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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.

Exhibitions
National Portrait Gallery: African Americans and Racial Justice are Popular Subjects at Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition

National Portrait Gallery: African Americans and Racial Justice are Popular Subjects at Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition

  OCCURRING EVERY THREE YEARS, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition has showcased the work of numerous African American artists. Amy Sherald won first prize in 2016, transforming her career. In the latest cycle, Deborah Roberts, Genevieve Gaignard, Lava Thomas and Nona Faustine are among the finalists, and Wayde McIntosh tied for third prize. Their works...
What to See in Los Angeles: 15 Exhibitions Feature Ja'Tovia Gary, Hank Willis Thomas, Betye Saar, Lauren Halsey, Julie Mehretu, Arcmanoro Niles, and More

What to See in Los Angeles: 15 Exhibitions Feature Ja’Tovia Gary, Hank Willis Thomas, Betye Saar, Lauren Halsey, Julie Mehretu, Arcmanoro Niles, and More

  IN LOS ANGELES, it’s art fair season. Frieze Los Angeles is open for its second year at Paramount Pictures Studios. Art Los Angeles Contemporary is happening at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is hosting the Felix art fair and Spring/Break is at Skylight ROW DTLA. At The Kinney in Venice, stARTup...
Hirshhorn Museum Plans First U.S. Retrospective of Sam Gilliam in 15+ Years

Hirshhorn Museum Plans First U.S. Retrospective of Sam Gilliam in 15+ Years

“Light Depth” (1969) by Sam Gilliam   THE HIRSHHORN MUSEUM and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., plans an expansive look at the six-decade career of pioneering abstractionist Sam Gilliam. Exploring key moments in his innovative painting practice, the retrospective will open at the Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in spring 2022. “Inspired by the...
After Making Images That Reflect the Sweeping Legacy of Slavery, Photographer Dannielle Bowman Looks Closer to Home

After Making Images That Reflect the Sweeping Legacy of Slavery, Photographer Dannielle Bowman Looks Closer to Home

DANNIELLE BOWMAN, “Inglewood,” 2019 (digital pigment print, 20 x 25 inches). | © Dannielle Bowman   AN ENDLESS EXPANSE of dark, open waters illustrates the cover of The New York Times Magazine’s groundbreaking examination of the legacy of slavery in America: The 1619 Project. The black-and-white photograph captures the distant horizon near a Hampton, Va.,...
Backstory: Wayde McIntosh Made a Prize-Winning Portrait of Friend and Fellow Artist Jordan Casteel

Backstory: Wayde McIntosh Made a Prize-Winning Portrait of Friend and Fellow Artist Jordan Casteel

  VISITING THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY for the first time in 2006 turned out to be a meaningful experience for Wayde McIntosh. Studying for a BFA in painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, he made the short trip from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., specifically to see the inaugural exhibition of the Outwin Boochever...
Disembodiment: A New Generation of Painters is Reframing the Narrative Around Blackness and the Black Body

Disembodiment: A New Generation of Painters is Reframing the Narrative Around Blackness and the Black Body

“Pac Thugz Mansion” (2019) by Jerrell Gibbs   RENDERED IN SOFT FOCUS, a glimpse of nude figures diving into an expansive body of blue water is seen through an opening of low-hanging foliage. It’s a view that could take on any number of interpretations. The painting by Jerrell Gibbs is a vision of freedom and...
Culture Talk: Collector Pamela Joyner on the Artists Defining the History and Shaping the Future of Black Abstract Art

Culture Talk: Collector Pamela Joyner on the Artists Defining the History and Shaping the Future of Black Abstract Art

  SINCE 1999, PAMELA J. JOYNER and Alfred J. Giuffrida have focused their collecting on abstract art by artists of African descent. Nearing 100 artists, the collection is documented in a hefty volume, “Four Generations: The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art,” and a traveling exhibition. After touring four museums, “Solidary & Solitary: The...
Extraordinary Frederick Douglass Archive Inspired an Exhibition and Ceremonial Tribute Staged by Artist Raphaël Barontini

Extraordinary Frederick Douglass Archive Inspired an Exhibition and Ceremonial Tribute Staged by Artist Raphaël Barontini

The exhibition “Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom” at the SCAD Museum of Art was accompanied by “The Golden March,” a special commission by artist Raphaël Barontini composed of a marching band performance and site-specific installations. | Photography Courtesy of SCAD   SAVANNAH, GA.—Carrying flags and banners bearing the image of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the Savannah...
On View: Vanessa German, 'Trampoline: Resilience & Black Body & Soul' at Fort Gansevoort in New York

On View: Vanessa German, ‘Trampoline: Resilience & Black Body & Soul’ at Fort Gansevoort in New York

    CANDID, HARSH, AND IMAGINATIVE, Vanessa German‘s mixed-media sculptures, assemblages, and wall-mounted altars are rich with narrative. Created to gird against the daily violence and indignities endured by black and brown people, her Power Figures possess joy, love, and soul protection. Pittsburgh-based German is a performance artist and activist who paints, sculpts and writes....
Using His Camera as an Instrument, Frank Stewart Has Been Hanging with Jazz Musicians for Five Decades

Using His Camera as an Instrument, Frank Stewart Has Been Hanging with Jazz Musicians for Five Decades

  MILES DAVIS HOLDING COURT with the press after a performance at Lincoln Center is one of Frank Stewart’s more well-known photographs. A camera flash shines bright aimed at Davis who is perched against a wall on the opposite side of the room, elevated slightly just above everyone, his shadow cast behind him. Stewart shot...
On View: 'Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections' at Detroit Institute of Arts

On View: ‘Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections’ at Detroit Institute of Arts

AARON DOUGLAS, “Study for Haitian Mural, Wilmington, Delaware,” 1942 (oil on board). | Lent by Wilson A. and Deborah Fl. Copeland and Lauren F. C. N’Namdi   WHILE ATTENTION is often paid to patrons of the arts in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, for generations, the city of Detroit has had a significant...
On View: 'Woody De Othello: Breathing Room' at San José Museum of Art

On View: ‘Woody De Othello: Breathing Room’ at San José Museum of Art

  THE SAN JOSÉ MUSEUM OF ART acquired “Defeated, depleted,” (2018) by Woody De Othello last year. Shiny, black, anthropomorphic, and collapsing in on itself, the ceramic sculpture (above left) inspired a body of work now on view at the museum. “Breathing Room” is De Othello’s first museum exhibition. Born in Miami to a family...
AFRICOBRA in Venice: Curated by Jeffreen Hayes, 'Nation Time' Explores the Powerful Roots and History of the Collective

AFRICOBRA in Venice: Curated by Jeffreen Hayes, ‘Nation Time’ Explores the Powerful Roots and History of the Collective

  FIVE LIKE-MINDED ARTISTS came together half a century ago with a common purpose. Jeff Donaldson (1932-2004), Wadsworth Jarrell, Jae Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu (1938-2017), and Gerald Williams met in Wadsworth’s studio on the South Side of Chicago and committed to harnessing the power of their collective artistic voice. The artists formed AFRICOBRA in 1968 and...
On View: 'Utopian Imagination' at Ford Foundation Gallery in New York

On View: ‘Utopian Imagination’ at Ford Foundation Gallery in New York

On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions GIVEN THE PERILS of the contemporary world, how do artists envision the future? “Utopian Imagination” at the Ford Foundation Gallery brings together 13 international artists whose works—spanning sculpture, photography, and film—suggest how we all might exist and persist on a planet under threat from natural and man-made forces....