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

Nicola Vassell opened a new art gallery in Chelsea. The inaugural exhibition features works by photographer Ming Smith. | Video by Chelsea Odufu for ConceptNV


Curator and art advisor Nicola Vassell opened a gallery on 10th Street in Chelsea, a rare, Black-owned space in the heart of New York’s commercial art world. Her first exhibition with photographer Ming Smith opened May 20. Vassell plans to showcase artists of color, as well as white artists, “because that’s the real story,” she said. | The New York Times

The National Women in the Arts, where “Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Men” is on view through June 27, will close in August for a two-year renovation. In the interim, the museum will present a variety of virtual programming.


From left, Diedrick Brackens. | Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Rujeko Hockley. | Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art


At the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Rujeko Hockley was promoted from assistant curator of contemporary art to Arnhold Associate Curator, a newly endowed position, effective July 1. | Press Release

Los Angeles textile artist Diedrick Brackens was appointed to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership Board of Directors in Atlanta.

The Board of Trustees of Southbank Centre announced Misan Harriman (right) will serve as the new board chair of the London multi-arts centre. His term begins in July. | Press Release

The Art Dealers Association of America announced 16 new members, including Jenkins Johnson Gallery, a Black woman-owned gallery established by Karen Jenkins-Johnson, with locations in San Francisco and Brooklyn, N.Y. See full list here


IMAGE: Above right, Misan Harriman. | Photo © Camilla Holmstroem

Awards & Honors

Chicago artist Theaster Gates was selected to design the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion in London. He is the first non-architect to win the commission. | Architectural Record

Earlier this month, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III was awarded the 2021 Tony Horwitz Prize for lifetime achievement from the Society of American Historians. (Listen to Bunch’s remarks about the award here.) The society also elected 18 new fellows to the society, including Emily Bernard, Daina Ramey Berry, Vincent Brown, Ibram X. Kendi, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Kevin Young, the new director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History, where Bunch served as founding director.

The Joyce Foundation announced recipients of its annual Joyce Awards, supporting BIPOC artists in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Four $75,000 grants will fund new site-specific works developed in collaboration with their communities. The 2021 Awardees are: Sydney Chatman with Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago; Daniel Minter with Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee, Wisc.; Kameelah Janan Rasheed with FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art; and SANTIAGO X with Chicago Public Art Group. The open call for 2022 awards is coming soon. Applications open June 1, 2021.

Illinois Humanities recognized photographer Dawoud Bey with its 2021 Beacon Award and Tonika Lewis Johnson with the 2021 Public Humanities Award.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded its 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to six museums and libraries: High Desert Museum in Bend, Ore.; Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson, Miss; Museo de Arte de Ponce in Ponce, P.R.; Cabell County Public Library in Huntington, W.V.; Highwood Public Library in Highwood, lll.; and Memphis Public Libraries in Memphis, Tenn. The awards will be presented during a virtual event in July.


CARRIE MAE WEEMS, “Untitled (1 of 7),” 1996, printed 2020 (inkjet print with sandblasted text on glass in wood frame image/sheet: 76.2 x 58.42 cm / 30 x 23 inches; framed: 85.09 x 67.31 cm / 33 1/2 x 26 1/2 inches). | © Carrie Mae Weems. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund 2020.96.1


The National Gallery of Art acquired “Untitled” (1996, printed 2020) by Carrie Mae Weems, a seven-part work informed by historic photographs. The installation is currently on view at the Washington, D.C., museum, displayed with Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s “The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial” (1900), which depicts one of the first African American Civil War regiments.

Pérez Art Museum Miami acquired “Black Plight” (2016) by Keith Duncan from Fort Gansevoort in New York. The mixed-media painting with fabric chronicles key moments and figures in 20th century African American history. | e-newsletter


KEITH DUNCAN, “Black Plight,” 2016 (acrylic on unstretched canvas with fabric, 45 x 175 inches). | Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, Gift of Eric G. Johnson. Provenance: Fort Gansevoort, N.Y.


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