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

Atta Kwami, 2019. | Photo: Modern Painters, New Decorators, Courtesy Serpentine Galleries


UK-BASED, GHANAIAN ARTIST and printmaker Atta Kwami (1956-2021) has died. He was 65. Kwami’s paintings, murals, and kiosk sculptures are informed by the geometry and color of West African architecture and textiles. An art historian and curator, Kwami is the author of “Kumasi Realism, 1951–2007: An African Modernism.” Last fall, he won the Serpentine Galleries 2021 Maria Lassnig Prize, which includes a public art commission and accompanying monograph. The project was expected to debut in 2022. When he received the Lassnig Prize, Kwami said: “The Maria Lassnig Prize 2021 is completely unexpected. I am very happy it has come at this stage of my life. I shall always be humbly grateful for all the people who have supported me; my mother, my wife, my galleries and my friends both inside and outside Ghana. I am glad for myself and for Ghana.” | Artforum

“The Maria Lassnig Prize 2021 is completely unexpected. I am very happy it has come at this stage of my life. I shall always be humbly grateful for all the people who have supported me … both inside and outside Ghana. I am glad for myself and for Ghana.” — Atta Kwami

Clockwise, from left, Julie Mehretu, James Claiborne, Beverly Morgan-Welch, and Eric L. Motley. | Images: By Monica Schipper/WireImage; © Barnes Foundation; © MoMa, Photo by Peter Ross; © Tony Powell


The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York appointed seven new members to its board of trustees, including New York artist Julie Mehretu, whose mid-career survey was recently on view at the museum, and Eric L. Motley, deputy director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Mehretu is only the third artist to join the board, since the museum’s founding in 1930. Artist Fred Wilson is also a board member. | New York Times

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York announced four new appointments, including Beverly Morgan-Welch as senior deputy director of external affairs. Her portfolio includes oversight of MoMA’s outreach strategy, fundraising and sponsorship, membership, affiliate programs, special events, marketing, communications, and graphic design. Morgan-Welch joins MoMA from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) where she served as associate director for external affairs, from 2016 to 2021.

James Claiborne was named curator of public programs at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Most recently, he served as public director of programming at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. He officially joined the Barnes in September.


KEMAR KEANU WYNTER, “ZZ52 (Stew Peas and Spinnters),” 2020 (graphite, oil pastel on French card paper, 19 x 25 inches). | © Kemar Keanu Wynter, Courtesy the artist and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery


Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York now represents artist Kemar Keanu Wynter. The gallery is currently presenting “Pairings,” a solo exhibition is his work in its front gallery, and plans show his work at NADA Miami in December. The Jamaican-American artist was born in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and lives in Flatlands, Brooklyn.

Awards & Honors

The Joan Mitchell Foundation announced 15 recipients of its new Joan Mitchell Fellowship for artists focused on painting and sculpture. The inaugural fellows, including Angela Hennessy, Guadalupe Maravilla, and Kambui Olujimi are awarded $60,000 each over five years.

Art Fairs

Major art fairs are happening this week in London. The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns to London at Somerset House with an accompanying events hosted by Christie’s London, an online component and in-person exhibition, “Redefining the Trend: History in the Making,” curated by Christine Eyene. 1-54 coincides with Frieze London and Frieze Masters (Oct. 13-17) at The Regents Park.



Bisa Butler, who is known for employing a vibrantly colored mix of patterns in quilt portraits, created an image of Amir Thompson, aka Questlove, that covers The Culture Issue of The New York Times Magazine (Oct. 17, 2021). On Instagram, Butler noted the biographical references she featured in the portrait of The Roots drummer, including vinyl records, drums, and a heart on his lapel, symbolizing Questlove’s hometown of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Butler added: “*there is zero paint on this artwork. Cotton, silk, lace, velvet and glass seed and bugle beads. Quilted and appliquéd.”


Brandywine Workshop and Archives in Philadelphia is hiring a deputy director of programming. Established in 1972, Brandywine started out producing limited edition original fine art prints, providing training and mentorship for young artists. The nonprofit continues to collaborate with an international slate of artists, supporting printmaking projects, artist residencies, exhibitions, and educational programming. A newly created senior management position, the deputy director will be “responsible for oversight of all curatorial and educational activities” and “a key partner to the executive director in shaping BWA’s artistic vision and helping to develop the organizational structure to support it.” Application deadline is Nov. 1, 2021. | More Info

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) announced three grant opportunities for LA artists. DCA’s Artist in Residence Grant Program (AIR) has been reinvented as the Neighborhood Engagement Artist Residency Grant Program (NEAR). The City of Los Angeles Individual Master Artist Project Grant Program (COLA-IMAP) and new Creative Opportunities-Optimizing Promise Grant Program (CO-OP) are also launching. Application deadlines are Nov. 5, 2021. | More Info here and here


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