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

KELLY SINNAPAH MARY, Installation view of “Notebook of No Return: Memories (Mama),” 2022 (triptych, acrylic on canvas, 99 x 77.5 inches each, three total), “everything slackens in a wreck.” Shown, Ford Foundation Gallery, New York, N.Y. (2022). | © Kelly Sinnapah Mary, Courtesy the artist


Kelly Sinnapah Mary Joins James Cohan
James Cohan announced its representation of Kelly Sinnapah Mary (b. 1981), who works across painting, sculpture, and installation. The gallery said her works “draw the complex interrelationships between folklore, literature, inheritance, history, and the natural world. Sinnapah Mary’s work is rooted both materially and narratively in the artist’s immediate environment of the Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe, a French overseas department, and her own evolving understanding of her ancestral origins.” Sinnapah Mary is featured in the group exhibition “Surrealism and Us: Caribbean and African Diasporic Artists since 1940” at the Modern Museum of Fort Worth in Texas. James Cohan has three locations in New York. Her first solo exhibition with the gallery opens in spring 2025. Sinnapah Mary was born in Saint-François, Guadeloupe, where she lives and works.
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New Peabody Essex CFO
The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Mass., has appointed Gevelyn McCaskill (right) as its next chief financial officer. She first joined the museum in 2016 and is now the director of Financial Planning and Business Intelligence at PEM. Upon the retirement of Nathalie Apchin, PEM’s current CFO, McCaskill officially begins her new role on March 31. (2/8) | More

New Members of American Academy
The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced the election of new members, including Sharon E. Sutton (Architecture); Simone Leigh, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Henry Taylor (Art); Margo Jefferson (Literature); and Terence Blanchard, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell (Music). (2/29) | More

Dance Theatre of Harlem Named New Marketing Chief
Fatima Jones is joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem as chief marketing and communications officer. She brings two decades of experience in New York City cultural institutions. After starting at The Apollo in 2018, she was promoted to chief marketing and communications officer, the first person in the newly created role at the Harlem theater. Previously, Jones was director of public relations at the Brooklyn Museum. (3/5) | More

IMAGE: Above right, Gevelyn McCaskill. | © 2022 Peabody Essex Museum, Photo by Kathy Tarantola


GARY TYLER, “In Memoriam of an Ashanti Warrior,” 1996, 2024 (quilting fabric, thread, and batting, 48.5 h x 47 w inches). | © Gary Tyler


Frieze LA Impact Prize
Gary Tyler received the 2024 Frieze Los Angeles Impact Prize. The Los Angeles artist creates textiles employing traditional quilting techniques he learned working in a prison hospice for terminally ill inmates. Tyler was a teenager when he was sentenced to death for murder. He was incarcerated for 42 years before his sentence was commuted and he was released in 2016. The prize included $25,000, Tyler presented a booth of new work at Frieze Los Angeles in collaboration with The Center for Art and Advocacy, and his work, “In Memoriam of an Ashanti Warrior” (2024), shown above, was acquired by The City of Santa Monica’s public Art Bank. | More

Volta Award Goes to Steve McQueen
British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen received the Volta Award at the Dublin International Film Festival. Michael D Higgins, the president of Ireland, presented the award to McQueen. Named for the first movie theater in Dublin, the honor recognizes lifetime achievement and is considered the highest honor in Irish film. McQueen won the Turner Prize in 1999 and directed the film “12 Years a Slave” (2013), which won three Oscars, including Best Picture. In May, he is opening a major installation at Dia Beacon that explores “how light, color, and sound affect and upend our perception of space, time, and ourselves.” (2/29) | Artforum

2024 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Artist Residency
The Jacob Lawrence Gallery at the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design announced Simon Benjamin (left) is the 2024 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Resident. Born in Jamaica, Benjamin lives and works New York. The multidisciplinary artist and filmmakerHe will be in residence at the school from March 24-April 9, 2024, developing a new body of work in collaboration with Guest Curator Berette S Macaulay. The work will be presented in an exhibition at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, from April 3- April 20. (1/17) | More

American Academy Art Awards
Eleven artists received 2024 Awards in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Recipients included Edgar Heap of Birds and Fred Wilson (Arts and Letters Awards, $10,000); Jordan Casteel (John Koch Award, $10,000); Pepón Osorio (Jacob Lawrence Award, $10,000); Sharon Hayes (Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Award, $10,000); and Adam Pendleton (Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, $10,000). Academy members Mel Chin, Charles Gaines, Ann Hamilton, Joan Jonas, and Amy Sillman selected this year’s winners. (2/16) | More



Basquiat Covers Gagosian Journal
The spring 2024 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is covered by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). Inside, the publication features a conversation about Basquiat’s experiences in Los Angeles in the 1980s with Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, the artist’s sisters; gallery owner Larry Gagosian; filmmaker Tamra Davis; and author and curator Fred Hoffman. There is also a detailed account of how Gagosian got his start in the 1970s as an LA-based art dealer. The journal coverage coincides with “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Made on Market Street” (March 7–June 1, 2024) at Gagosian Beverly Hills. Curated by Hoffman and Gagosian, the gallery exhibition is described as the first to focus exclusively on works Basquiat produced in Los Angeles. Works made between 1982 and 1984, on loan from the artist’s estate and other public and private collections, are on view. The title of the show references the street in Venice where Gagosian lived, a residence where Basquiat spent time living and working in the early to mid-1980s. (2/24) | Gagosian Quarterly

COVER: JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, “Lead Plate with Hole” (1984). | Gagosian Quarterly, Spring 2024


Harlem Landscape Designer Working with Dia Beacon
Landscape architect Sara Zewde is redesigning the grounds at Dia Beacon, where installations of many prominent artists are on view, including stanley brouwn, Senga Nengudi, Louise Bourgeois, Melvin Edwards, Andy Warhol, Maren Hassinger, Dan Flavin, Rita McBride, and Meg Webster. Located about 60 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Valley, the modern art museum is housed in a former Nabisco box printing factory, a 32-acre site that sits on a historic flood plain. Zewde, 37, is reimagining eight acres on the back lot, making them newly available for public use. She opened her Harlem firm, Studio Zewde, in 2018, and landed the Dia commission in 2021. Her vision of “sculptural landforms, meadowlands and pathways” involves engineering to guard against storms and sea level rise, acknowledgement of the Indigenous legacy of the land, and the museum’s history. She also engaged with Robert Irwin (1928-2023), the original designer of Dia’s entry grounds, before he died. “Landscaping around museums tends to be a somewhat limited affair,” Zewde said. “This will actually be something that you could come to experience in and of itself.” Construction on the project begins this summer and is expected to be completed in 2025. (3/5) | New York Times


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