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

APRIL BEY, “I KNOW ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW ALL ABOUT,” 2024 (jacquard, sherpa, crushed velour, metallic thread, beads, adorned clothespins, 80 x 240 inches). | © April Bey, Courtesy the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles


April Bey Joined Vielmetter Los Angeles
Vielmetter Los Angeles added April Bey (b.1987) to its roster. The news coincides with a solo exhibition of the artist, “April Bey: I Know All About What You Want to Know All About,” currently on view at Vielmetter until May 18. The gallery also featured works by Bey in its booth at Art Basel Miami Beach in December. Spanning installation, textiles, synthography, weaving, and stitching, Vielmetter said Bey’s “interdisciplinary practice is an introspective and social critique of American and Bahamian culture, in which issues of Feminism, AfroSurrealism, Speculative Futurism, and Blerd culture coalesce.” Los Angeles-based Bey grew up in the Bahamas. She is now represented by Vielmetter and Tern Gallery in Nassau, Bahamas. (5/15) | More


Paul Anthony Smith in his studio. | Photo by Andre D. Wagner, Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery


New Representation for Paul Anthony Smith
Timothy Taylor announced its representation of Paul Anthony Smith (b. 1988) in London. The gallery has locations in London and New York. Smith will continue to be represented by Jack Shainman gallery in New York. “Paul Anthony Smith: Passage” is on view at the Hydes Collection in Glen Falls, N.Y., through June 2. Timothy Taylor plans to show new works by Smith at Frieze London in October. Jamaican-born Smith grew up in Miami, Fla., and currently lives and works in New York. Expressing himself through painting and photography, Smith’s works explores his personal history, Caribbean identity, migration, cultural memory. “Across his work, Smith refers to borders, fences, barriers, and masks, alluding to the ways in which such forms variably serve to conceal, obfuscate, foreclose, and protect,” the gallery said. (5/16) | More

“I am incredibly excited that Paul Anthony Smith has joined the gallery. I’ve been an admirer of his work for some time. His startlingly original use of traditional mediums––photography, oil paint, or picotage—reveals a complex and profound engagement with depth and surface, and between content and material.” — Gallery Founder Timothy Taylor


Swann’s Director of African American Art Expands Portfolio
Nigel Freeman, right, director of the African American Art department at Swann Auction Galleries, will now oversee all fine art sales at the New York City auction house. Swann announced a number of new role changes, Freeman’s being the most prominent. Freeman was a painter and printmaker with an MFA from Columbia University when he joined Swann in 1997. After serving as associate director of the Prints & Drawings department at Swann, he established what was originally called the African American Fine Art department in 2006. The department generally holds two African American art auctions per year. Marquis sales have been dedicated to the collections of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company (2007) and Johnson Publishing Company (2020). “Our African American Art department was founded on the principle of elevating the value of many great but undervalued or underrepresented artists. We introduced them to the auction market, confident that a knowledgeable market would appreciate the opportunity. It quickly evolved into an entirely new auction market. Our new team is deeply committed to bringing this same philosophy to all our (fine art) departments, diversifying our sales, and engaging with new audiences, a commitment that we believe is crucial for the future of the art industry,” Freeman said in a statement. (5/14) | More

Mike Kelley Foundation Adds New Board Member
In Los Angeles, wealth management advisor and art collector Gianna Drake-Kerrison (left) was appointed to the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) established the foundation in 2007 to further his “spirit of critical thinking, risk taking, and provocation in the arts” through grants to artists and arts organizations. The nine-member board of directors also includes MoMA PS1 Director Connie Butler, artists Gary Simmons and Glenn Kaino, and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, chief curator and deputy director of curatorial and collections at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. (5/14) | More

IMAGE: Above right, Nigel Freeman. | Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries


Adrienne Elise Tarver. | Courtesy ARTNOIR


Inaugural ARTNOIR x STONELEAF Fellow Announced
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Adrienne Elise Tarver is the first-ever recipient of the ARTNOIR Where We Going Fellowship at STONELEAF in Hudson, N.Y. The opportunity includes a three-week residency, from July 8-28, with open studios on July 20 (part of Upstate Art Weekend). Working across painting, sculpture, installation, textiles, photography, and video, Tarver explores the complexity of Black female identity and issues of invisibility. The name of the fellowship (“Where We Going”) was inspired by Where We At Black Women Artists (WWA), the collective co-founded in 1971 by Faith Ringgold, Kay Brown, Dindga McCannon, and others. (5/10) | More

Loewe Craft Prize Highlights International Artists
The winner of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 was announced at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, where an exhibition of 30 works, one object by each of the finalists, is on view (May 15-June 9, 2024). Finalists included Patrick Bongoy (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Ange (Mali), Alison Croney Moses (Boston, Mass., USA), and Ozioma Onuzulike (Nigeria). Mexican ceramic artist Andrés Anza took the top prize of 50,000 Euros (about US $54,000) in the juried competition. Loewe is a Spanish luxury fashion brand. (5/14) | More


Tony Nominations Recognize Black Stories and Talent
Broadway theaters are alive with a number of revivals and original productions driven by Black talent on stage and behind the scenes. The plays and musicals have been recognized with an array of Tony nominations. “Hell’s Kitchen,” the semi-autobiographical show with songs and lyrics by Alicia Keys, leads the nomination count with 13, including Best Musical, Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Maleah Joi Moon), Best Direction of a Musical (Michael Greif), and Best Choreography (Camille A. Brown). Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “Appropriate,” arrived on Broadway a decade after he first staged it. Starring Sarah Paulson, the dark family drama, set on a former plantation, nabbed eight nominations. A revival of “Pearlie Victorious” (written by Ossie Davis in 1961) starring Leslie Odom Jr., under the direction of Kenny Leon, earned six Tony nods. Both “Appropriate” and “Pearlie Victorious” are up Best Revival of a Play. “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” by playwright Jocelyn Bioh, illuminates the lives of immigrant women in a Harlem hair braiding shop, and got five nominations, including Best Play. Best Direction of a Play nominations went to “Purlie Victorious” (Kenny Leon), “Appropriate” (Lila Neugebauer), and “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” (Whitney White). Thirty-six production were eligible for Tony nominations this year. Returning to Broadway for the first time in decades, “The Wiz” was among eight productions that went unrecognized. The 77th Tony Awards are June 16. (4/30) | More


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