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

Melanie Adams. | Courtesy Anacostia Community Museum


Melanie Adams, the Roger Ferguson and Annette Nazareth Director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum since 2019, is stepping in as interim director of the forthcoming American Women’s History Museum (AWHM) in Washington, D.C., until a permanent leader is named. The women’s history museum is in its early planning stages and won’t be completed for another decade. The appointment of Adams comes in the wake of Nancy Yao withdrawing from the position. In a statement on her Linkedin page, Yao said she her departure was due to family issues. Yao was selected in March as founding director of AWHM. She previously served as director of the Museum of Chinese in America (Moca) in New York and was expected to begin her tenure at the women’s history museum in June. Her start date was delayed by a Smithsonian investigation into her handling of sexual harassment complaints and three wrongful termination lawsuits while she was at Moca. Yao said Washington Post reporting on her previous leadership role, and the prospect the probing would continue, also influenced her decision to step down. (6/5) | Washington Post

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., announced N. Anthony Coles, M.D., is the new chair of its Advisory Council. Since 2017, Coles has served as vice chair of the Advisory Council’s Advancement Committee and also co-chair the museum’s Living History Campaign. He is a cardiovascular specialist and healthcare executive, who is currently chair of the board of directors at Cerevel Therapeutics, where he served as CEO from 2019 to June 2023. Coles board membership also includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Harvard Medical School Advisory Board. Coles succeeds Kenneth Chenault, the former CEO and chairman of American Express. Chenault joined the NMAAHC council as a founding member in 2007 (more than a decade before the museum opened) and became chair of the council in 2017. (6/27) | More


The Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum, co-organizers of “The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century,” announced that For the Record, the digital interactive archive developed to accompany the exhibition will be housed permanently at Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library, following an international tour of the exhibition, which concludes in 2025. (7/6) | More


Black Rock Senegal Year 4 Artists-in-Residence. (7/6) | via Instagram


Kehinde Wiley‘s Black Rock Senegal artist-in-residence program announced its Year 4 cohort. Artists selected for Summer 2023-Spring 2024 residencies include: Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola, Timothy Hunter, Christina Kimeze, Ange-Frédéric Koffi, Chase Alexander Johnson, Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. Only three of the 16 artists are women. (7/5) | More


ACA Galleries in New York announced the opening of a second location at 173 Tenth Avenue in Chelsea, a ground-floor space on the corner of 20th Street. The gallery has worked with important African American artists for decades and currently represents Faith Ringgold, Richard Mayhew, and the Estate of Aminah Robinson. The new location opens Sept. 5 with “Kandy G. Lopez: Situational Identity, New Works on Fiber,” the exhibition marks the Florida-based Kandy G. Lopez‘s solo debut in New York and first solo show with the gallery. (7/6) | More


BlackStar Projects, which is dedicated to visionary Black, Brown, and Indigenous film and media artists, announced online and in-person programming for this year’s BlackStar Film Festival (Aug. 2-6) with screenings, panel discussions, performances, and parties at a variety of institutions and venues around Philadelphia. (6/6) | More


Posted on Instagram: MARCUS BRUTUS, Detail of “Air Afrique,” 2023 (acrylic on canvas, 60 x 72 inches). | © Marcus Brutus


Artist Marcus Brutus shared a new painting commissioned by Air Afrique for its inaugural issue. On Instagram, Brutus said the painting was “Reimagining what it might be like to travel with the pan-African airline today.” The magazine is focused on contemporary diasporic art and inspired by the cultural legacy of the pan-African airline (1961-2002) and its in-flight magazine Balafon. (7/6) | More


The Financial Times published a lengthy investigation into the conduct of renowned architect David Adjaye. According to the report, three women, all of whom have worked in some capacity with Adjaye, have accused him of sexual misconduct and fostering a toxic work environment. “I absolutely reject any claims of sexual misconduct, abuse or criminal wrongdoing,” Adjaye said in a statement. “These allegations are untrue…” Based in London, Accra, and New York, Adjaye and his namesake firm have designed countless projects around the world, with an emphasis on cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the UK’s forthcoming Holocaust Memorial & Learning Centre, and the new Studio Museum in Harlem building, which is currently under construction. (7/4) | Financial Times

In light of the allegations against David Adjaye, a number of institutions, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, have cut ties with the British Ghanaian architect and he has stepped back from a number of roles, among them serving as an architectural advisor to the mayor London. (7/6) | New York Times


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