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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
MCA Chicago's 'Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech' is an Exhibition Experience Dedicated to the Fast Rise of the Artist/Designer

MCA Chicago’s ‘Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech’ is an Exhibition Experience Dedicated to the Fast Rise of the Artist/Designer

Installation view of “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” at MCA Chicago   THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO is presenting the first museum exhibition dedicated to Virgil Abloh. The fast-rising designer and inveterate collaborator is the head of menswear design at Louis Vuitton and founder of the “streetwear” label Off-White. A traveling survey spanning two...
World Champion Simone Biles and the Elite Competition and Complexities of Women's Gymnastics Recently Inspired Two Painters

World Champion Simone Biles and the Elite Competition and Complexities of Women’s Gymnastics Recently Inspired Two Painters

  THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME. If there was any question Simone Biles is the greatest athlete in the history of gymnastics, she put all doubts to rest over the weekend at the United States Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City, Mo. The world’s top gymnast pushed new boundaries, delivered ambitious routines, and clenched her sixth...
Louis Vuitton Invited 6 Artists Including Tschabalala Self and Nicholas Hlobo to Reimagine its Capucines Handbag

Louis Vuitton Invited 6 Artists Including Tschabalala Self and Nicholas Hlobo to Reimagine its Capucines Handbag

  SIX NOTABLE FIGURES in contemporary art have reimagined Louis Vuitton’s top-handle Capucines bag. The Artycapucines Collection features limited-edition designs by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo and American artist Tschabalala Self, along with Sam Falls, Urs Fischer, Alex Israel, and Jonas Wood. Self is the only female artist in the group. Inspired by the Louis...
50 Years Ago, Alma Thomas Made 'Space' Paintings that Imagined the Moon and Mars

50 Years Ago, Alma Thomas Made ‘Space’ Paintings that Imagined the Moon and Mars

  WHEN APOLLO 11 LANDED on the moon, Alma Thomas was inspired by the historic milestone. The mission was launched 50 years ago today and Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins landed on the moon four days later, July 20, 1969. The American astronauts were the first people to visit...
Priceless History: Johnson Publishing Photography and Media Archive Up for Auction This Week

Priceless History: Johnson Publishing Photography and Media Archive Up for Auction This Week

  BEGINNING IN THE MID-20TH CENTURY, Johnson Publishing dominated the media landscape disseminating images of African Americans that defined black identity during an unprecedented period of progress and change. The photography published in Ebony and Jet magazines established a visual language and black aesthetic that came to represent the African American experience. It’s hard to...
Flag Flying: Artists Are Using the Symbolic Medium to Raise Political and Social Issues

Flag Flying: Artists Are Using the Symbolic Medium to Raise Political and Social Issues

  WHAT TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTIST is the Fourth of July? Is it consumed by fireworks and barbecue or grounded, perhaps, in the words of Frederick Douglass? On July 5, 1852, Douglass gave a historic address in Rochester, N.Y., at an event commemorating the Declaration of Independence. He said in part: What, to the...
Ta-Nehisi Coates is Launching His First Novel 'The Water Dancer' at Apollo Theater, a Spelman Alum Illustrated the Cover

Ta-Nehisi Coates is Launching His First Novel ‘The Water Dancer’ at Apollo Theater, a Spelman Alum Illustrated the Cover

  THE NATIONAL BOOK TOUR for “The Water Dancer,” the first novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates, will kick off at the Apollo Theater on Sept. 23. Coates will be in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. The author, who testified before Congress two weeks ago about reparations for African Americans, will serve as the inaugural artist-in-residence at the...
Works by 21 Artists are Featured in 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,' a New Documentary About the Acclaimed Author

Works by 21 Artists are Featured in ‘Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,’ a New Documentary About the Acclaimed Author

  THE POSTER PROMOTING a new documentary about Toni Morrison gives an indication of what’s to come in the film. A collage portrait by artist Mickalene Thomas depicts the Nobel Prize-winning author against a vivid fuchsia background. A live-action version of the portrait opens the film. The poster graphic comes together through a process of...
MLK Day: From Los Angeles to New York, Art Museums are Celebrating the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Day: From Los Angeles to New York, Art Museums are Celebrating the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., looks out at crowd in Montgomery, Ala., 1965 | Courtesy Stephen Somerstein   ART MUSEUMS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES are celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 21, the official federal King Day holiday. This year’s commemoration of King’s birthday marks 90 years since he was born...
New Short Documentary Gives a Voice to the Women Who For Generations Have Been Making Artful Quilts in Gee's Bend, Ala.

New Short Documentary Gives a Voice to the Women Who For Generations Have Been Making Artful Quilts in Gee’s Bend, Ala.

Gee’s Bend Quilter Mary Lee Bendolph   AFTER MAKING A CAPTIVATING documentary about artist and musician Lonnie Holley, Maris Curran has trained her lens on the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala. In 2016, Curran delivered a brief but memorable portrait of Birmingham, Ala.-born Holley. “The Man is the Music” documents his work and shares the...
Election 2018: Artists and Museums are Shining a Light on Democracy, Freedom, and the Importance of Voting

Election 2018: Artists and Museums are Shining a Light on Democracy, Freedom, and the Importance of Voting

Trevor Paglen for For Freedoms   NATIONWIDE THE ENERGY AND URGENCY surrounding the midterm elections is translating into record voter turnout. More than 31.5 million early and absentee votes have been been cast thus far. Days remain before Election Day and advanced balloting in 22 states and the District of Columbia has already exceeded total...
Amid Rising Calls for Social Justice in America, the Clenched Fist is Appearing in Artwork and Museums

Amid Rising Calls for Social Justice in America, the Clenched Fist is Appearing in Artwork and Museums

From left, “Bridge” by Glenn Kaino; Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics.   THE CLENCHED FIST, a symbol of Black Power and strength in the face of adversity, is showing up in museums. The historic gesture reflects the current moment in which many groups, frustrated with the political climate and...
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...