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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.

Auctions
Kerry James Marshall Painting Goes For Nearly $18.5 Million at Sotheby's, Second-Highest Price at Auction for a Work by a Living African American Artist

Kerry James Marshall Painting Goes For Nearly $18.5 Million at Sotheby’s, Second-Highest Price at Auction for a Work by a Living African American Artist

  AN IMAGE OF BLACK LOVE by Kerry James Marshall was highly sought this week. Nearly six-feet tall, “Vignette 19” (2014) depicts three couples captured in a park-like vignette framed with strokes of pink and a glittery heart. Offered at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Nov. 14 in New York, the painting was expected...
Saint Louis Art Museum Has Acquired 'Seated Woman,' Elizabeth Catlett's Record-Setting Sculpture

Saint Louis Art Museum Has Acquired ‘Seated Woman,’ Elizabeth Catlett’s Record-Setting Sculpture

  A CARVED MAHOGANY sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) set a new artist record in New York this week. “Seated Woman” (1962) sold for $389,000 (fees included) at Swann Auction Galleries African-American Fine Art sale on Oct. 8. “Elizabeth Catlett was especially deserving of a new record, and ‘Seated Woman’ was the perfect work to...
Paintings by Hurvin Anderson and Mark Bradford Among Top Lots at Phillips London Evening Sale, New Records Set by Simone Leigh and Derek Fordjour

Paintings by Hurvin Anderson and Mark Bradford Among Top Lots at Phillips London Evening Sale, New Records Set by Simone Leigh and Derek Fordjour

  FAMILY EXPERIENCES inspire much of Hurvin Anderson‘s work. A mix of figuration and abstraction his paintings draw on memory and often depict specific places and singular moments. Anderson’s sister emigrated to Canada from the UK. “Beaver Lake” (1998) portrays her and her child at the Alberta lake. Made early in the artist’s career, “Beaver...
Fast-Rising Artist Derek Fordjour Set a New Auction Record at Phillips New York

Fast-Rising Artist Derek Fordjour Set a New Auction Record at Phillips New York

  PHILLIPS BEGAN the fall auction season with its New Now sale and the results yielded an artist record for Derek Fordjour. “Agency and Regulation (study)” (2016) was estimated to sell for $40,000-$60,000, and the painting more than doubled high expectations reaching $137,500 (fees included). The new benchmark was established Sept. 24 in New York....
Boasting Works by Nina Chanel Abney, Hebru Brantley, William Villalongo, and Richard Prince, Q-Tip's Art Collection Will Be Exhibited at Bonhams New York

Boasting Works by Nina Chanel Abney, Hebru Brantley, William Villalongo, and Richard Prince, Q-Tip’s Art Collection Will Be Exhibited at Bonhams New York

    IT’S NO SURPRISE Q-Tip is a serious record collector, given his vocation. When Gail King visited the renowned member of A Tribe Called Quest at his New Jersey home for a CBS This Morning segment, he told her he had about 9,000 records. Footage from the segment indicated Q-Tip has an interest in...
Paintings By Black Female Artists Soar at London Contemporary Auctions, Records Set by Kara Walker, Tschabalala Self, Nina Chanel Abney, and Toyin Ojih Odutola

Paintings By Black Female Artists Soar at London Contemporary Auctions, Records Set by Kara Walker, Tschabalala Self, Nina Chanel Abney, and Toyin Ojih Odutola

  IN VIVID BLACK AND BLUE, “Four Idioms on Negro Art #4 Primitivism” (2015) by Kara Walker depicts a violent confrontation among four silhouetted figures. A police officer in combat gear hovers over the scene. A phallus hanging between his wide spread legs, he is kicking a male figure that is sucking the breast of...
Sotheby's Contemporary Sales in New York Yielded Records for Kevin Beasley, McArthur Binion, Michael Ray Charles, Charles Gaines, Rashid Johnson, and Alma Thomas

Sotheby’s Contemporary Sales in New York Yielded Records for Kevin Beasley, McArthur Binion, Michael Ray Charles, Charles Gaines, Rashid Johnson, and Alma Thomas

  SOTHEBY’S ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK that it was being acquired by French-Israeli telecommunications billionaire Patrick Drahi in a $3.7 billion deal. The purchase would take the publicly traded auction house private, again, after 31 years on the New York Stock Exchange. (Other major auction houses are privately held, including Christie’s, its chief rival, Phillips, and...
Sales Results: At Christie's, Portrait by Amy Sherald Marks Artist's Auction Debut, Plus Mickalene Thomas and Stanley Whitney Establish New Records

Sales Results: At Christie’s, Portrait by Amy Sherald Marks Artist’s Auction Debut, Plus Mickalene Thomas and Stanley Whitney Establish New Records

  WORKS BY FIVE African American artists opened Christie’s contemporary sale on May 16, with exceptional results for women artists. Amy Sherald made her auction debut with a portrait that sold for three times the estimate. Mickalene Thomas achieved a new artist record and a painting by Jordan Casteel more than doubled expectations. A body...
Sales Results: New Records at Phillips for Christina Quarles, Ed Clark, Rashid Johnson, and Stanley Whitney, Plus 'Helter Skelter II' by Mark Bradford Hits Auction Block

Sales Results: New Records at Phillips for Christina Quarles, Ed Clark, Rashid Johnson, and Stanley Whitney, Plus ‘Helter Skelter II’ by Mark Bradford Hits Auction Block

  THE SPRING CONTEMPORARY AUCTIONS at Phillips New York featured a variety of works by critically acclaimed African American artists—emerging, mid-career, and long-established figures. Lots sold against the backdrop of Mark Bradford’s “Helter Skelter II” (2007), which was on display behind the auctioneer’s podium over the course of three sales spanning two days. On May...
A Self-Portrait is the Latest Painting By Jordan Casteel to Hit the Auction Block in 2019 and Far Exceed Expectations

A Self-Portrait is the Latest Painting By Jordan Casteel to Hit the Auction Block in 2019 and Far Exceed Expectations

  A SELF-PORTRAIT by Jordan Casteel sold at Phillips last night. The painting tells a visual story. It depicts the artist, documents a chronic health issue, and unpacks a narrative about her life in Denver before she enrolled in the MFA program at Yale and later participated in the artist-in-residence program at the Studio Museum...
'Selective Histories' by Toyin Ojih Odutola Set Auction Record in London, Forthcoming Lot in New York May Surpass Benchmark

‘Selective Histories’ by Toyin Ojih Odutola Set Auction Record in London, Forthcoming Lot in New York May Surpass Benchmark

  SOTHEBY’S RECENT Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London featured 65 lots. Only 13 of the works were by women artists, but the representation was a milestone. According to Sotheby’s, it was the highest proportion of works by women the auction house has ever offered in an evening sale. Each season, the evening sale is...
Repurposed Quilt Work by Sanford Biggers Sets an Artist Record at Phillips London

Repurposed Quilt Work by Sanford Biggers Sets an Artist Record at Phillips London

  THE NEW NOW SALE at Phillips London yielded six artist records, including a new benchmark for Sanford Biggers. “Sag, Harbor Honeystuckle” (2013) by Biggers sold for £27,500 ($35,945) fees included, an artist record, according to the auction house and the Artprice database. The mixed-media work is a repurposed quilt with fabric collage, acrylic, and...
Sotheby's Contemporary Curated Sale Offered Look at Rarely Seen Works by Faith Ringgold, Henry Taylor, Robert Colescott, Romare Bearden, Jack Whitten & More

Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated Sale Offered Look at Rarely Seen Works by Faith Ringgold, Henry Taylor, Robert Colescott, Romare Bearden, Jack Whitten & More

  AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTISTS figured prominently in Sotheby’s recent Contemporary Curated auction. Works by 32 African American artists were offered, some rarely if ever shown publicly including a 2002 portrait of Malcolm X by Henry Taylor acquired directly from the artist and a pair of Robert Colescott interior scenes that give a nod to Roy...
Sotheby's Modern & Contemporary African Art Sale in London Yields 11 Artist Records, El Anatsui Tapestry is Top Lot, Again

Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary African Art Sale in London Yields 11 Artist Records, El Anatsui Tapestry is Top Lot, Again

  SOTHEBY’S LONDON has held four sales dedicated to modern and contemporary African art and tapestries by El Anatsui have topped three of them, including the most recent on April 2. A 10-foot sculptural tapestry composed of aluminum bottle caps and copper wire, “Zebra Crossing 2” (shown above) was made in 2007 and exceeded expectations....