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

Civil Rights Photographer Doris Derby. | Photo courtesy Doris Derby via University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Bronx, N.Y.-born civil rights photographer Doris Derby died in Newnan, Ga., outside Atlanta on March 28. She was 82. “Her images stood in stark contrast to other civil rights images made at the time because she looked at segregation and despair and joy and family at the same time — and used the stories that emphasized a sense of hope,” artist and photography scholar Deborah Willis told The Washington Post. Derby spoke about her life and work about a decade ago for a cvil rights oral history project housed a the Library of Congress and her photographs are gathered in “A Civil Rights Journey,” which was published last year. | New York Times and Washington Post

Awards & Honors

Representing a variety of fields, 180 recipients of 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships were announced on April 7. The artists include Tyrone Ta-coumba Aiken, Lisa Corinne Davis, Nathaniel Donnett, June Edmonds, Mark Thomas Gibson, Lisa E. Harris, Alisha Wormsley, Autumn Knight (film/video), Ja’Tovia Monique Gary (film/video) and Gary Burnley (photography). | More

On April 6, Theaster Gates and Prada Group announced the inaugural group of Dorchester Industries Design Lab awardees. Working across a range of disciplines, the 14 artists and designers include Tolu Coker, Germane Barnes, Kyle Abraham, Mariam Issoufou Kamara, Kendall Reynolds, Yemi Amu, Kenturah Davis, Salome Asega, Damarr Brown, Maya Bird-Murphy, Brandon Breaux, Summer Coleman, and Catherine Sarr. | More

Shawnya Harris, Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) in Athens, Ga., was recognized by the Georgia Association of Museums with two awards. She was named Museum Professional of the Year and “Emma Amos: Color Odyssey,” the traveling exhibition she organized, was selected as one of the best shows of 2021. Harris’s current exhibition, “Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins” is on view at GMOA through May 29. | More


In New York City, Laurie Cumbo was appointed commission of the Department of Cultural Affairs in March. | Courtesy DCLA


Mayor Eric Adams announced the appointment of Laurie Cumbo as commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), overseeing arts and cultural funding for nonprofit organizations across the city’s five boroughs. Leaders from many of the organizations that rely on DCLA for funding provided glowing statements about Cumbo for the announcement. New York has a substantial arts budget (the mayor’s plan allots $145 million for 2023, down from $213 million for 2022) that rivals the federal government’s National Endowment for the Arts funding for the entire country (President Biden’s 2023 budget request is $203.5 million). Cumbo’s background spans politics, education, and museums. Among the highlights, in 1999, she founded the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn. Cumbo also taught at Pratt Institute (2001-11), before representing the 35th district on the New York City Council (2014-21) and serving as majority leader (2018-21). Over the course of her career, some of Cumbo’s remarks and political positions have drawn negative media coverage and been viewed as controversial by immigrant advocates and the Jewish and Asian American communities, concerns that resurfaced with news that her appointment was imminent. | Hyperallergic and New York Times


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is providing $1.25 million to support the Black Baltimore Digital Database (BBDD), a project founded by artist Derrick Adams. The two-year grant is fiscally sponsored by the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center. | More


Rendering of Derek Fordjour, “Sonic Boom,” 2022, site-specific installation, covering more than 5,400 square feet, MOCA Los Angeles. | Courtesy the artist and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Photo by Elon Schoenholz. Digital rendering by Zorawar Sidhu

Public Art

“Sonic Boom,” a site-specific installation by Derek Fordjour debuted on the exterior MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles on March 28. The monumental mural is part of the museum’s Building Art outdoor artwork series. Featuring drum majors and majorettes, the work pays tribute to HBCU marching bands, specifically Jackson State University’s band known as the Sonic Boom of the South. | More

Guyanese-British artist Hew Locke has been tapped to create four sculptures for the niches in the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “The Procession,” the annual Tate Britain Commission by Locke, is currently on view in London through Jan. 22, 2023. The Met project debuts Sept. 16. | Art Newspaper

More News

Artist, author, and scholar Nell Irvin Painter, donated more than 500 art books to the East Orange Public Library. The collection includes volumes about Black artists, art history, and various movements and increased EOPL’s selection of art books tenfold, according to a library spokesperson. Painter lives in Newark, N.J., and serves as board chair at MacDowell, the artist’s residency in New Hampshire. | Essex News Daily

Savannah College of Art and Design announced a new minor in sneaker design, describing the program as the “first-ever.” | More


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