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

vanessa german in her exhibition “MATRIX 174/i come to do violence to the lie” (2016), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn. | Photo by Allen Phillips/Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art


Kasmin announced its representation of Pittsburgh-based artist vanessa german. The New York gallery will present her work online via Art Basel OVR: Portals (June 16–19) and at its High Line Nine space by appointment, beginning June 15.

Danielle McKinney is now co-represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery and Night Gallery. “Smoke and Mirrors,” the New Jersey-based artist’s first exhibition with Night Gallery is currently on view in Los Angeles through June 19. Marianne Boesky Gallery will open a solo show with McKinney on June 24 in Aspen, Colo.


JULIE MEHRETU, “Dissident Score,” 2019-2021 (ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 120 inches / 274.3 × 304.8 cm). © Julie Mehertu, Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo by Tom Powel Imaging. | Estimate $3 million-$4 million. Sold for $6.5 million. RECORD


Julie Mehretu‘s “Dissident Score” (2019–21), a large-scale abstract painting, sold for $6.5 million on Artsy, a new auction record for the artist. Mehretu generously donated the painting to benefit the Art for Justice Fund. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration.


Photographer Unkown, Gordon Parks showing his camera to the Fontenelle Children, Harlem, New York, 1968


“A Choice of Weapons: Inspired By the Life of Gordon Parks” will make its world premiere on June 18 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City and later air on HBO. The title is drawn from Gordon Parks‘s 1966 autobiography. He said his camera was his choice of weapons against poverty and racism. Directed by John Maggio, the documentary offers a comprehensive look at Parks’s pioneering life and features insights from Ava DuVernay, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Nelson George, Anderson Cooper, and contemporary artists inspired by his historic example. The film is part of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Juneteenth programming presented in partnership with Lena Waithe and her company Hillman Grad Productions. Ths year’s effort includes the inaugural Harry Belafonte Voices For Social Justice Award, which will be awarded to Stacey Abrams.



Kymberly Pinder was named dean of the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Conn. She is the first Black person to lead the school in its 150-year history. | Culture Type

Christina Shutt (right) was named executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) in Springfield, Ill. After her appointment was announced in March, she started on June 8 and is the first African American to lead the library. Shutt previously headed the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock, which celebrates Arkansas’s African American history and culture. | WTTW

Counterpublic announced the six-person curatorial ensemble for its second edition in 2023, including Allison Glenn and Dream the Combine (a creative art and architecture practice established by Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers). Cheeraz Gormon was named Counterpublic’s community strategist. The citywide civic exhibition will be staged in a variety of public spaces throughout St. Louis, from cultural institutions to historic homes, April 15-July 15, 2023.

Kenny Mascary is the inaugural community partnerships manager at Now + There, the Boston public art initiative.


IMAGE: Christina Shutt. | Courtesy ALPLM



The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts announced Richard J. Powell (right) will deliver the 71st annual A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Galley of Art in Washington, D.C., in spring 2022. Powell, the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History at Duke University, will give a series of lectures titled “Colorstruck! Painting, Pigment, Affect,” over the course of six Sundays, from March 20-May 1, 2022.


IMAGE: Richard Powell. | Photo by Chester Higgins


Awards & Honors

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University announced Wendel White (right) is the 2021 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography. The fellowship provides a $50,000 stipend to fund a project and publication. A distinguished professor of Art & American Studies at Stockton University in Galloway, N.J., White will use the fellowship to support “Manifest: Thirteen Colonies.”

Supporting long-form visual storytelling projects with $30,000 awards, San Francisco-based CatchLight announced four recipients of 2021 fellowships, including Bayeté Ross Smith. Selections were made by an eight-person jury, with Michelle Branch, Aida Muluneh, and Brent Lewis among participants.


IMAGE: Wendel White. Photo by Carmela Colón-White



For the first time, the family of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) is organizing an exhibition of the singular artist’s work. “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure” opens in early spring 2022 at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in New York City. More than 200 paintings, drawings, multimedia installations, and ephemera will be featured, most shown publicly for the first time. A mix of figuration and abstraction, Basquiat’s work is full of social commentary—both text-based and visually driven by symbols and motifs—about race, class and power structures. The exhibition was conceived by Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, the artist’s sisters, who run the Basquiat Estate with their stepmother Nora Fitzpatrick.

Art Mile 2021 is now open in Detroit and runs from June 14-July 11, 2021. “Breathe,” curated by inaugural fellow Juana Williams is among the exhibitions on view. A virtual panel discussion with Williams, co-presented with Independent Curators International, is scheduled for June 16.


IMAGE: Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. | © 1983, James VanDerZee

2021 Pulitzer Prizes

This year’s Pulitzers, recognizing the best in journalism, books, drama, and music, honored a number of projects that celebrate and explore African American culture and examine American racism. Winners included the New York Times for COVID-19 coverage that “exposed racial and economic inequities” (Public Service); the Star Tribune for “authoritative and nuanced” reporting on the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. (Breaking News Reporting); a team of Reuters reporters for examining the “obscure legal doctrine of ‘qualified immunity’ and how it shields police who use excessive force from prosecution” (Explanatory Reporting); Mitchell S. Jackson for his “deeply affecting account” of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Ga., published in Runner’s World (Feature Writing); New York Times reporter Wesley Morris for his insights on race and culture (Criticism); Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia) for insightful columns about the dismantling of the city’s Confederate monuments (Commentary); Robert Greene of the Los Angeles Times on LA’s criminal justice system; and Associated Press photographers for a “collection of photographs from multiple U.S. cities that cohesively captures the country’s response to the death of George Floyd” (Breaking News Photography). Plus “The Hot Wing King” by Katori Hall (Drama); “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America” by Marcia Chatelain (History); “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” by Les Payne (1941-2018) and Tamara Payne (Biography); “Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy” by David Zucchino (General Nonfiction); and “Stride” by Tania León (Music). CT


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