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

From left, Curators Kimberli Gant and Stephanie Sparling Williams. | Courtesy Brooklyn Museum


The Brooklyn Museum announced two new curatorial appointments. Stephanie Sparling Williams is joining the museum as the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art, and Kimberli Gant will serve in a newly created position as curator of modern and contemporary art. Gant is joining the Brooklyn Museum from the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., where she was the McKinnon Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Her forthcoming exhibition, “Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club” opens in October 2022 at the Chrysler Museum and will travel to the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art. Gant officially starts at the Brooklyn Museum in January. Previously, Sparling Williams served as associate curator at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. She was also a visiting lecturer in art history and African American studies at Mount Holyoke College. Sparling Williams is joining the Brooklyn Museum in December.

The California African American Museum in Los Angeles named Essence Harden visual arts curator. An independent curator and writer, Harden is a Ph.D., candidate in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. They have previously collaborated with CAAM, serving as guest curator of “Shinique Smith: Refuge” (2018) and co-curator of “Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary” (2019). At the Orange County Museum of Art, Harden is co-curating the 2022 California Biennial. They have also organized exhibitions at a spectrum of other museums and galleries, including Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, Oakland Museum of California, El Segundo Museum of Art, and UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills. “Essence is deeply enmeshed in contemporary art communities throughout California, and we look forward to them bringing those experiences, relationships, and passions to the work at CAAM,” executive director Cameron Shaw said in a statement. “CAAM has been an incredible point of access for Los Angeles, and I look forward to supporting artists, highlighting the work of collectors and collectives, and cultivating scholarship on Black visual culture and the West,” Harden said in a statement. Harden officially starts Dec. 13.

Eric Woods is the new chief operating officer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Woods previously served as associate dean for Administration and Finance for Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Science. He starts at MFA Boston on Jan. 4.

Desert X elected three new board members, including Jarvis Crawford, who serves community center manager at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center for the City of Palm Springs Parks & Recreation Department. Desert X is a biennial, site-specific public art exhibition in the Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs, Calif. The next edition is March 4-May 7, 2023.

IMAGE: Above left, Curator Essence Harden. | Photo by Joyce Kim


A fan of fantasy and science fiction, Arthur Jafa watched a lot of television and read a lot of comic books growing up. i-D described the cover image as an “original reworking” of his iconic work “LeRage” (2017). Inspired by the Incredible Hulk, Jafa considers the aluminum cut-out to be a self-portrait.


Artist Arthur Jafa guest-edited a special winter edition of i-D magazine. He titled it The Darker Issue. An amazing gathering of the many artists, photographers, filmmakers, gallerists, scholars, and writers in Jafa’s orbit, John Akomfrah, Gavin Brown, Linda Goode Bryant, Tina Campt, Shikeith Cathey, Julie Dash, Thulani Davis, Aria Dean, Nikki Helms, RA Judy, Thomas Lax, Terence Nance, Audrey Smaltz, Ming Smith, Zaya Wade, Hamza Waker, Mabel O. Wilson, Bradford Young, and Azza Yousif are featured, among dozens more creatives and cultural figures. Editor-in-chief Alastair McKimm had this to say about Jafa: “The first artist to guest edit the magazine, Arthur is at an extraordinary nexus of an incredible group of cross generation, cross disciplinary, cross genre thinkers, many of whom grace the pages of this issue. He is the great connector. He is ever inspiring, always thought provoking, and with an extraordinarily unique vision in using images to access experience.”


JAMMIE HOLMES, “Illusions and Meanings,” 2021 (wood, acrylic, and oil pastel on canvas, 109 1/2 x 72 x 2 1/4 inches). | © Jammie Holmes., Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen


Artist Jammie Holmes joined Marianne Boesky Gallery. Paintings by Holmes “portray intimate and poignant scenes of distinctly American community, family, and traditions. Holmes draws heavily on his own recollections to depict the stories and experiences of Black life in the deep American South, capturing moments of celebration and struggle.” Born in Thibodaux, La., Holmes is based in Dallas, Texas. The New York gallery has a location in Aspen, Colo., and a roster of 25 artists including Sanford Biggers, Allison Janae Hamilton, Danielle McKinney, and Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Holmes will be included in Marianne Boesky’s presentation at Art Basel Miami Beach next month and his first solo exhibition with the gallery is scheduled for fall 2022 in New York.

LaiSun Keane Gallery in Boston, Mass., announced its representation of Michael C. Thorpe. His twin passions of art and basketball are realized through quilted “paintings” that feature the sport, still lifes, text, interior scenes, and self-portraits. The artistic craft is a family tradition. Thorpe’s mother taught him how to quilt and his aunt owns a quilt shop. The artist grew up in Newton, Mass., and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. Next month, the gallery is presenting seven new quilts by Thorpe at the Untitled Art Show in Miami Beach (Nov. 29-Dec. 4). The works consider the relationship between African Americans and nature. “Meandering Thoughts,” Thorpe’s first solo exhibition with LaiSun Keane opened in April. Untitled (2020), a text quilt by Thorpe that features the phrase “Black Man” against a Batik fabric ground, was acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston last year. The work is currently on view in “Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories” through Jan. 17.


A basketball standout at Emerson College in Boston, artist Michael C. Thorpe created two basketball-themed quilts in celebration of the NBA’s 75th anniversary. The project is a collaboration with Nike. The works reflect on the history of basketball 75 years ago and consider what the sport might look like 75 year into the future.


Described as a prize for extraordinary New Yorkers, The David Prize supports creative ideas and solutions that address local concerns. With a goal toward making New York City better and brighter, the prize “welcomes those with the grit and vision to change our communities, our culture and our future for good.” Funded by the Walentas Family Foundation, which was established by a family in the real estate and development business in Brooklyn, five prizes of $200,000 each are awarded. Application deadline is Dec. 21, 2021. | More Info

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is hiring a director and CEO through the search firm Isaacson, Miller. | More Info

The Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Ala., is searching for a chief curator. | More Info


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