THE FIRST MUSEUM retrospective of pioneering video/performance artist Ulysses Jenkins opens this week at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The exhibition is co-curated by ICA Associate Curator Meg Onli and Erin Christovale, associate curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Following Kerry James Marshall and Lorna Simpson, Arthur Jafa is the latest African American artist to have a collection gallery devoted to his works at Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md.

Some of fall’s best exhibitions open at museums nationwide this month. New September shows also include the first solo museum exhibition of Naudline Pierre at the Dallas Museum of Art and new paintings by artist, musician, and composer Jason Moran at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Adam Pendleton’s monumental installation “Who is Queen?” is disrupting the standard exhibition model:


PAUL ANTHONY SMITH, “Untitled, 7 Women,” 2019 (unique picotage on inkjet print, coloured pencil, spray paint on museum board, 101.6 x 127 cm). | The Hott Collection, New York © Paul Anthony Smith. Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

“Fragments of Epic Memory” @ Art Gallery Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Sept. 1, 2021-Feb. 21, 2022

In Oct. 2020, AGO announced the formation of a new Department of Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora, led by curator Julie Crooks. The department’s inaugural exhibition explores the Caribbean and its diaspora, from emancipation to present. More than 200 images from the museum’s Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs are featured alongside paintings, sculpture, and video works by artists including Firelei Baez, Frank Bowling, Sandra Brewster, Gomo George, Nadia Huggins, Ebony G. Patterson, and Paul Anthony Smith.


NELLIE MAE ROWE (American, 1900–1982), “Untitled (Nellie Riding Chicken),” 1980 (crayon and pencil on paper). | High Museum of Art, Gift of Judith Alexander, 2003.211

“Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe” @ High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Ga. | Sept. 3, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022

Nellie Mae Rowe (1900–1982) decorated her Vinings, Ga., home with her drawings, handmade dolls, and found-object sculptures and installations. A rare look at her expressive production, this exhibition is based on works in the High Museum’s collection.


LORNA SIMPSON, “Redhead,” 2018 (single-channel digital animation video, 8 seconds on loop). | © Lorna Simpson, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

“Lorna Simpson: Heads” @ Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo. | Sep 3, 2021-Feb 13, 2022

“Heads” features “Blue Love” (2020) and “Redhead” (2018) from Lorna Simpson‘s Ebony collage series. For CAM’s Street Views outdoor installation, the two digital animation videos will be projected onto the facade of the museum, from dusk until midnight.


LATOYA RUBY FRAZIER, “Louis Robinson, Jr., UAW Local 1714, Recording Secretary, at UAW Local 1112 Reuther, Scandy, Alli union hall, (34 years in at GM Lordstown Complex, die setter), Lordstown, OH, 2019,” 2019 ( gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 inches / 50.8 x 40.6 cm). | © LaToya Ruby Frazier, Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

“LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze” @ California African American Museum, Los Angeles, Calif. | Sept. 8, 2021-March 20, 2022

LaToya Ruby Frazier‘s powerful black-and-white images document the lives of workers at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The factory ceased production in 2019 after operating for more than 50 years. The exhibition features 67 photographs and a video.


JASON MORAN, “Privacy blues,” 2020 (pigment on dyed Gampi paper, 21 x 30 inches). | © Jason Moran, Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

“Jason Moran: Bathing the Room with Blues” @ Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver in Denver, Colo. | Sept. 10, 2021-Jan. 30, 2022

Artist, musician, and composer Jason Moran is presenting new works created by placing Japanese Gampi paper with saturated blue and black pigments over his piano keyboard. The abstracted impressions are the result of Moran’s mark making as his fingers play or “attack” the keys. The sonic paintings are on view alongside “STAGED: Three Deuces” (2015). Inspired by the midtown Manhattan club “Three Deuces,” the installation is activated by a Steinway Spirio player piano that performs songs by Moran.


DEBORAH ROBERTS, “Jamal,” 2020. Mixed media collage on canvas. 65 x 45 inches. Artwork © Deborah Roberts. Courtesy the artist; Vielmetter Los Angeles; and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Paul Bardagjy

“Deborah Roberts: I’m” @ MCA Denver | Sept. 10, 2021-Jan. 30, 2022

Deborah Roberts is presenting a selection of new paintings and works on paper that explore issues of beauty, masculinity, race and the Black body. Her subjects are children whose fragmented portraits speak to their complex identities and tenuous innocence. In addition to her mixed-media works, Roberts is showing two new interactive sound, text, and video sculptures and a mural called “Little Man, Little Man.”


ARTHUR JAFA, “Big Wheel VI,” 2018 (chains, rim, hubcap, and tire, 101 x 101 x 41 inches / 257 x 257 x 104 cm). | Collection of Glenstone Museum, © Arthur Jafa, Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

“Arthur Jafa” @ Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Md. | Opened Sept. 16, 2021

Glenstone is showing the first solo museum presentation of Arthur Jafa in the Washington, D.C., area. Installed in a single gallery, the works on view, including the video installation “akingdoncomethas” (2018), a massive sculpture titled “Big Wheel VI” (2018), “Ex-Slave Gordon” (2017), a wall sculpture, and an untitled photo installation (2019) featuring dozens of images, are drawn from the museum’s collection.


TAMECA COLE, “Locked in a Dark Calm,” 2016 (collage and graphite on paper. 8 1/2 x 11 inches). | © Tameca Cole, Courtesy the artist

“Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” @ Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham | Sept. 17-Dec. 11, 2021

“Marking Time” explores the prominence of incarceration in contemporary art and culture and presents works by more than 30 artists in U.S. prisons alongside contributions by non-incarcerated artists “concerned with state repression, erasure, and imprisonment.” Conceived and curated by Nicole R. Fleetwood, the timely exhibition presents long-overdue insights about the effects of incarceration on countless individuals and communities.


ULYSSES JENKINS, “Two Zone Transfer,” 1979 (still of video transferred to DVD, color, sound, 23:52 mins). | © Ulysses Jenkins, Courtesy the artist

“Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation” @ Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania | Sept. 17-Dec. 30, 2021

This is the first museum retrospective of pioneering video/performance artist Ulysses Jenkins, whose practice dates back to the late 1970s and includes collaborations with Kerry James Marshall, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, and Senga Nengudi. In 2022, the show travels to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where Jenkins is based.


Installation view of “Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 18, 2021-Jan. 30, 2022. | Photo by Andy Romer, Courtesy MoMA

“Adam Pendleton: Who is Queen?” @ Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 18, 2021-Jan. 30, 2022

Adam Pendleton‘s latest exhibition is installed in MoMA’s towering central atrium. The artist has erected three black scaffolding-style display walls that rise five stories high supporting a panoply of paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles, moving images, and a sound collage featuring speeches and music. He uses “linguistic, political, and historical material in unlikely forms and configurations to explore the relationship between Blackness, abstraction, and the avant-garde.” Pendleton told The New York Times: “I’m trying to overwhelm the museum.”


TYLER MITCHELL, “Ancestors,” 2021 (archival pigment print). | © Tyler Mitchell, Courtesy the artist

“Tyler Mitchell: An Imaginative Arrangement of the Things Before Me” @ Gordon Parks Foundation, Pleasantville, N.Y. | Sept. 24, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022

Tyler Mitchell received a 2020 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship, an opportunity that includes an exhibition at the foundation. Mitchell is presenting a new body of work curated by Deborah Willis, University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he earned a BFA in 2017. The constructed images “reframe the notion of home as a center of Black life” and are informed by Gordon Parks’s photographs of Black families. The exhibition coincides with Mitchell’s first solo shows at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City (Sept. 9-Oct. 30).


NAUDLINE PIERRE, “Lest You Fall,” 2019 (oil on canvas, 96 x 60 inches / 243.8 x 152.4 cm). | © Naudline Pierre, Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York. Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, 2020.8

“Naudline Pierre: What Could Be Has Not Yet Appeared” @ Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas | Sept. 26, 2021-May 15, 2022

This focused installation of five paintings is the first solo museum exhibition of Naudline Pierre. A 2019-20 artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Pierre’s work explores “the possibilities of speculation and fantasy in offering love, care, and routes for escape.” On Sept. 23, the artist will be in conversation at the museum with Hilde Nelson, curatorial assistant for contemporary art.


WOODY DE OTHELLO, Detail of “Starting Off,” 2021 (ceramic and glaze). | Courtesy the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco. Photo by John Wilson White

“Woody De Othello: Hope Omens” @ John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisc. | Sept. 26, 2021-September 25, 2022

Woody De Othello is presenting a new body of ceramic works he began in 2020 as COVID-19 took hold. Many of the works in the show were produced using molds he created while he was in residence at the Kohler Co., factory. The sculptural vessels are inspired by “African Nkisii, or objects that are believed to be invested with spiritual protection and energy.” The exhibition is accompanied by a new sound work by Cheflee. Both the musician and the artist are based in Oakland, Calif. The exhibition coincides with De Othello’s solo show opening Oct. 2 at Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco. CT


Fully illustrated, “Arthur Jafa: MAGNUMB” is a primer on the artist’s video portraits of Black American life. A revised and expanded edition of “Lorna Simpson” is forthcoming from Phaidon in November. “Lorna Simpson Collages” documents the artist’s Ebony collages. Three books have been published about Adam Pendleton’s work this year: “Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?” A Reader”, “Adam Pendleton: Pasts, Futures, and Aftermaths: Revisiting the Black Dada Reader” and “David Adjaye Adam Pendleton,” “I Can Make You Feel Good: Tyler Mitchell” documents Mitchell’s first solo museum show of the same name. “Jason Moran” accompanied the artist’s recent traveling exhibition, his first solo museum show. “Woody De Othello” explores the artist’s recent ceramics, made between 2016 and 2020


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