LOS ANGELES GALLERIES are brimming with new exhibitions featuring new works by prominent Black artists. The intergenerational slate includes Amoako Boafo, June Edmonds, Rashid Johnson, Lorna Simpson, and Betye Saar, all of whom have coinciding museum exhibitions and public art projects at a variety of venues nationwide.


LORNA SIMPSON, “Recurring,” 2021 (ink and screenprint on gessoed fiberglass, 259.1 x 365.8 x 3.5 cm / 102 x 144 x 1 3/8 inches). | © Lorna Simpson, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by James Wang

“Lorna Simpson. Everrrything” @ Hauser & Wirth, 901 East 3rd Street. | Sept. 14, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022

For her first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, Lorna Simpson is presenting new paintings from her Ice series, dramatic deep blue and moody gray landscapes that explore the force of nature, and collage works that reinvent images from Ebony and Jet magazines. In the gallery’s courtyard, she is introducing new stacked sculptures.

Simpson’s work is also on view in Vancouver, Canada, at the Rennie Museum. “Barkley L. Hendricks | Lorna Simpson” is having an encore presentation through Oct. 16, after being shuttered during the pandemic.


Installation view of “Amoako Boafo: Singular Duality: Me Can Make We,” Roberts Projects, Los Angeles (2021). | Courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects

“Amoako Boafo: Singular Duality: Me Can Make We” @ Roberts Projects, 5801 Washington Blvd. | Sept. 18-Nov. 6, 2021

Amoako Boafo is showing a new series of portraits featuring shadow elements for the first time. Boafo portrays himself wearing a Mickey Mouse cap. The young man in “Yellow Beret” (2021) dons a sweater emblazoned with a portrait by Boafo, channeling the artist’s Summer 2021 collaboration with Dior. His subjects also include friend and fellow artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe. Ghanaian-born Boafo splits his time between Vienna, Austria, and Accra.

The first solo museum exhibition of Boafo opens Oct. 20 at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. “Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks” is curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah.


RASHID JOHNSON, Bruise Painting “Body and Soul,” 2021 (oil on linen, 95 7/8 x 157 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches / 243.5 x 400.7 x 6.4 cm). | © Rashid Johnson, Courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery

“Rashid Johnson: Black and Blue” @ David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W. Edgewood Place. | Sept. 18-Oct. 30, 2021

“Black and Blue” features all new paintings, bronze sculptures, works on paper, and a 35mm film by Rashid Johnson. The works expand on the Brooklyn-based artist’s Anxious Men Series, introducing a spectrum of blues—from a bright sky blue to a nearly black navy blue.

Johnson recently debuted two mosaic panels installed in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Titled, “The Broken Nine,” the works also stem from his Anxious Men Series. At Storm King Art Center in Windsor, N.Y., his outdoor installation “The Crisis” is on view through Nov. 8.


Installation view of “Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues,” Roberts Projects, Los Angeles (2021). | Courtesy Roberts Projects

“Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues” @ Roberts Projects, 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, Calif. | Sept. 18-Nov. 6, 2021

A rare display, this exhibition is inspired by Betye Saar‘s collection of Black dolls. Flatly rendered watercolor portraits, made in 2020 and 2021, are on view for the first time. The works are presented in conversation with “Rock-a-bye Black Babies” (2021), a sculptural installation of the artist’s dolls, piled high and arranged just so, on wood rocking chair. The gallery is publishing a catalog to document the exhibition. The volume is forthcoming in December.

“Betye Saar: Serious Moonlight,” a rare survey of site-specific installations produced between 1980 and 1998, opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, on Oct. 28.


JUNE EDMONDS, “Joy of Other Suns,” 2021 (acrylic on canvas, 88 x 128 inches). | © June Edmonds, Courtesy the artist and Luis De Jesus

“June Edmonds: Joy of Other Suns” @ Luis De Jesus Gallery, 1110 Mateo Street. | Sept. 4-Oct. 30, 2021

The vibrant, curvilinear abstractions of June Edmonds have a backstory. Calling to mind travel routes and topographical mapping, her latest works explore race, history, and the Great Migration, paying tribute to Black female pioneers and early Southern California landowners.

This gallery exhibition coincides with “June Edmonds: Full Spectrum,” a 40-year survey of Edmonds at Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Edmonds also recently installed a mural in La Jolla, Calif., and she is giving the Russell Lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on Oct. 27. CT


A revised and expanded edition of “Lorna Simpson,” the artist’s Phaidon monograph is forthcoming in November. “Lorna Simpson Collages” showcases her portraits based reimagined images from Ebony and Jet magazines. Published a few months ago, “Rashid Johnson: The Hikers” explores works the artist has presented at the Aspen Art Museum, Museo Tamayo and Hauser & Wirth. At 440 pages, the volume is described as a “massive compendium.” Roberts Projects is publishing a catalog to document Betye Saar’s current Black doll exhibition. The volume is forthcoming in December. Recent publications exploring her work include “Betye Saar: Call and Response” and “Betye Saar: Black Girl’s Window” A pair of volumes accompanied major retrospectives: “Betye Saar: Still Tickin'” and “Betye Saar: Uneasy Dancer.” From Roberts Projects, “Amoako Boafo: I See Me” was published on the occasion of the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. In early 2022, Roberts Projects is publishing a monographic survey of Amoako Boafo.


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