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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.

The New Yorker: Kadir Nelson's 'Distant Summer' Cover Invokes Pandemic Protocol, Frivolity of Youth, and American Symbolism

The New Yorker: Kadir Nelson’s ‘Distant Summer’ Cover Invokes Pandemic Protocol, Frivolity of Youth, and American Symbolism

“Distant Summer” by Kadir Nelson. | July 6 and July 3, 2020   SHORTLY AFTER DELIVERING a sobering cover documenting the history of racial injustice, violence, and killing endured by Africa Americans throughout U.S. history, culminating with the murder of George Floyd, Kadir Nelson produced an homage to childhood summer...
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Kadir Nelson's New Yorker Cover is a Monument to George Floyd and Reminder of Long History of Violence Against Black People in America

Kadir Nelson’s New Yorker Cover is a Monument to George Floyd and Reminder of Long History of Violence Against Black People in America

  THE BANNER FLAG HANGING outside a window at the NAACP’s Fifth Avenue headquarters in New York City declaring “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday.” Emmett Till’s big bright eyes and round smiling face before he was lynched and found dead in a river in Money, Miss., at age 14. The textured scars on the back...
CBS News Marks Flag Day with Report on Black National Anthem, Coverage Follows Earlier Features on Black Art and Artists

CBS News Marks Flag Day with Report on Black National Anthem, Coverage Follows Earlier Features on Black Art and Artists

CBS Sunday Morning reports on “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”   TODAY IS FLAG DAY. CBS News marked the occasion with a report about “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” The James Weldon Johnson poem was set to music in 1899 by Johnson’s younger brother, the composer John Rosamond Johnson. Known as the Black National Anthem,...
Floaters: Series of Leisurely Pool Images by Derrick Adams is About Black Radical Joy

Floaters: Series of Leisurely Pool Images by Derrick Adams is About Black Radical Joy

    CENTERED ON JOY AND LEISURE, “Derrick Adams: Buoyant” may seem out of step with the moment. Two months of quarantine and social distancing borne of a global pandemic dovetailed with a new wave of black people murdered by police. Then a multiracial, intergenerational protest movement sprouted in response, calling for racial justice, police...
Ronald Ollie, 69, a Major Collector of African American Abstract Art Who Gifted 81 Works to Saint Louis Art Museum, Has Died

Ronald Ollie, 69, a Major Collector of African American Abstract Art Who Gifted 81 Works to Saint Louis Art Museum, Has Died

Collector Ronald Ollie (1951-2020)   AN AVID COLLECTOR of African American art and generous museum patron, Ronald Ollie (1951-2020) has died. He passed away at his home in Newark, N.J., on June 1. He was 69. His wife Monique McRipley Ollie confirmed his death to Culture Type. She told me via email, “I think his...
On View: 'Renaissance: Noir' Curated by Myrtis Bedolla at UTA Artist Space

On View: ‘Renaissance: Noir’ Curated by Myrtis Bedolla at UTA Artist Space

  While museums and galleries are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus, On View will continue to showcase images from noteworthy exhibitions   UTA ARTIST SPACE in Los Angeles is presenting a virtual exhibition curated by Myrtis Bedolla, founder of Galerie Myrtis, a black-owned art gallery in Baltimore. A selection of largely figurative works...
Books on Race and Racism are Dominating Bestseller Lists and 'How to Be an Antiracist' by Ibram X. Kendi is Near the Top

Books on Race and Racism are Dominating Bestseller Lists and ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi is Near the Top

  A MUST READ FOR THE MOMENT, historian Ibram X. Kendi published “How to Be an Antiracist” last summer. Jeffrey C. Stewart, a museum veteran and biographer of Alain Locke, reviewed the volume for The New York Times. Stewart called it a “stunner of a book” and a “manual of racial ethics.” “How to Be...
Powerful Perspective: These Black Female Photographers are Documenting the Protests Against Police Killings and Racial Injustice

Powerful Perspective: These Black Female Photographers are Documenting the Protests Against Police Killings and Racial Injustice

  FOR MORE THAN A DOZEN DAYS NOW, people have been marching—flooding the streets, declaring “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” on signs and t-shirts, and raising their voices demanding change. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and countless others, protestors are...
Painter Titus Kaphar Focuses on a Black Mother's Loss for Time Magazine Cover About Police Killings and American Uprising

Painter Titus Kaphar Focuses on a Black Mother’s Loss for Time Magazine Cover About Police Killings and American Uprising

  REPRESENTING THE SORROW of generations, Titus Kaphar painted a black mother for the cover of Time magazine. Her eyes are closed in anguish. She holds her young son, but he is not there. The artist has cut the child from the canvas. All that remains is an empty silhouette. “In her expression, I see...
For Her First Solo Exhibition, Sydney Vernon Brings New Life and Meaning to Moments Captured in Treasured Family Photographs

For Her First Solo Exhibition, Sydney Vernon Brings New Life and Meaning to Moments Captured in Treasured Family Photographs

  PATTERNED BLUE WALLPAPER defines the room. Standing in profile in front of a mirrored vanity table, an expectant mother turns her head toward the viewer. She smiles and proudly rests her hand on her growing belly. Documenting the moment, the mirror reflects her image. Other works depict a little girl standing mischievously in a...
Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch: 'Protest is the Highest Form of Patriotism, You Are Trying to Make a Country Better'

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch: ‘Protest is the Highest Form of Patriotism, You Are Trying to Make a Country Better’

  THIS IS NOT NEW, unfortunately. America has been killing black people in one form or another since the nation’s founding. From lynching to murder by police, the history is well-documented and contextualized in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), most poignantly with the display of Emmett Till’s casket. Till was...
AfriCOBRA Artists Honored at School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2020 Virtual Commencement, Offer Advice to Graduates

AfriCOBRA Artists Honored at School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2020 Virtual Commencement, Offer Advice to Graduates

AfriCOBRA artists Jae Jarrell and Wadsworth Jarrell   After years of hard work and dedication to their crafts and curriculums, 2020 graduates are unable to experience the joy and satisfaction of gathering for ceremonies celebrating their accomplishments, due to widespread social distancing mandates in the wake of COVID-19. In-person commencements have been replaced with virtual...
Feature Film About Florida Highwaymen Painters is Coming Soon

Feature Film About Florida Highwaymen Painters is Coming Soon

  THE DRAMATIC TRUE STORY of the Highwaymen, the Florida artists who made a living selling paintings from the trunks of their cars during segregation, is being made into a feature film. “The Highwaymen” is about a group of 26 African American artists, most of them self-taught, who turned out countless paintings of Florida’s lush,...
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...