Firelei Báez. | Photo by Amilcar Navarro, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

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

Firelei Báez (pictured above) is now represented globally by Hauser & Wirth, the mega gallery with an international footprint. The news was announced this morning. Infused with color, Báez’s transporting work includes installations, paintings, and sculptures that explore diasporic histories and imagined realms. Over the past decade, her work has received increasingly wide attention. The Momentary in Bentonville, Ark., is currently presenting a major sculptural installation by Báez through Sept. 24. Solo exhibitions of the artist are forthcoming at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark (Oct. 5), and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (April 2024). Born in the Dominican Republic, Báez lives and works in New York. (9/18). | More

“Firelei takes on history and transforms it into poetry—visual, visceral, technically inventive, breathtaking works of art that go beyond merely telling us something, to fully enveloping and implicating us. By consistently reasserting the importance of the Caribbean in the wider context of world history and revealing the pervasive presence and impact of Caribbean and Black cultures that have been previously obscured, her art demands we become more astute world citizens.” — Hauser & Wirth President Marc Payot


Diébédo Francis Kéré at Kéré Architecture in Berlin, May 2023. | © The Japan Art Association / The Sankei Shimbun


Pritzker Prize-winning architect Diébédo Francis Kéré (Burkina Faso/Germany), shown above, will receive the 2023 Praemium Imperiale, a global arts prize awarded annually by the Japan Art Association in five categories—painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and theater/film. U.S. jazz great Wynton Marsalis is being recognized for his contributions to music. Each laureate receives 15 million yen (which amounts to a bit more than $100,000), a testimonial letter, and a medal presented at a Tokyo ceremony on Oct. 16. (9/12) | More


The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts & Culture of African Americans & the African Diaspora is collaborating with Arty on a benefit auction. All proceeds go toward support of The Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. The sale features 39 lots, a selection of limited-edition prints by celebrated artists including Richard Mayhew, David C. Driskell, Faith Ringgold, Melvin Edwards, and Alison Saar. Online bidding started on Sept. 12 and the sale is open through Sept. 26. | View Lots


Thomas E. Moore III (left) has been named executive director of the American Friends of the Louvre (AFL) in New York. He officially starts on Oct. 23. AFL raises funds throughout the United States to help support the French museum’s collections, exhibitions, and programming. Moore has participated in AFL’s Young Patrons Circle since 2015 and became a member of the board of directors in 2021. He is stepping into his new role after serving as director of development at the National Academy of Design in New York. Moore is only the second person to lead American Friends of the Louvre, succeeding Sue Devine who has served as founding executive director since 2004. During her tenure, the organization raised $50 million. (9/13)| More

The University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design in Seattle appointed Henry Jackson-Spieker assistant professor and 3D4M Glass, Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair of Glass, effective fall 2023. A Seattle-based multidisciplinary artist, Jackson-Spieker’s practice focuses on sculpture and site-specific installations working with a variety of materials, including glass, bronze, steel, wood, fiber, and light. His installations “examine and question how social and cultural norms shape the way we perceive and utilize space.” The artist earned a BFA from Western Washington University and an MFA in sculpture and dimensional studies from Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y. He teaches glass blowing and bronze casting at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, where he was first introduced to working with glass. Public artworks by Jackson-Spieker are on view at Seattle’s Midtown Commons and Bellevue Art Museum. (9/1) | More

IMAGE: Above left, Thomas E. Moore III. | Photo courtesy AFL


CHRIS OFILI, Detail of “Requiem,” 2023 (detail), Commissioned for Tate Britain’s north staircase. | © Chris Ofili. Courtesy the artist, Photograph by Thierry Bal


Tate Britain commissioned British artist Chris Ofili to create a mural for its north staircase. As his subject, Ofili chose a tribute to artist and activist Khadija Saye (1992–2017). A rising talent, the Gambian-British photographer died in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. Titled “Requieum,” the site-specific installation is a immersive, fiery, and dream-like work designed in three parts. At its center is an image of Saye, inspired by her own self portrait. Tate described the installation as “a poetic reflection on loss, spirituality, and transformation.” Constructed of unsafe building materials, Grenfell Tower, a 24-story public housing high-rise in West London, was destroyed by the fire, killing 82 people, including Saye and her mother. Ofili met Saye shortly before the tragedy at the Venice Biennale. The commission was unveiled last week and will remain on view for 10 years. (9/12) | More

“Public art can hold spaces of grief and it can keep alive collective memories of events that might otherwise completely just fade away in time, just as life inevitably moves on.” — Chris Ofili


The LWL Museum Zeche Zollern in Dortmund, Germany, where the exhibition “This is Colonial” opened today, is guarded by police. The precaution was put in place after right-wing threats in response to the museum setting aside special “safe space” visiting hours for people from groups who may be particularly sensitive to the topic, having suffered historically due to colonialism. The restriction against other groups is not enforced. (9/17) | Hyperallergic

In Georgia, Savannah’s city government voted to invest $500,000 toward the $1.2 million restoration of Kiah House, giving it new life to showcase African American art and city archives, and eventually provide affordable housing for artists. Built in 1910, the house was purchased in 1959 by Calvin and Virginia Kiah. He was a professor in the education department at Savannah State University and she was an artist, curator, and public school teacher. They created the museum and it closed after Virginia Kiah died 2001. Under threat of demolition, the home was saved by Historic Savannah Foundation last year. The Galvan Foundation now owns the property and will complete the renovation. | Associated Press


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