Latest News in Black Art features regular news updates and developments in the world of art and related culture

Phylicia Rashad has been appointed dean of the newly established College of Fine Arts at Howard University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1970.



On May 12, Howard University announced Phylicia Rashad (above) will serve as dean of the newly established College of Fine Arts. An alum of Howard, Rashad is a Tony Award-winning actress who has appeared on stage, film, and television. She has also directed for theater and served as an adjunct faculty member and guest lecturer at several institutions, including Howard, New York University, Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon University, Wayne State University, Juilliard, and The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. In 2011, Rashad was also the first Denzel Washington Chair in Theater at Fordham University. Her Howard appointment is effective July 1.

Critical Minded announced an inaugural executive director on May 10. Rashid Shabazz (above right) will lead the grantmaking and advocacy initiative founded in 2017 by the Ford Foundation and Nathan Cummings Foundation to provide support for U.S. cultural critics of color. Shabazz will be based in New York. He previously served as chief marketing and storytelling officer for Color of Change.


IMAGE: Above right, Rashid Shabazz. | Photo by Bee Walker of Paper Monday

Awards & Honors

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum announced its 2021 inductees on May 12. Recognized in four award categories, the selections Tina Turner, JAY-Z, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, and Billy Preston. The Ahmet Ertegun Award is going to Clarence Avant. The museum described the group as the most diverse in the history of the organization. The induction ceremony is Oct. 30 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sondra Perry is the winner of the inaugural Rolls-Royce Dream Commission presented by Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme. The news was announced May 11. New Jersey-based Perry will create a new moving-image work exploring the concept of dreams. The project will be on view at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen/Basel, Switzerland, in early 2022 and Serpentine in London, later in the year.

Whitechapel Gallery in London honored Yinka Shonibare CBE with its 2021 Art Icon Award. On March 22, the nonprofit public art gallery host its first virtual gala to celebrate the British Nigerian artist. | The Art Newspaper



New York gallery Berry Campbell announced its representation of Nanette Carter (at left) on May 12. Active since the mid-1970s, Carter “creates abstract collages expressive of her sensitivity to injustice and humanity in the context of contemporary life and her responses to the drama of nature.” Her work is currently featured in two group exhibitions: “Affinities for Abstraction: Women Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950-2020” at Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, N.Y., and “Creating Community. Cinque Gallery Artists” at The Art Students League of New York. Cinque Gallery was founded by Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Ernest Crichlow in 1969 and operated until 2004. Carter was the first artist-in-residence at Cinque and she co-organized “Creating Community” alongside guest curator Susan Stedman. Since 2001, Carter has been a professor of art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her first solo exhibition with Berry Campbell is scheduled for spring 2022.


IMAGE: Above left, Nanette Carter. | Photo by Kenneth Laidlow

Art Fairs

The 2021 edition of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York launches online with 26 international galleries showcasing artworks from May 17-23. The virtual fair coincides with “Knotted Ties,” presented by 1-54 at Christie’s at Rockefeller Center (May 15-26). The free exhibition features textile works by female artists, including Ambrose, Igi Lola Ayedun, Joana Choumali, Lidia Lisbôa, Kimathi Mafafo, Turiya Magadlela, Dindga McCannon, Shervone Neckles, Josie Love Roebuck, and Tina Williams Brewer.


A selection of the steel fire doors painted by Eugene “Eda” Wade was exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2017, part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Public Art. | Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events


Chicago artist Eugene “Eda” Wade (1939-2021) died on April 15 in Baton Rouge, La. He was 81. Active in the Black Arts Movement, Wade was one of the principal artists who worked on the Wall of Respect mural. His most recognized solo work was an ambitious project produced on the front and back of 32 steel fire doors at the original Malcolm X College in Chicago. Working from 1971-72, he embellished the 64 canvases with powerful and prideful, vividly colored images that celebrated Black history and culture and referenced West African and Egyptian designs. A selection of the doors was exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2017, part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Public Art. Wade earned an MFA from Howard University and taught art at Kennedy King College in Chicago, from 1979 until he retired in 2005. | Chicago Sun-Times

Architect Donald P. Ryder, who designed prominent Black cultural institutions, died at home in New Rochelle, N.Y., on Feb. 17. He was 94. In the late 1960s, Ryder formed the influential architecture firm, Bond Ryder & Associates, with J. Max Bond Jr. The Manhattan firm designed a number of landmark institutions, including the the Studio Museum in Harlem; the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, where King’s crypt is housed. After 1990, Ryder left the firm. After lecturing at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York since 1972, he became a professor and later chair, teaching at the school until he retired in 2001. | The New York Times


After collaborating with Nick Cave, Kara Walker, and Simone Leigh, Creative Time is working with Rashid Johnson on Red Stage, a public art project that requires community participation to succeed. | Video by Creative Time

Public Art

On May 12, Creative Time announced a major public art project with Rashid Johnson. Red Stage will be active from June 5 to July 4, at the South Plaza of Astor Place in Manhattan. The public stage and creative hub will have scheduled programming and during off-hours all manner of artists and the general public can sign up to take over the space for a spectrum of activities, from performances to meetings, meditation, protests, and speechifying.


FABIOLA JEAN-LOUIS, “Marie Antoinette Is Dead,” n.d. (archival pigment print, unframed; Standard size: 24 x 31 inches (image), 26 x 33 inches (paper), Edition of 10; Mural size: 38.5 x 50 inches (image), 40.5 x 52 inches (paper), Edition of 5). | © Fabiola Jean-Louis, Courtesy Beinecke Rare Book & Library


On April 29, the Beinecke Rare Book & Library at Yale University announced the acquisition of “Rewriting History,” a series of 12 photographic prints by Fabiola Jean-Louis. The images document her elaborate, wearable paper sculptures worn by models in formal tableaus created and staged by the artist. The conceptual portraits draw on a spectrum of historic and cultural references, from The Color Purple to passing for white and Marie Antoinette. Haitian-born, Brooklyn-based Jean-Louis studied fashion and works in a variety of mediums. “Rewriting History” is now a part of the library’s James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of African American Arts and Letters. See the full series


More than 80 art historians, scholars, and curators, have signed an open letter to Linda Harrison, director of the Newark Museum of Art, objecting to the deaccessioning of 17 works by Albert Bierstadt, Burgoyne Diller, Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Childe Hassam, Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frederic Remington, and Charles Sheeler, with specific concern about the “monetization” of “The Arch of Nero,” an 1846 painting by Thomas Cole. The museum plans to sell the paintings at Sotheby’s May 19 American Art auction in New York, to support the care of its collection. In a statement from the museum, Harrison said the decision to deaccession the works was “carefully and thoughtfully considered.” She added: “Our 19th-century American holdings, especially our Hudson River School paintings, are a highlight of our historical American art collection. American paintings of the European landscape is an area of particular depth. The influence of Europe on American culture is an extremely well-told story at the Newark Museum of Art and museums around the country, and we will still be able to share extraordinary examples and tell those stories going forward.” Harrison is one of the few Black directors of a mainstream U.S. art museum. | The Art Newspaper

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