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

Artist Jamal Cyrus. | Courtesy Patron Gallery


Patron Gallery in Chicago announced its representation of artist Jamal Cyrus. Houston, Texas-based Cyrus works in a variety of mediums. His “conceptual and research driven practice reflects on Black political movements, the reciprocal flow of ideas within the African Diaspora, and the Blues tradition.” The recipient of the 2020 Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Cyrus is also represented by Inman Gallery in Houston. “Manna and Braised Collards,” his first solo show with Patron Gallery was presented in April.

Alexander Harrison joined Various Small Fires, which has locations in Los Angeles and Seoul. Harrison had a solo exhibition at the gallery in April. His paintings are based on inventive narratives that speak to his family experiences and Southern history. In fall 2022, he will have a solo exhibition at Kasmin Gallery in New York.

Awards & Honors

NXTHVN, the arts hub, residency and mentorship program in New Haven, Conn., announced its 2021-2022 fellows, including seven studio fellows—Layo Bright, John Guzman, Alyssa Klauer, Africanus Okokon, Daniel Ramos, Warith Taha, and Patrick Quarm—and two curatorial fellows—Marissa Del Toro and Jamillah Hinson.

The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation announced the winners of the annual Rabkin Prize. Eight visual arts journalists, including Aruna D’Souza, Yinka Elujoba, and Jasmine Weber received $50,000 each.

French ambassador to the United States Philippe Etienne awarded The Order of Arts and Letters to Perri Irmer, president and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Irmer received France’s highest honor in the arts for the Chicago museum’s programs focused on the connections between African Americans and the French. | Chicago Sun-Times


From left, Salome Asega is directing a New Museum project. | Photo by Jeremy Grier; South African curator Kabelo Malatsie will be first non-European to lead Switzerland’s Kunsthalle Bern. | Photo © VANSA


South African curator Kabelo Malatsie has been appointed the next director of Switzerland’s Kunsthalle Bern. The 34-year-old independent curator will be the first non-European to lead the museum. Malatsie served as director of Stevenson Gallery, which has locations in Johannesburg and Cape Town, from 2011 to 2016. She joins the Bern institution in April 2022.

Los Angeles-based artist Christina Quarles joined the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. MOCA now has four artist trustees, Quarles, along with Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn, and Barbara Kruger.

Salome Asega was appointed director of NEW INC, the cultural incubator of the New Museum in New York. For the past four years, Asega has been serving as the inaugural New Media Art Research Fellow for Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. She is rejoining the New Museum. Previously, she worked on a project in the museum’s education department (2014), was as a member of the NEW INC community from 2016-17, and also served as an IdeasCity Fellow in 2017. Asega starts in her new role July 26.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced Alphonso Atkins will serve as Miller Worley Deputy Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, a newly created position. His appointment is effective Aug. 16. Atkins joins the museum from the University of South Carolina Upstate where he is chief diversity officer and special assistant to the chancellor for equity and inclusion.

Carla Tinsley-Smith has been hired at the Detroit Institute of Arts as its first-ever director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. She previously served as manager of Inclusion and Diversity at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Tanya Reid was named vice president of finance at YoungArts, a Miami, Fla.-based nonprofit.

Lincoln Center in New York has introduced its first-ever poet-in-residence. Poet Mahogany L. Browne also serves as executive director of Just Media, a media literacy organization. As part of her residency, she is hosting a variety of in-person and virtual events, from July to September. Browne is the author of several books, including “Chlorine Sky,” “Black Girl Magic: A Poem,” and the forthcoming volumes “I Remember Death by Its Proximity to What I Love” (September 2021) and “Vinyl Moon” (January 2022) for young readers. | New York Times


The Baltimore Museum of Art announced a $550,000 gift from longstanding museum patrons Amy Gould and Matthew Polk. The Amy Gould/Matthew Polk Fund will support acquisitions of African art and related research and publications.

Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trailblazers won the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award. On behalf of Anthony, $100,000 will be donated to the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative. | NBA on TNT

The National Museum of African American History and Culture and Smithsonian Folkways have partnered to produce an epic Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, a box set spanning four decades that includes a 300-page book and nine CDs, forthcoming August 20 (see more at bottom of the page).


CHARLES WHITE, “Untitled,” circa 1966-1967 (oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 50 1/2 inches / 72.4 x 128.3 cm); Framed: 30 1/4 x 52 inches (76.8 x 132.1 cm). | © The Charles White Archives, Courtesy David Zwirner


David Zwirner launched a new Exceptional Works online viewing room featuring “Untitled” (circa 1966-67) by Charles White. The highly regarded artist rarely made oil paintings. Offered for sale, this prized example is a portrait of a young man with an outsized body and large jade green coat to match. It’s as though he having an out-of-body, spiritual experience. At the same time, the image is timeless. With his arm stretched out and raised high in the air, he could be praising the lord in the mid-1960s, hanging his head out of frustration trying to hail a cab in the 80s, or waving his hand catching a hip-hop beat in the 2000s.


The Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) St. Louis and the Gateway Foundation issued an open call for emerging and mid-career artists, working in the greater St. Louis metro area, for the 10th edition of the Great Rivers Biennial (Sept. 9, 2022–Feb. 12, 2023). Ten semi-finalist will be identified and then three artists will ultimately be chosen to participate. The three-member jury includes Hamza Walker, executive director of Laxart in Los Angeles. The selected artists receive $20,000 and their work will be featured in the biennial exhibition at CAM. Applications due Aug. 18, 2021. | More Info

Maine Media Workshops + College in Rockport, Maine, is accepting submissions for the 2021 Arnold Newman Prize in Photography. The winner receives a $20,000 award and, along with three finalists, will have their work featured in an exhibition at The Griffin Museum of Photography. The three-member jury includes New York Times Photo Editor Brent Lewis. Application deadline is Aug. 2, 2021 extended to Aug. 11, 2021. | More Info

The Newport Biennial at the Newport Art Museum in Newport, R.I., announced a call for entries, from New England artists living in the following states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Rhode Island. The sole juror is Kimberli Gant, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Va. The submission period s July 19-Sept. 5, 2021. | More Info

Applications are open for the 2021 Access Bank ART X Prize. Designed to boost the careers of emerging Nigerian artists, the prize includes a 1.8 Million Naira Grant (about US $4,300), solo presentation at ART X Lagos, and three-month residency at Gasworks in London. The six jurors include artist ruby onyinyechi amanze and curator Dexter Wimberly. Deadline is Aug. 1, 2021. | More Info


Forthcoming Aug. 20, a new anthology from the Smithsonian will survey 40 years of hip hop and rap. Curated by 44 scholars, the project includes a hefty book and nine CDs. Learn More | Video by NMAAHC

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