THE BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART (BMA) recently made a major acquisition announcement. The museum has received a promised gift of 90 works of art by nearly 70 artists from museum patrons Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff, alongside 175 purchases and gifts made during winter and spring 2021.

Dozens of works by Black contemporary artists are among the new acquisitions. The additions feature paintings by Emma Amos (1937-2020), Ficre Ghebreyesus (1962-2012), and Tschabalala Self; works by Southern artists form the Souls Grown Deep Foundation; “Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire)” (1980-83), 14 photographs by Lorraine O’Grady that document her intervention at the 1981 opening of “Persona” at the New Museum in New York; and two sculptures by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates. Most of the new acquisitions are the first works by the artists to enter museum’s collection.

 


FICRE GHEBREYESUS, “Red Room,” circa 2002-2007 (acrylic on canvas, 84 x 72 inches / 213.4 x 182.9 cm). | © The Estate of Ficre Ghebreyesus. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., BMA 2021.15. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

 

“These acquisitions represent an incredible range of artistic achievement as well as the commitment of the BMA’s curatorial team to bringing new and important voices into our collections. Over the past several years, we have been focused on rectifying critical omissions in our Post-War and contemporary holdings as part of an effort to tell a truer narration of art history,” BMA Director Christopher Bedford said in a statement.

“We are now looking further in history and across geography and culture to reveal artists, artworks, and innovations that may have gone under-recognized in centuries past to shift the conversation around collections diversification from the modern era to the history that underpins it. I look forward to working with our talented curators and team on this effort, and am grateful to donors like Nancy and Stan, who continue to support our vision and ongoing work.”

“These acquisitions represent an incredible range of artistic achievement as well as the commitment of the BMA’s curatorial team to bringing new and important voices into our collections.” — BMA Director Christopher Bedford

The Dorman/Mazaroff gift emphasizes works on paper and photography by the likes of Andres Serrano, Gary Simmons, and Roland Freeman, among others, and includes $5 million to support the new Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, opening in December.

Many other mediums spanning paintings, sculpture, textiles, mixed-media works, and decorative arts are represented in the gift, including works by Leonardo Drew and Sam Gilliam.

A new multi-channel video installation by artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah is among the acquisitions. Co-commissioned by BMA and the Menil Collection, “The SNCC Manifestoes” will explore the pivotal work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the 1960s era civil rights organization. The project is based on research by Baltimore-based author and historian Taylor Branch.

 

Acquisition highlights include:

  • Works by artists connected to Baltimore, such as Derrick Adams, Mequitta Ahuja, Larry W. Cook, Roland Freeman, Jerrell Gibbs, Taha Heydari, Clifford Owens, Shinique Smith, Elizabeth Talford Scott, Stephen Towns and SHAN Wallace
  • Paintings by Emma Amos, Ficre Ghebreyesus, Virginia Jaramillo, and Tschabalala Self
  • Mixed-media works by Jonathan Lyndon Chase, James Edward Jones, and Mickalene Thomas
  • Sculptures by contemporary artists Beverly Buchanan, Theaster Gates, Luther Hampton, and Travares Strachan
  • “Fatherhood” (2015), a major grid structure installation by Rashid Johnson, composed of stacked steel cubes, potted plants, grow lights, sculptural busts, and books, including the parenting memoir “Fatherhood” by Bill Cosby, a polarizing figure whose patriarchal standing has long interested the artist
  • Works on paper by Benny Andrews, William Cordova, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Shaun Leonardo, and Alison Saar
  • Photographs by Lorraine O’Grady and Kamoinge Workshop members Anthony Barboza, Adger Cowans, Louis Draper, Jimmie Mannas, Herb Robinson, and Beuford Smith
  • Works in a variety of mediums by Southern artists from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation: Hawkins Bolden, Thornton Dial, Thornton Dial Jr., Ralph Griffin, Lonnie B. Holley, Joe Lewis Light, Henry Speller, James “Son Ford” Thomas, and Purvis Young
  • Plus, some historic works, among them: a circa 1799-1807 oyster jar by ceramicist Thomas W. Commeraw of Manhattan; “Bookend: Mother and Child (Sorrow)” (1920) by sculptor Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877-1968); a large resist-stitched, indigo-dyed Ndop cloth (circa 1940-50) from the Cameroon Grasslands by unidentified Bamum artists; and design objects by New York designer Joel Robinson (1915-2012), who was featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s “Good Design” exhibitions in 1951, 1952 and 1955, and was the first African American represented in the MoMA’s design collection
 

A number of the new acquisitions have already gone on display. “Now Is The Time: Recent Acquisitions to the Contemporary Collection” featured the following: “The Blacksmith” (1988) by Benny Andrews, “Inside Out” (2010) by Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial‘s “Ground Zero: Nighttime All Over the World” (2002), “Red Room” (circa 2002-2007) by Ficre Ghebreyesus, Lonnie B. Holley‘s “The Fifth Child Burning” (1994), Virginia Jaramillo‘s Untitled (1967), and “Resist #2” (2021) by Mickalene Thomas.

Currently on view, a promised gift from BMA Board Chair Clair Zamoiski Sega, two photographs by Clifford Owens are included in “Mickalene Thomas: A Moment’s Pleasure,” through May 29, 2022. In addition, “Two Women 3” (2021), a major painting by Tschabalala Self is featured in “Tschabalala Self: By My Self,” through Sept. 19. CT

 

FIND MORE “SHAN Wallace: 410,” the Baltimore artist’s first solo museum exhibition opened at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2020. Visit her website

FIND MORE about Baltimore-based artists Mequitta Ahuja, Jerrell Gibbs, Stephen Towns, and photographer Larry W. Cook, a professor at Howard University who is represented by Black-owned Galerie Myrtis, on their websites

 

READ MORE about designer Joel Robinson at Museum of Modern Art and in Ebony magazine

 


TSCHABALALA SELF, “Two Women 3,” 2021 (Tulle, lace, velvet, thread, acrylic paint, digital print on canvas, and painted canvas on canvas
, / 96 x 96 inches / 243.84 x 243.84 cm
). | © Tschabalala Self. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. BMA 2021.164.

 


DERRICK ADAMS, “Style Variation 34,” 2020 (acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, on Artex, 96 x 59.75 inches / 243.8 x 151.8 cm). | © Derrick Adams. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. BMA 2021.156

 


MEQUITTA AHUJA, “From the Dispersed Folio of Mocoonama,” 2013. | © Mequitta Ahuja. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. BMA 2021.108

 


MEQUITTA AHUJA, “Order,” 2020 (oil on drafting film, 36 X 24 inches). | © Mequitta Ahuja. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. BMA 2021.112

 


THORNTON DIAL, “Ground Zero: Nighttime All Over the World,” 2002 (clothing, epoxy (Splash Zone compound), enamel paint, and spray paint on canvas stretched onto wood panel). | © Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation; and purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., BMA 2021.19

 


BENNY ANDREWS, “The Blacksmith,” 1988 (oil and graphite with painted fabric collage on two joined canvas panels). | © Benny Andrews/Artists Rights Society. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., BMA 2021.12

 


JERRELL GIBBS, “For Thomas,” 2021 (oil and oil stick on canvas, 49 7/8 x 60 inches). | The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. BMA 2021.159

 


RASHID JOHNSON, “Fatherhood,” 2015 (steel, sculptural busts, books, potted plants, grow lights). | © Rashid Johnson. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Artist; and purchased as the gift of Jeffrey and Shari Aronson, Peter
Marino Charitable Foundation, Thomas Wilhelmsen, and an Anonymous Donor. BMA 2021.166. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

 

Sandtown Boys
SHAN WALLACE, “Sandtown,” 2015, printed 2021. | © SHAN Wallace. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The O’Neil Family Photography Fund. BMA 2021.139

 


MICKALENE THOMAS, “Resist #2,” 2021 (silkscreen ink, acrylic paint, rhinestones, glitter, and oil stick on canvas mounted on panel). | © Mickalene Thomas. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., BMA 2021.13

 

BOOKSHELF
“Ficre Ghebreyesus: City with a River Running Through” was published on the occasion of the artist’s exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco. “Mickalene Thomas,” the artist’s first monograph, is forthcoming in November. “Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires” and “Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me” were recently published. “Revelations: Art from the African American South” features work by artists represented in the Souls Grown Deep acquisitions. “Derrick Adams: Buoyant” documented the artist’s first museum exhibition. “Rashid Johnson: The Hikers” was published this summer. Also consider, “Rashid Johnson: Blocks” and “Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men.” The work of Benny Andrews illustrates several children’s books, including “Draw What You See (The Life and Art of Benny Andrews).”

 

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