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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.

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...
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...
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Photograph From Kitchen Table Series by Carrie Mae Weems Sets New Artist Record at Phillips Auction

Photograph From Kitchen Table Series by Carrie Mae Weems Sets New Artist Record at Phillips Auction

  A PHOTOGRAPH from Kitchen Table Series, the seminal body of work Carrie Mae Weems created in 1990, set a new artist record today. “Untitled (man smoking) from Kitchen Table Series” sold for $70,000 (including fees). The price was about twice the estimate of $25,000-$35,000. The record was set May 7 during “Artist | Icon...
58th Venice Biennale: After Co-Organizing 'Soul of a Nation,' Zoé Whitley Was Tapped to Curate the British Pavilion

58th Venice Biennale: After Co-Organizing ‘Soul of a Nation,’ Zoé Whitley Was Tapped to Curate the British Pavilion

Curator Zoé Whitley   THE BRITISH PAVILION at the 58th Venice Biennale features a new body of work by Irish artist Cathy Wilkes. Conceptual and figurative sculptures, a spare selection of household objects, and abstracted landscape paintings are installed in a series of six pristine galleries flooded with natural light. She’s created narrative moments and...
58th Venice Biennale: Arthur Jafa Wins Golden Lion Award, Top Artist Prize

58th Venice Biennale: Arthur Jafa Wins Golden Lion Award, Top Artist Prize

Arthur Jafa accepts 2019 Golden Lion in Venice.   AN INTERNATIONAL JURY awarded the top artist prize at the 58th Venice Biennale to Arthur Jafa. The American artist and filmmaker won the Golden Lion recognizing the best participant in “May You Live in Interesting Times,” the international exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff. Jafa was honored...
Latest News in African American Art: Camille Billops (1933-2019), Joe Overstreet (1933-2019)

Latest News in African American Art: Camille Billops (1933-2019), Joe Overstreet (1933-2019)

Camille Billops (1933-2019), Joe Overstreet (1933-2019)   The following review presents a snapshot of the latest news in African American art and related black culture:   TWO LEGENDARY New York City artists have died. Painter Joe Overstreet passed away yesterday. He co-founded Kenkeleba House, a Lower East Side artist space in 1974. Meanwhile, Camille Billops, a singular figure...
Leah Chase, Pioneering Creole Chef and Passionate Art Collector, Has Died at 96

Leah Chase, Pioneering Creole Chef and Passionate Art Collector, Has Died at 96

Chef Leah Chase (1923-2019)   THE COLLECTION of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., includes portraits of America’s most iconic figures—legends of culture, politics, and history. When the most prominent among these national treasures dies, the Smithsonian museum recognizes their life and legacy by displaying their portrait in a designated In Memoriam space on...
Latest News in African American Art: Museum Staffers are Publicizing Their Salaries, Racial Profiling at MFA Boston, New Archibald Motley Painting at DIA, and More

Latest News in African American Art: Museum Staffers are Publicizing Their Salaries, Racial Profiling at MFA Boston, New Archibald Motley Painting at DIA, and More

“Café​, Paris” (1929) by Archibald J. Motley Jr., at DIA   The following review of the past week or so presents a snapshot of the latest news in African American art and related black culture:   Museum Staffers are Sharing Their Salaries on a Google Spreadsheet Employees of museums across the country are publicizing their...
Six Decades of Color: First Major Retrospective of Frank Bowling Opens at Tate Britain in London

Six Decades of Color: First Major Retrospective of Frank Bowling Opens at Tate Britain in London

    FROM ONE DECADE TO THE NEXT, one can never guess where Frank Bowling will take his painting. Where ever he goes, somehow it always looks like Bowling. Whether he is sewing silkscreen images of his mother’s house to canvases, stenciling silhouettes of Africa and South America against fields of color, or relying on...
Lanka Tattersall Joins MoMA as Curator in the Drawings and Prints Department

Lanka Tattersall Joins MoMA as Curator in the Drawings and Prints Department

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MoMA) in New York is welcoming a new curator. Earlier this month, Lanka Tattersall was named curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints. The appointment marks a return to MoMA. Tattersall served previously as a curatorial assistant in the museum’s Department of Painting and Sculpture for four years (2010-14)....
Lonnie Bunch is Taking Over the Smithsonian Institution. Named Secretary, He Will Lead 19 Museums and National Zoo

Lonnie Bunch is Taking Over the Smithsonian Institution. Named Secretary, He Will Lead 19 Museums and National Zoo

Smithsonian Secretary-elect Lonnie G. Bunch III   THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION’S Board of Regents launched a search for a new leader in December and found the ideal candidate was already in its midst. This morning, the Smithsonian announced the election of Lonnie G. Bunch III, who will serve as the 14th Secretary. Bunch is the founding...
Nari Ward in New York: The Artist's First Museum Survey in the City Showcases His Reinvention of Local Found Materials

Nari Ward in New York: The Artist’s First Museum Survey in the City Showcases His Reinvention of Local Found Materials

  EMPLOYING CARPETS left behind by the previous occupant of his Harlem studio, Nari Ward made an angel. He reinvented the carpets, cutting them down and forming tightly rolled segments, combining them with found plastic bags, plastic bottles, springs, wood screws, and rope, to create an airy, open-weave structure. He named the work “Carpet Angel.”...
Whitney Museum's 'Spilling Over' Exhibition Celebrates Color and Calls to Mind an Earlier Moment in Art History

Whitney Museum’s ‘Spilling Over’ Exhibition Celebrates Color and Calls to Mind an Earlier Moment in Art History

  INSTALLED ON THE EIGHTH FLOOR of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, a group exhibition celebrates color. “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s” considers the technical, formal, and substantive possibilities of painting with bold, neon, and saturated hues. Drawing exclusively on the Whitney Museum’s collection, the show brings together 18...
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...
On View: 'Denzil Forrester: A Survey' at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

On View: ‘Denzil Forrester: A Survey’ at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

  On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions THE PULSATING RHYTHMS and dynamic energy of London’s reggae and dub nightclub scene in the early 1980s are palpable in the work of Denzil Forrester. His large-scale paintings are characterized by “vivid color, gestural brushstrokes, and frenetic compositions.” Spanning the four decades (1978-2019), new and historic works...
Coming Soon: 'The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement' at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Coming Soon: ‘The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement’ at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

  THE TITLE OF A FORTHCOMING exhibition at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., is derived from Isabel Wilkerson’s critically acclaimed book “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” The volume documents the migration of African Americans in the United States from the Jim Crow South to the industrial North...