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Exploring art by and about people of African descent, primarily through the lens of books, magazines and catalogs, Culture Type features original research and reporting and shares invaluable interestingness culled from the published record on black art.

Art x Culture
Broadway Bound: Musical About Legendary Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in Development

Broadway Bound: Musical About Legendary Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in Development

  JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (1960-1988) is Broadway bound. A musical about the storied artist’s life is in the works, composed by Jon Batiste, the bandleader and musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. The project is produced by Alan D. Marks and Barbara Marks. Tony winner John Doyle (“The Color Purple”) has...
Issa Rae Wore a Carrie Mae Weems T-Shirt on Last Sunday's Episode of 'Insecure'

Issa Rae Wore a Carrie Mae Weems T-Shirt on Last Sunday’s Episode of ‘Insecure’

  ISSA RAE OFTEN WEARS statement T-shirts on HBO’s “Insecure.” In recent episodes, her tees have declared “Love is Al Green” and promoted “Inglewood” and “N.W.A.” Another said “Mood” under a portrait of Nina Simone. When she went to the California African American Museum in Season Two, her shirt said, “The Last Poets.” It’s seven...
Two Decades After Anita Hill Testified Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, She Started a Conversation with Mark Bradford About His Art and Practice

Two Decades After Anita Hill Testified Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, She Started a Conversation with Mark Bradford About His Art and Practice

Professor Anita Hill and artist Mark Bradford (2014)   GLUED TO THEIR TELEVISIONS, most Americans “met” Anita F. Hill on Oct. 11, 1991. That’s how Mark Bradford was introduced to her, too. In Los Angeles, in the neighborhood of Leimert Park, the TV in the beauty salon owned by his mother, Janice Banks, was tuned...
Pyer Moss Staged a Powerful, Art-Inspired Runway Show at Historic Black Heritage Site

Pyer Moss Staged a Powerful, Art-Inspired Runway Show at Historic Black Heritage Site

  WITH LIGHT RAIN FALLING, four dozen black models walked the grounds of Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night. A 40-person gospel choir wearing flowing white robes and Reebok tennis shoes sang live during the 23-minute runway show. Outfitted in fabrics with painterly images of African Americans, the models paraded by with purpose...
Barry Jenkins Shared Trailer for 'If Beale Street Could Talk' on Baldwin's Birthday

Barry Jenkins Shared Trailer for ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ on Baldwin’s Birthday

  TO CELEBRATE JAMES BALDWIN’S BIRTHDAY, Barry Jenkins shared the trailer for “If Beale Street Could Talk” on Twitter. He wrote, “For me, August 2nd has always been a day to pay tribute, so… a teaser of what’s to come. Happy Birthday, Jimmy 🙏🏿🙌🏿♥️” Baldwin was born Aug. 2, 1924, and he published “If Beale...
For Faith Ringgold, the American Flag Has Always Been a Potent and Powerful Symbol

For Faith Ringgold, the American Flag Has Always Been a Potent and Powerful Symbol

“Flag Story Quilt” (1985) by Faith Ringgold is currently on view at the Spencer Museum of Art.   THE AMERICAN FLAG, its design and all that it symbolizes, is the basis for some of the most politically potent and astute work Faith Ringgold has made over past half century. In 1970, she helped organize the...
Commencement 2018: Glenn Ligon, Dawoud Bey, Carrie Mae Weems, and Joyce J. Scott Are Among the Artists Imparting Wisdom and Expectations on New Graduates

Commencement 2018: Glenn Ligon, Dawoud Bey, Carrie Mae Weems, and Joyce J. Scott Are Among the Artists Imparting Wisdom and Expectations on New Graduates

Glenn Ligon spoke at The New School’s 2018 commencement on May 18.   A NUMBER OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTISTS were declared doctors over the past month. Invited to participate in commencement ceremonies for undergraduate and MFA students at institutions around the country, prominent artists, critics, and curators were bestowed honorary doctorate degrees. Addressing 2018 graduates,...
Mona Lisa, Baby: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Take Over the Louvre in New Video

Mona Lisa, Baby: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Take Over the Louvre in New Video

  FOR THEIR LATEST VIDEO, Beyoncé and Jay-Z took over the Louvre, stunting and styling through the galleries without a tourist in sight. The Paris museum played host to the Carters who dropped a surprise album on Saturday. The nine-track collaborative project is titled “Everything is Love” and both artists appear on every track including...
Basel and Beyond: Overdue Recognition of African American Artists at Home is Generating Unprecedented Curatorial and Collector Interest Throughout Europe

Basel and Beyond: Overdue Recognition of African American Artists at Home is Generating Unprecedented Curatorial and Collector Interest Throughout Europe

“The Music of Color: Sam Gilliam, 1967-1973” recently opened in Basel, Switzerland.   THE GALLERIES OF KUNSTMUSEUM BASEL are alive with color in the form of 45 abstract paintings by Sam Gilliam. “The Music of Color: Sam Gilliam, 1967-1973” is the Washington, D.C.-based artist’s first retrospective exhibition in a European museum. The show is devoted...
British Artist Steve McQueen's Latest Film is a Heist Thriller Starring Viola Davis

British Artist Steve McQueen’s Latest Film is a Heist Thriller Starring Viola Davis

Viola Davis leads an ensemble cast in Steve McQueen’s latest film “Widows.” | Screenshot from Trailer   A DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, screenwriter, and video artist, Steve McQueen has a dual career making movies for museums and movies for the cineplex. In the art world, recent video installations have included “End Credits,” an homage to Paul Robeson,...
In a New Documentary, 4 Los Angeles Area Artists Explore the Creative and Practical Implications of Motherhood

In a New Documentary, 4 Los Angeles Area Artists Explore the Creative and Practical Implications of Motherhood

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is among the artists profiled in the documentary “Artist and Mother.” | Video by KCET   DOES MOTHERHOOD ALTER an artist’s practice or change her work and approach to creativity? It’s a question rarely discussed publicly that a new documentary takes on and addresses directly. “You have very significant successful artists and...
A New Documentary About André Leon Talley Traces His Southern Roots and Unimaginable Rise in High Fashion

A New Documentary About André Leon Talley Traces His Southern Roots and Unimaginable Rise in High Fashion

  A WISE AND SEASONED arbiter of style, André Leon Talley has been cutting a fabulous figure in the fashion world for more than 40 years. Before he became a fixture at Vogue, he worked at Andy Warhol’s Factory, volunteered with Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and did stints at...
It's World Book Day. Have You Read an Exhibition Catalog in the Past Year?

It’s World Book Day. Have You Read an Exhibition Catalog in the Past Year?

Johnson Publishing Library Archive at Rebuild Foundation, Chicago (April 23, 2016). | Photo by Victoria L. Valentine   TODAY IS WORLD BOOK DAY, what are you reading? An exhibition catalog or critical text perhaps? Designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Book and Copyright Day celebrates and promotes books, reading,...
Moments in Time: Andre D. Wagner Photographs African American Life as it Unfolds on the Streets of New York

Moments in Time: Andre D. Wagner Photographs African American Life as it Unfolds on the Streets of New York

  THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF Andre D. Wagner celebrate everyday excellence and the power of fleeting moments. The New York-based street photographer trains his camera primarily on African Americans throughout the city, documenting the many untold stories found in neighborhoods from Brooklyn and Harlem. His images of blackness have recently been featured in the New York...