250,000 designated for the purchase of works by African American artists. FJC is a group of young professional dedicated to exposing Detroit youth to DIA and its programming. This week, leaders of the council appeared on a local radio program and discussed the investment in African American Art. | Deadline Detroit


CARRIE MAE WEEMS, “Thoughts on Marriage,” 1989. | © Carrie Mae Weems; Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Feb. 17, 2021

Carrie Mae Weems Joined Fraenkel Gallery
Fraenkel Gallery announced its representation of multidisciplinary artist Carrie Mae Weems today. The San Francisco gallery is working with Weems in collaboration with Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Weems, whose practice spans photography, installation, video, and performance, will have a survey exhibition at Fraenkel in September 2021.


Newfields President is Out in Wake of Racially Offensive Job Posting
Charles L. Venable, the president of Newfields, has resigned. Newfields board released a statement about his departure today. The 152-acre campus houses the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is seeking a new director via the search firm m/Oppenheim. The employment listing posted on the firm’s website stated the new leader would be charged with diversifying the museum’s audience, while maintaining its “traditional, core, white art audience.” After complaints, the listing was modified. Subsequently, museum employees and the board released a public letter calling for Veneble’s resignation. Nearly 2,000 artists, local arts leaders and former employees of the museum also issued an open letter calling for his removal. | The New York Times


Theaster Gates is Co-Curating Sculpture Milwaukee
Artists Theaster Gates and Michelle Grabner have been named co-curators of Sculpture Milwaukee 2021. The Wisconsin event is “one of the largest annual outdoor exhibitions to focus on contemporary sculpture and public art practices.” The fifth edition of Sculpture Milwaukee opens June 2021 and will be on view through fall 2022.


FEBRUARY JAMES, “Change comes upon us like a change of weather,” 2020 (oil, oil pastel, watercolor, and acrylic on linen). | © February James, Courtesy the artist and Tilton Gallery

Feb. 16, 2021

February James Joins Tilton Gallery
Tilton Gallery in New York now represents February James. Her emotional figurative works amount to emotional portraits capturing the essence of her subjects, rather than true likenesses. The Los Angeles-based artist described her work in an interview with Sixty Inches From Center last year. James said: “When I make work now, I’m conjuring up this emotional place. I am painting from my lived experiences. These are all aunts, uncles, and people that have been around me or informed my upbringing. I’m attempting to create a space that holds that emotional state. In my work, I do tend to probe cultural transmissions and oral histories; things that are passed down from generation to generation. But I’m not resolving that in the work itself. I’m kind of situating all of us into this emotional space to start to bring about conversations that will change the future.” Her first solo show with the gallery will be presented in late spring. The news was announced today. | via email


Judson Powell at “66 Signs of Neon” exhibition, in front of “Barrel and Plow” (1966), a collaboration between Powell and Noah Purifoy. | Noah Purifoy Foundation

Feb. 15, 2021

Los Angeles Artist Judson Powell Has Died
The Noah Purifoy Foundation announced the passing of Judson Powell (1933-2021) last week. He died Feb. 8. An established musician, Powell met Noah Purifoy in 1964 and the two became great friends and collaborators. Powell transformed himself into an assemblage artist, taught at the Watts Towers Art Center, and co-organized the traveling exhibition “66 Signs of Neon” with Purifoy. In 1969, Powell founded Communicative Arts Academy in Compton and hired John Outterbridge (1933-2020) as director.


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