Welcome to Culture Type®

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
Pérez Art Museum Miami Exhibition Celebrates African American Art Acquisitions, Presents Rich Array of Artistic Voices

Pérez Art Museum Miami Exhibition Celebrates African American Art Acquisitions, Presents Rich Array of Artistic Voices

  “Untitled (Parade)” (2016) by Kevin Beasley   HISTORICALLY, FEW MAINSTREAM American museums have collected art by African American artists in a meaningful or representational manner. To address generational deficits and fill gaps, many museums have established special funds and committees dedicated to acquiring African American art. A collection exhibition currently on view at Pérez...
When He is Not in His Painting Studio, Tadesse Mesfin is Training the Next Generation of Ethiopian Artists

When He is Not in His Painting Studio, Tadesse Mesfin is Training the Next Generation of Ethiopian Artists

Tadesse Mesfin in his Addis Ababa studo   A PROMINENT FIGURE in Ethiopian Modernism, Tadesse Mesfin thrives on two creative fronts: making paintings and training the next generation of artists. Women are the protagonists in Mesfin’s ongoing series “Pillars of Life.” The paintings pay homage to the many women who work as smallholder vendors in...
Using Japanese Firing Technique, Former Black Panther Akinsanya Kambon Makes Ceramic Sculpture Rich with Personal History and African Influences

Using Japanese Firing Technique, Former Black Panther Akinsanya Kambon Makes Ceramic Sculpture Rich with Personal History and African Influences

  THE POWERFUL CERAMIC SCULPTURES of Akinsanya Kambon (aka Mark Teemer) are embedded with history, identity, and ancient techniques with spiritual vibes. An extensive selection of his works is on view “American Expressions/African Roots: Akinsanya Kambon’s Ceramic Sculpture,” at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. Kambon has traveled to Africa 14 times, conducting research and...
Garrett Bradley on Her Short Film 'America': 'I Didn’t Want to Shy Away From What it Would Mean to Title it After My Country'

Garrett Bradley on Her Short Film ‘America’: ‘I Didn’t Want to Shy Away From What it Would Mean to Title it After My Country’

Still from “America” (2019) by Garrett Bradley   ARTIST AND FILMMAKER Garrett Bradley makes lyrical films that explore the challenges of contemporary life and surface lost histories. A pair of revelations about the legacy of silent film inspired one of her latest projects. In 2013, the Library of Congress (LOC) released a report declaring America’s...
On View: Firelei Báez Explores Diasporic Histories, Mythical Figures, and Imagined Realms at James Cohan Gallery in New York

On View: Firelei Báez Explores Diasporic Histories, Mythical Figures, and Imagined Realms at James Cohan Gallery in New York

  While museums and galleries are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus, On View will continue to showcase images from noteworthy exhibitions   THE DYNAMIC WORKS of Firelei Báez are studies in contrast—bridging the past and future, marrying static documents with painterly gestural images bursting with color, energy, movement, and symbolism. Báez paints directly...
South Africa-Based Artist Billie Zangewa is Now Represented by New York Gallery Lehmann Maupin, Her Silk 'Paintings' Center the Lives and Experiences of Women

South Africa-Based Artist Billie Zangewa is Now Represented by New York Gallery Lehmann Maupin, Her Silk ‘Paintings’ Center the Lives and Experiences of Women

“Soldier of Love” (2020) by Billie Zangewa   DRESSED IN A KHAKI TRENCH COAT, Billie Zangewa holds her young son’s hand, escorting him to school. He wears a backpack and a school uniform. Lush green foliage crowds their path. Behind them, the sky is a luminous pink. The everyday scene is of the artist’s own...
Slated to Showcase African American Art This Season, San Francisco Museums and Galleries are Closed Due to Coronavirus

Slated to Showcase African American Art This Season, San Francisco Museums and Galleries are Closed Due to Coronavirus

Works by Rosie Lee Tompkins at BAMPFA   UNDER THE LEADERSHIP of Mayor London Breed, San Francisco has fared relatively well over the past couple of months. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has faced infections and deaths, but early actions by the mayor significantly contained its impact. As of May 4,...
Terry Adkins Conceived His Exhibitions as a Conversational Interplay Among Objects, Installations, and Musical Performances

Terry Adkins Conceived His Exhibitions as a Conversational Interplay Among Objects, Installations, and Musical Performances

  RIGOROUS, POETIC, AND HIGHLY ABSTRACT, the practice of Terry Adkins (1953-2014) is a nexus of art, music, and language. He repurposed found objects and reimagined instruments; brought visibility to the layered biographies of pivotal historical figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Matthew Henson, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Sojourner Truth, and John Brown; and...
'Give Me Some Moments': Lorna Simpson's New Collages Channel the Imagined Lives and Complex Interiority of Her Subjects

‘Give Me Some Moments’: Lorna Simpson’s New Collages Channel the Imagined Lives and Complex Interiority of Her Subjects

THE IMAGES OF AFRICAN AMERICANS that populate the pages of vintage Ebony and Jet magazines have been a source of inspiration for Lorna Simpson for nearly a decade. Black men and children have featured in her collages, but overwhelmingly she’s focused on advertising images of black women culled and cut from the pages of the...
Everyone Can Relate to Trees and Wood, So Hugh Hayden Uses the Materials to Change How We Think About Larger Cultural Issues

Everyone Can Relate to Trees and Wood, So Hugh Hayden Uses the Materials to Change How We Think About Larger Cultural Issues

  Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a worldwide environmental movement to drive transformative change and positive action for our planet.   THESE AREN’T ORDINARY LOGS, positioned just so, one on top of the other. Together, they form a mixed-media sculpture by Hugh Hayden. He meticulously collaged Sharptail grouse feathers to create the...
New Paintings by Stanley Whitney Speak to Enduring Influence of Rome and Realization That 'Space is in the Color'

New Paintings by Stanley Whitney Speak to Enduring Influence of Rome and Realization That ‘Space is in the Color’

IN THE 1990s, Stanley Whitney spent five years in Rome. He says he arrived in 1992 or 1993 and that living and working in Rome was a turning point, the beginning of his “mature” work. Whitney speaks in a language of color, working within a grid structure mindful of rhythm, density, and space. Visually, the...
On View: 'Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl' at California African American Museum in Los Angeles

On View: ‘Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl’ at California African American Museum in Los Angeles

  While museums and galleries are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus, On View will continue to showcase images from noteworthy exhibitions   THE FIRST SOLO MUSEUM EXHIBITION in Los Angeles of Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, debuted Feb. 28. “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl” was open for about two weeks at the California African...
Knoxville Museum of Art Explores 'Intellectual Exchange' Between Artist Beauford Delaney and Writer James Baldwin

Knoxville Museum of Art Explores ‘Intellectual Exchange’ Between Artist Beauford Delaney and Writer James Baldwin

  THE CREATIVITY of Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) flourished in New York City and Paris. An exhibition at his hometown museum brings attention to a pivotal relationship that thrived in parallel. “Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin: Through the Unusual Door” at the Knoxville Museum of Art explores the nearly four-decade relationship between Delaney and James Baldwin...
Beginning in Late 1950s, African American Painters Known as 'Highwaymen' Captured Florida's Natural Landscapes

Beginning in Late 1950s, African American Painters Known as ‘Highwaymen’ Captured Florida’s Natural Landscapes

Untitled and undated painting by Harold Newton   BEGINNING IN THE LATE 1950s, a group of mostly self-taught African American artists devoted themselves to capturing Florida’s natural landscapes. During a time when black artists were generally focused on figuration and the best way to express themselves in the wake of Jim Crow and the fight...