This post will be updated with the latest news in Black art throughout the week

AMY SHERALD (b. 1973), “Breonna Taylor,” 2020 (oil on linen, 137.2 x 109.2 cm / 54 x 43 inches). | © Amy Sherald. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Joseph Hyde

March 7, 2021

Two Museums are Jointly Acquiring Amy Sherald’s Portrait of Breonna Taylor
The portrait of Breonna Taylor that Amy Sherald painted for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine (September 2020) is expected to be jointly acquired by the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky., Taylor’s hometown, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The arrangement was orchestrated by the artist herself, with the help of her friend Kate Capshaw and the Ford Foundation, under the leadership of Darren Walker. “I felt like it should live out in the world,” Sherald said. “I started to think about her hometown and how maybe this painting could be a Balm in Gilead for Louisville.” | New York Times


Obama Center Reveals Special Selma to Montgomery Facade Text
In 2015, President Barack Obama made a historic speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights. Words from that speech will be carved into the exterior of the future Obama Presidential Center Museum in Chicago. Today, Louise Bernard, the museum’s director, marked the 56th anniversary of the courageous actions by sharing the excerpt from the speech that will grace the building:

“You are America. Unconstrained by habit and convention. Unencumbered by what is, ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, there is new ground to cover, there are more bridges to be crossed. America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We The People.’ ‘We Shall Overcome.’ ‘Yes We Can.’ That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.” — President Obama, 2015


Obama Presidential Center reveals the text that will appear on the south-facing facade of the building’s museum. | Video by Obama Foundation

March 6, 2021

Zanele Muholi Exhibition Headed to Jacksonville, Fla.
When Andrea Barnwell Brownlee presented her vision for the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, she said the Jacksonville, Fla., museum should be on a national platform. Brownlee officially joined the museum as director and CEO in December and is already realizing her vision, having booked “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness,” the international touring exhibition of South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi. (Brownlee previously presented the Muholi show in Atlanta when she helmed the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.) After its presentation at the Cummer Museum (April 15-June 6, 2021), the exhibition is headed to the Tate Modern in London, where its schedule shifted after the museum was closed temporarily due to COVID-19. | Forbes


Newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters include, clockwise from top left, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Adrian Piper, and Lorna Simpson. | Portraits: Saar-Courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, Calif., Photo by David Sprague; Ringgold- Photo by Grace Matthews; Piper- SN/APA (EPA)/Andrea Merola; Simpson-Photo by James Wang

March 5, 2021

American Academy of Arts and Letters Elects Highly Diverse Slate of New Members
In order to diversify its ranks and make its membership more inclusive and reflective of the nation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters is expanding its membership from 250 to a maximum of 300 members, including architects, visual artists, composers, and writers. The academy began adding to its ranks by naming 29 new elected members and 4 honorary members (Spike Lee, among them). Seventeen of the elected members are Black, including seven visual artists—Mark Bradford, Theaster Gates, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and Lorna Simpson.


Judge Ruled Images of Enslaved People Rightfully Belong to Harvard
After Tamara Lanier filed suit against Harvard University claiming ownership of images of an enslaved father and daughter known as Renty and Delia, a Massachusetts judge ruled the university is the rightful owner of the 1850 daguerreotypes. Lanier says the subjects of the images are her ancestors. When Carrie Mae Weems used the images in a 1995-96 series titled “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried,” without Harvard’s permission the university threatened to sue her. | The New York Times


BOB THOMPSON, “Garden of Music,” 1960 (oil on canvas. 79 1/2 × 143 inches / 201.9 × 363.2 cm). | Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. © Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York. Photo by Allen Phillips / Wadsworth Atheneum

March 4, 2021

Colby College Plans Major Bob Thompson Exhibition in July
This summer, the first major museum exhibition of Bob Thompson (1937–1966) in two decades opens at the Colby Museum of Art at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Featuring about 85 paintings and works on paper, “Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine” (July 20, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022) will explore the artist’s “brief but prolific transatlantic career, examining his formal inventiveness and his engagement with universal themes of collectivity, bearing witness, struggle, and justice.” The show will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog and is traveling to three additional venues—the Smart Museum of Art at The University of Chicago, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.


Guggenheim Expands Teen Internship Program
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is expanding its Guggenheim Teens internship program, making it available to a broader group of New York City students and providing a stipend for the yearlong experience. Previously, the museum hosted 15 students annually. The new three-year commitment will double the number of students selected this year (June 2021 to May 2022), with at least 30 able to participate; and accommodate four times as many students (60) in each of the remaining two years, through May 2024. The amplified opportunities respond to the education goals of the Guggenheim’s Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion Action Plan “to diversify audiences and construct a more inclusive workforce for museums while providing greater awareness of possible careers in the arts” and are made possible by a grant from board member J. Tomilson Hill and Janine Hill, through the couple’s Hill Art Foundation.

March 3, 2021

MoMA Temporarily Covers Architect Philip Johnson’s Name After Accusations of White Supremacy
Citing Philip Johnson’s white supremacist views, a group of architects, designers, and artists asked the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Harvard University to remove the architect’s name from their buildings and spaces. Harvard immediately renamed its Philip Johnson Thesis House, henceforth referring to the site as “9 Ash Street,” its street address. Months later, MoMA has responded by temporarily covering Johnson’s name on one of the museum’s interior walls just outside a new exhibition: “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.” A text-based artwork—a collaborative effort by the Black Reconstruction Collective (BRC), a nonprofit founded by the 10 participants in the exhibition—now covers Johnson’s name and will remain in place throughout the show, which concludes May 31. | Hyperallergic


Architectural Historians Recognized
The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) named five 2021 fellows, including Steven Nelson, dean of the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) and professor emeritus at UCLA, and Mabel O. Wilson, professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the African American and African Diasporic Studies Department. Wilson also co-organized “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America,” which recently opened at the Museum of Modern Art, and is co-editor of the accompanying exhibition catalog. One of SAH’s highest honors, fellows are recognized for a lifetime of distinguished contributions to the field.


TAU LEWIS, The talons of the eagle, the ladder of death, by God’s grace, all will be well,” 2021. | © Tau Lewis, Courtesy the artist and Night Gallery

March 2, 2021

Tau Lewis Joins Night Gallery
Night Gallery in Los Angeles announced its representation of Tau Lewis. The gallery said Lewis’s work work “draws from hand-crafting practices of quilting and dyeing to create immersive new worlds. Assembled from repurposed household materials, her fantastical figures and otherworldly environments bare traces of their domestic origins while embodying utopian visions.” Among her upcoming exhibitions, is a solo show at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and she is also participating in Prospect 5 in New Orleans. Born in Toronto, Lewis lives and works in New York.


Rubin Foundation Awards Art & Social Justice Grants
The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation announced recipients of its sixth annual art and social justice grants. After responding to the initiative’s open call, 27 New York City organizations were selected, including A.I.R. Gallery, African Film Festival Inc., The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Brooklyn Public Library, El Museo del Barrio, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, Lewis Latimer House Museum, Nuyorican Poets Café, Recess, Socrates Sculpture Park, Visual AIDS, Weeksville Heritage Center and Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.). See full list


Joan Mitchell Foundation Announces 2021 Artists-in-Residence
The Joan Mitchell Foundation announced 35 new participants in its 2021 Artist-in-Residence program at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. The selected artists are divided into two cohorts: spring/summer, from March 15-July 30, 2021, including Amber Adams, Nic Brierre Aziz, and Abdi Farah; and fall/winter, from Sept. 13, 2021-Feb. 11, 2022, including Langston Allston, Malcolm Peacock, Kenneth Scott Jr., and jackie sumell.


Panel 28, From Jacob Lawrence’s series “Struggle: From the History of the American People” (1954-56). Long-titled “Immigrants admitted from all countries: 1820-1840—115,773,” when it was recently discovered, in Lawrence’s own hand, on the reverse he titled the work “The Emigrants — 1821-1830 (106,308).” | © Jacob Lawrence. The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; via Peabody Essex Museum

March 1, 2021

In the Space of Months, Second ‘Lost’ Jacob Lawrence Painting Shows Up
Another long-missing panel from Jacob Lawrence’s “Struggle: From the History of the American People” series turned up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Panel 28 from the “Struggle” series had been hanging in a nurse’s kitchen. For decades, the locations of seven panels from the 30-panel series produced between 1954-56 were unknown. In 2008, one showed up at Christie’s (Panel 3). Another painting (Panel 19) was offered at Swann Auction Galleries in 2018. A third (Panel 16), was discovered last fall in another apartment on the Upper West Side, while the “Struggle” exhibition was on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Months later, the latest painting showed up when the nurse walked into the Met with her son, an art history student, to share the fact that Panel 28 was in her possession, a gift from her mother-in-law. “Struggle” traveled to the Seattle Art Museum where it opens to the public on March 5, with the latest panel to come to light on display in the exhibition for the first time, having undergone restoration work. The locations of three panels—20, 24, and 29—remain outstanding. The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., where the exhibition was organized, has set up an email ( for any information leading to their whereabouts. | New York Times


Artforum, March 2021: LORRAINE O’GRADY, “Art Is . . . (Troupe Front),” 1983/2009 (c-print, 16 × 20″), From Art Is . . . , 1983/2009. | © Lorraine O’Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Lorraine O’Grady Covers March Artforum
On the occasion of Lorraine O’Grady‘s first major museum retrospective, “Both/And” at the Brooklyn Museum, the legendary artist is celebrated by Artforum magazine. Her renowned work “Art is…” graces the March 2021 cover and her practice is further explored inside the issue. Catherine Damman consider’s O’Grady’s four-decade career; Mira Dayal weighs in on “Miscegenated Family Album” (1980/1994). Plus the artist talks about her new work “Announcement Of A New Persona (Performances To Come!)” (2020). From the archives, Artforum also revisits O’Grady’s 1992 essay about Black female filmmakers.


JADE FADOJUTIMI, “Ob-sess(h)-ion,” 2020 (oil and oil stick on canvas, 180 x 170 cm / 70 7/8 x 66 7/8 inches). | Collection The Hepworth Wakefield, with funds from Paul and Alison Deighton


Jadé Fadojutimi Painting Acquired by The Hepworth Wakefield
The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire, UK, acquired a large-scale painting by highly praised, up-and-coming artist Jadé Fadojutimi from Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London. “Ob-sess(h)-ion” (2020) will be included in the British painter’s exhibition of new work at The Hepworth Wakefield in spring 2022. Later this year, she is participating in the Liverpool Biennial 2021.


NADA Announces New Board Members and Art Dealers
The New Art Dealers Alliance added 24 new gallery members and appointed three members to its board, including Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, founder of We Buy Gold, a Brooklyn-based art gallery, and a director at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York; and Danny Baez, founder of Regular Normal, co-founder of ARTNOIR, and co-founder and director of the MECA International Art Fair in San Juan, P.R. | Broadway World


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