THE LYMAN ALLYN ART MUSEUM is adjacent to Connecticut College in New London, Conn. Barkley L. Hendricks taught at the school for nearly four decades and last year the museum presented a survey of the late artist who is highly regarded for his striking portraits.

This year, Lyman Allyn is showing works by Norma Morgan, a little-known Connecticut-born artist who focused on landscapes. Morgan was featured in the exhibitions “10 American Negro Artists Living and Working in Europe” (1964) in Copenhagen, Denmark, and “Ten Black Artists” (1966) at the World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal. Samella Lewis included her in “Black Artists on Art” (1969), the two volume book she co-edited with Ruth Waddy and, in the 1990s, Morgan exhibited at Cinque Gallery in New York, the nonprofit co-founded by Romare Bearden.

John Rhoden spent most of his career in New York City. He is described as one of the most prolific sculptors of the 20th century. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia acquired hundreds of artworks and the archive of Rhoden several years ago and is presenting the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist. Meanwhile, the Hammer Museum at UCLA is exploring the work of stanley brouwn. The Dutch-born conceptual artist was incredibly elusive. Brouwn eschewed interviews, avoided being photographed, and declined to have his work reproduced in media.

A number of U.S. art museums, mostly located off the beaten path or connected to academic institutions, are presenting solo exhibitions of five important, yet under-known or under-studied artists: Morgan, Rhoden, brouwn, Milford Graves, and Robert Earle Paige. While they may be local legends or familiar to certain audiences, curators, or fellow artists, new exhibitions are showcasing their diverse practices and bringing wider attention to their work:


From left, JOHN RHODEN, “Kiss,” undated (wood, overall 29 1/2 x 10 x 10 inches /74.9 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm); JOHN RHODEN, “Eve,” 1957 (bronze, overall 48 1/4 x 16 17 inches / 122.6 x 40.6 x 44.5 cm). | Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa., The John Walter Rhoden and Richanda Phillips Rhoden Collection. 2019.27.4. Photo © Sahar Coston-Hardy/Esto

Determined To Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden @ Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia, Pa. | October 5, 2023–April 7, 2024

The first comprehensive retrospective of sculptor John Walter Rhoden (1916-2001) presents about 70 works produced in bronze, wood, and stone. The work reflects “a sculptural sensibility defined by his extensive world travels, sensualism, and a breadth of visual influences” and is on view with a selection of archival materials that document the artist’s life and work. Rhoden was born in Birmingham, Ala., attended Talladega College (1934-36) where he met Hale Woodruff, and also studied at the New York School of Art, New School for Social Research, Columbia University, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the American Academy in Rome. As an art specialist for the U.S. Department of State (1955-59), he visited more than 20 countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe. A U.S. Army Reserve veteran, Rhoden ultimately lived in Brooklyn Heights and exhibited throughout his career. He worked for the New York Board of Education for four decades, teaching art classes in local public schools, and produced several public art commissions. In 2017, Rhoden’s estate entrusted PAFA with preserving his archive and promoting his artistic legacy. The multifaceted gift included funding for a curator to oversee the collection. Brittany Webb, who joined PAFA in 2018 as curator of 20th century art, has stewarded the artist’s archive, organized the current exhibition, and edited the accompanying catalog. The Rhoden Collection features more than 300 works of art and a wealth of exhibition materials, photographs, correspondence, journals, and other ephemera that have been digitized into an online archive of about 5,000 objects.


“stanley brouwn” is co-curated by Ann Goldstein, deputy director and senior curator at large at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Jordan Carter, curator and co-department head at the Dia Art Foundation, who was previously associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago. At the Hammer Museum (shown), the exhibition is organized by Aram Moshayedi, interim chief curator, with curatorial assistant Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi

stanley brouwn @ The Hammer Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif. | Feb. 3-May 5, 2024

The Hammer Museum is presenting the first comprehensive solo exhibition in the United States of Dutch conceptual artist stanley brouwn (1935-2017). The traveling show originated at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2023. In 1960, brouwn deemed that all of the shoe stores in Amsterdam represented an exhibition of his work. Beginning in 1960, he also stopped strangers in the street and asked for directions to various destinations. Brouwn turned the sparely drawn maps they made to assist him, or the blank paper he was left with if they were unable to help, into artworks. He stamped “THIS WAY BROUWN” on the papers, an ongoing succession of works that straddle conceptual and performance art. Born in Suriname, brouwn lived in Amsterdam, where he died at age 81. He avoided being photographed, declined to have his work reproduced in photographs, and didn’t give interviews preferring that the work speak for itself. The Hammer museum show features about 60 works spanning the 1960s to 2014. According to the museum, some of the works on view “include thinly drawn lines and typed numbers.” Despite his elusive nature, brouwn’s work was featured in major international exhibitions during his lifetime, including the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1982 and Documenta 5, 6, 7, and 11. Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, presented a major retrospective of brouwn in 2005. Nearly three dozen works by brouwn are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; a dozen are held by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn.; and more than 50 are included in the collection of the Dia Art Foundation. The Hammer exhibition coincides with a long-term presentation at Dia Beacon, where works by brouwn, dated 1970/2009 and 2003-present, are installed across two galleries through 2025.

Stanley Brouwn did not make distinctions between types of work, did not adhere to medium-specific descriptions of his work, and no checklists were created to document or categorize his creations. Some of the works on view include thinly drawn lines and typed numbers. — Hammer Museum


NORMA MORGAN, “Moor Country–Nantucket Island, Massachusetts,” 2001 (watercolor on paper, 11 x 15 inches). | The Michael K. and Marian E. Butler Collection

Norma Morgan in Context @ Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Conn. | Jan. 13-April 7, 2024

Based on her observations and imagination, the landscapes of Norma Morgan (1928-2017) have a spiritual quality and reflect “a sense of awe and a reverence towards nature.” Morgan was born and raised in New Haven, Conn., and over her lifetime lived and worked in New York City, as well as Woodstock, N.Y., and the United Kingdom. The environs of the latter two locations are reflected in her images of rock formations, forests, waterfalls, and overcast vistas. On occasion, her landscapes feature a solitary figure nearly swallowed by the expanse of the larger scene, which is the case with the work shown above. She also made portraits of friends and family and important historic figures such as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. Morgan had a solid art education. She enrolled at the Whitney School of Art in New Haven, Conn. In New York, she studied with Julian E. Levy at the Art Students League; Hans Hoffman in Greenwich Village; and Stanley William Hayter, after he brought his Paris-founded Atelier 17 to the city. She went on to be included in the 1966 exhibition “Ten Black Artists” at the World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, and presented her work at several galleries, including Cinque Gallery, which was founded by Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Ernest Crichlow. At Lyman Allyn Art Museum, “Norma Morgan in Context” features 28 works produced between 1950 and 2008, primarily works on paper (prints and watercolors) and two oil paintings. Morgan’s work is presented in conversation with 14 pieces by her instructors, contemporaries, and other influences, including Bearden, Samella Lewis, Herbert Gentry, Richard Hunt, Bill Hutson, and Otto Neals; master printers Robert Blackburn and Stanley William Hayter; Hudson River School artists, including founder Thomas Cole; and Rembrandt, the renowned 17th century Dutch painter and printer. This exhibition follows “Norma Morgan: In the Lands of the Moors and Catskills” (2023), which was on view at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, and “Norma Morgan: Enchanted World” (2021) at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md. Her work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Portland Art Museum in Oregon.


Installation view of “Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal,” Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Bennington, Vt. | Courtesy Bennington College

Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal @ Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Bennington, Vt. | Feb. 27–April 27, 2024

Artist, educator, and musician Milford Graves (1941-2021) was a pioneering jazz drummer and theorist who elevated the role of the drummer, putting drums on equal footing with other instruments. His multi-faceted practice was fueled by his unique pursuits. Graves created his own form of martial arts that drew on the Lindy Hop and African ritual dance. He was also an herbalist and botanist engaged with medicine and healing. An expansive selection of works is on view in this retrospective, including embellished drum sets, hand-painted album covers and posters, sculptural assemblage works, photographs, costumes, live recordings, archival materials, and documentation of the artist’s house and garden in Jamaica, Queens, New York. The traveling exhibition takes on new meaning at the current venue as Graves was a professor at Bennington College within what was once called the Black Music Division. He was on the faculty from 1973-2012, and received emeritus status in 2016.


ROBERT EARLE PAIGE, “Universal Colours of Paige,” 1990 (hand painted and dyed (batik) Crepe de Chine silk. | © Robert Earl Paige

United Colors of Robert Earle Paige @ Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Ill. | April 6-Oct. 27, 2024

Legendary Chicago artist, designer, and educator Robert Earle Paige (b. 1936) is known for his fabrics and textiles. His highly graphic work is informed by West African symbolism, modern paintings, and “the patterns, colors, and materials of everyday Black life.” Paige grew up on Chicago’s South Side, earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and got his start at the architectural design firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill. Eventually, he shifted gears to focus on fashion and product design, collaborating with the Italian fashion house Fiorio and Sears, Roebuck and Co. A participant in the Black Arts Movement, Paige is an avid proponent of community-centered arts and culture programs. Over the course of his career, he has taught young people about the principles of art and design and currently lectures with the Black Arts Movement School Modality. Paige has said he is on a path in pursuit of beauty and that he is part of an African American tradition in decorative arts. “Robert Earl Paige: Power to the People” (2022), the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York City, was curated by Duro Olowun at the gallery Salon 94. The largest presentation of Paige to date, “United Colors of Robert Earle Paige” at Hyde Park Art Center features six decades of textile designs and painted fabric alongside recent works spanning collage, clay, wall/floor paintings, and drawings produced during his Radicle Residency at Hyde Park Art Center (2022-23). The show is part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide series of programs and exhibitions happening through 2025. CT


Brittany Webb edited the recently published exhibition catalog “Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden.” A 20-page gallery guide produced to accompany the Norma Morgan exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Museum features brief essays by scholar Bruce Weber and curator Tanya Pohrt. Complimentary hard copies are available to visitors. “Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal” documents the artist’s current exhibition. Also consider, “As Serious As Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 1957–1977,” which references the contributions of Milford Graves.


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