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

Dec. 8, 2021: At PAFA, incoming president Eric Pryor is flanked by paintings by John Neagle (“Pat Lyon at the Forge,” 1829) and Kehinde Wiley (Three Wise Men Greeting Entry into Lagos,” 2008). | Courtesy of JEH Creatives/Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia announced its next president. Eric Pryor has been tapped to lead PAFA. Pryor is the first Black person to lead the institution, which was established in 1805 and is the first and oldest art museum and art school in the United States. Notable alumni include Laura Wheeler Waring (1887-1948), Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017), Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Jonathan Lyndon Chase. Henry O. Tanner also attended PAFA. Pryor joins PAFA from the Harlem School of the Arts, where he has served as president since 2015. His previous roles include executive director of The Center for Arts Education in New York; executive director of the New Jersey State Museum; and president of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Early in his career, Pryor was executive director of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Center for Arts and Culture in Brooklyn, N.Y. “We unanimously chose Eric Pryor as the next President of PAFA because he has all the qualities we hoped for in our next leader: he is strategic, collaborative, and innovative, with the sensibility of an artist,” PAFA Board Chair Anne E. McCollum said in a statement. The appointment marks a return to Philadelphia. Pryor earned an MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University (1992). “I am profoundly honored to be taking on the leadership of this historic and celebrated institution,” Pryor said in a statement. “I am eager to work in partnership with the PAFA board, staff, faculty, students, and alumni, and start writing its next magnificent chapter together. I’m also delighted to be returning to Philadelphia and its varied communities. It is a city of great art and artistry, with PAFA as one of its crown jewels.” Pryor officially begins at PAFA on Jan. 18.


Alicia Henry is now represented by Tiwani Contemporary in London. Last summer, the gallery presented her first solo exhibition in the UK. “Alicia Henry: To Whom It May Concern,” featured figurative and mixed-media sculptural works. A native of Illinois, Henry is a professor of art at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. Tiwani is opening a second location in Lagos, Nigeria, in February 2022.


Frieze covers final issues of the year with works by artists HURVIN ANDERSON, “Skylarking,” 2021 (acrylic, oil on canvas, 2.5 × 1.8 m. | © and Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London. Photo by Richard Ivey (November/December 2021); and ADAM PENDLETON, “Untitled (WE ARE NOT),” 2020–21 (October 2021). | © Adam Pendleton, Courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery


The latest covers of London-based Frieze magazine are illustrated with works by British artist Hurvin Anderson and New York-based Adam Pendleton. The November/December cover features a lush new tropical scene painted by Anderson, accompanying a conversation with fellow artist Peter Doig. Also in the issue, a look at Black artists working with clay, including Helen Cammock, Theaster Gates, and Magdalene Odundo. In October, Terence Trouillot profiled Pendleton ahead of his “Who is Queen” exhibition, currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Highlights also include a conversation with Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama. Plus, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Peter Doig and Jessica Lynne respond to the work of Bob Thompson (1937-1966) on the occasion of the painter’s retrospective at Colby College Museum of Art in Maine.


JERRELL GIBBS, “I Only Have A Minute, 60 Seconds In It… Portrait of the Honorable Elijah Cummings,” 2021. | Courtesy Jerrell Gibbs and Mariane Ibrahim

More News

Baltimore-based artist Jarrell Gibbs was commissioned to paint the official portrait of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that will hang in the U.S. Capitol. Before the portrait is installed in Washington, D.C., it will be on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art from Dec. 22, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022. | New York Times

Barbados is confronting its history of slavery and colonialism. After removing Queen Elizabeth II as ceremonial head of state and becoming a parliamentary republic, the Caribbean island announced it had commissioned British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye to design a major heritage site. The project includes a slavery museum, research institute, memorial and burial ground, and will also house the Barbados Archives, tens of millions of documents related to the transatlantic slave trade. | The Art Newspaper


Swann Auction Galleries in New York City is hiring an administrator for its African American Art Department. Application deadline is Jan. 7, 2022. | More Info

Next summer, ArtTable-funded fellows will be working at a variety of arts organizations. ArtTable, which “is dedicated to advancing the leadership of women in the visual arts,” is seeking arts organizations interested in hosting fellows. Host organization applications due Jan. 31, 2022. | More Info


Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial in Barbados: “Drawing upon the technique and philosophy of traditional African tombs, prayer sites and pyramids,” architect David Adjaye said, “the memorial is conceived as a space that contemporaneously honours the dead, edifies the living, and manifests a new diasporic future for Black civilization that is both of the African continent and distinct from it.” | Video by Adjaye Associates


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