By Victoria L. Valentine
ONCE RELEGATED TO THE MARGINS, artists of African descent continued to migrate toward the center of the art world in 2019, claiming space on just about every front as the decade came to a close. Black contemporary artists won many of the year’s most prestigious and lucrative international art prizes. They shared their work and broadened their audiences by engaging in thoughtful public dialogues, publishing books, and staging exhibitions.
Martin Puryear represented the United States at the Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition in the American Pavilion. Carrie Mae Weems dominated the CONTACT Photography Festival presenting five projects around Toronto. Mark Bradford mounted a sprawling museum survey in China. Coming into her own at 93, Betye Saar opened fall solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York. Historic artists were also the subjects of shows.
Making grand statements in New York’s public spaces, black artists installed works on The High Line, in Times Square, and in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and secured forthcoming commissions in Central Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. An international slate of young fashion photographers gained notice. Ghana-born, Vienna-based figurative painter Amoako Boafo was a rising art star to watch, a role that came complete with an exhibition at Roberts Project in Los Angeles, a Rubell Museum residency in Miami, and art fair presentations with Mariane Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, numerous auction records were set in 2019 and African American artists with highly praised practices joined the world’s top galleries: Nathaniel Mary Quinn went to Gagosian; Glenn Ligon and Ed Clark signed up with Hauser & Wirth; and Pace added Sam Gilliam to its roster. The following review presents highlights of the year in black art—key exhibitions, awards, appointments, news, and more:
FILM | Visual artist Rashid Johnson makes directorial debut with “Native Son,” a feature film based on Richard Wright’s 1940 novel. HBO acquires film Jan. 24. Deal is struck ahead of film’s premiere at Sundance Film Festival. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wrote screenplay. Ashton Sanders of “Moonlight” plays lead role of Bigger Thomas. Film begins airing on HBO April 6. | Video by HBO
LIVES | Jan. 3: Joe Casely-Hayford, OBE one of first black British fashion designers to win international acclaim, dies at age 62. His designs “fused sharp Savile Row-honed tailoring with a quirky East End streetwear sensibility.” Tribute published in The Root notes designer hailed from family that thrived in realm of arts and culture. British painter Chris Ofili remembers Casely-Hayford in article for The Guardian.
EXHIBITIONS | Jan. 8: “Charles White: Monumental Practice,” rare selling exhibition of works by Charles White opens at David Zwirner in New York. On view through Feb. 16, show is centered around four eight-foot-tall drawings, studies for Mary McLeod Bethune mural White completed in 1978 for Los Angeles public library. | Photo © Charles White Archive. Courtesy David Zwirner
PUBLIC ART | Jan. 10: Artist Rico Gatson unveils eight mosaic portraits commissioned by MTA Arts & Design for 167th Street subway station in Bronx, N.Y. Installations feature African American and Latino cultural and political figures with connections to borough, including James Baldwin, Gil Scott-Heron, Maya Angelou, Audrey Lorde, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
EXHIBITIONS | Studio Museum in Harlem launches tour of more than 100 works from permanent collection at Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco. Traveling to five additional venues, “Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem” is curated by Connie H. Choi and features nearly 80 artists, including Mark Bradford, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Glenn Ligon, Derrick Adams, Terry Adkins, Dawoud Bey, Jordan Casteel, Elizabeth Catlett, Noah Davis, David Hammons, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Chris Ofili, Mickalene Thomas, Bob Thompson, Alma Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Whitten, Fred Wilson, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. More
NEWS | Jan. 15: American Alliance of Museums (AAM) announces Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion, new three-year, $4 million project designed to diversify museum boards and leadership. AAM data shows 46 percent of museum boards are all white, and just 5.2 percent of board members are African American. Facing Change is funded by grants from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation.
FASHION | Jan. 16: British fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner presents “Grace Wales Bonner:A Time for New Dreams” at Serpentine Galleries in London. Exhibition concludes with staging of her Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, Mumbo Jumbo (Feb. 17).
AWARDS & HONORS | Jan 17: College Art Association (CAA) names winners of 2019 Awards for Distinction. Howardena Pindell receives Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement and artist Senga Nengudi is recognized with Distinguished Feminist Award – Visual Art. Christophe Cherix, chief curator of drawings and prints at the Museum of Modern Art, is among finalists for Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for catalogs (“Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions 1965–2016”). Finalists for Barr Award for smaller institutions includes Mark Sloan, director and chief curator at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at College of Charleston, for “Fahamu Pecou: Visible Man.” Awards given at February CAA conference.
AWARDS & HONORS | Jan. 22: Seattle Art Museum announces assemblage artist Aaron Fowler (left) is recipient of 2019 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize, which includes $10,000 and solo exhibition at museum (“Aaron Fowler: Into Existence,” Dec. 13, 2019-June 28, 2020). | Photo courtesy the artist
PUBLIC ART | Jan. 22-March 3: During the 2019 Winter Season, as part of Art Series, New York City Ballet (NYCB) commissions artist Shantell Martin to install her signature black-and-white drawings on promenade and in lobby areas of David H. Koch Theater where NYCB performs.
EXHIBITIONS | Jan. 22, 2019-Feb. 4, 2020: To address historic underrepresentation of women artists on walls of Gracie Mansion, Chirlane McCray, first lady of New York City, organizes all-female exhibition at mayor’s residence. Curated by Jessica Bell Brown, “She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York” features 44 artists with significant ties to city, including Jordan Casteel, Simone Leigh, Lorraine O’Grady, Faith Ringgold, and Kara Walker. More
AWARDS & HONORS | Jan. 22: United States Artists announces 2019 fellows, 45 winners of $50,000 unrestricted awards, including visual artists Juliana Huxtable, Simone Leigh, and Firelei Báez (at right), along with ceramicist Samuel Harvey. | Photo by Jorge Alberto, Courtesy United States Artists
REPORTS | Jan. 28: After publishing Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2015, a groundbreaking account assessing museum diversity, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation follows up with Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018, finding uneven, but meaningful progress. Opportunities for African American curators are improving, while change in leadership positions remains a challenge.
AWARDS & HONORS | Jan. 29: New York Foundation for the Art (NYFA) announces three new inductees into NYFA Hall of Fame, including artist Sanford Biggers. Inductees are celebrated at annual benefit April 11.
NEWS | Jan. 30: Angola announces it won’t be participating in the 2019 Venice Biennale, citing budget constraints while affirming its commitment to being represented at international cultural events. In 2013, Angola participated in the biennale for the first time and the nation’s pavilion won the Golden Lion, the international exhibition’s highest award.
AWARDS & HONORS | Ghana-born, Vienna, Austria-based Amoako Boafo (above) makes portraits that celebrate blackness. After recommendation from Kehinde Wiley, up-and-coming artist begins 2019 with “I See Me,” a solo exhibition at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles and has whirlwind year of international recognition. In Vienna, Boafo receives STRABAG Artaward International in June (winning about $17,000) and his related solo show opens in October at STRABAG Haus. Over summer, Boafo is featured in group exhibitions—“Punch” curated by Nina Chanel Abney at Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles and another at Luce Gallery in Torino, Italy. In September, newly based in Chicago, Mariane Ibrahim gallery presents his work at EXPO Chicago. In November, Boafo is named first artist-in-residence at Rubell Museum’s new location in Miami. During Miami Art Week (Dec. 2-8), his work is on view at Rubell Museum, at Art Basel Miami Beach in solo show presented by Mariane Ibrahim, and City of Miami Beach acquires a paintings for public art collection. | Photo by Eva Kelety, Courtesy STRABAG Kunstforum
NEWS | Feb. 2: British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye calls need for black British museum “long overdue.” Adjaye has designed many cultural institutions around the world, including Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and Studio Museum in Harlem’s forthcoming new building.
EXHIBITION | Feb. 2: “Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze,” Jordan Casteel‘s first major museum exhibition, opens at the Denver Art Museum, her hometown museum.
AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 4: High Museum of Art announces 2019 David C. Driskell Prize goes to Huey Copeland, professor of art history at Northwestern University and author of “Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America.” Prize includes $25,000 cash award given at celebratory dinner at museum on April 26.
MAGAZINES | Feb. 7: Ava DuVernay guest edits special “Art of Optimism” issue of Time magazine. She titles introduction to project “Why Art is the Antidote for Our Times” and features many creatives, South African artist Nelson Makamo (cover image), Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh, and American photographer Clay Benskin, among them.
NEWS | Feb. 7: Studio Museum in Harlem announces multiyear partnership with Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1. Described as “wide-ranging collaboration” that includes exhibitions and programming, first project is presentation of Studio Museum’s 2018-19 artist-in-residence exhibition at MoMA PS1.
AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 7: International Center of Photography (ICP) announces 2019 Affinity Awards. Juried prizes go to photographer Dawoud Bey (Art) and Zadie Smith (Critical Writing and Research), for essay on Deana Lawson, which appeared in The New Yorker and artist’s monograph published by Aperture. Annual awards are given out April 2 at ICP fundraising gala in New York City.
AWARDS & HONORS | Feb. 12: Gordon Parks Foundation selects Guadalupe Rosales and Hank Willis Thomas as 2019 fellows. Opportunity includes $20,000 to support new or ongoing project realized as exhibition at foundation in Pleasantville, N.Y. Their shows “Must’ve Been A Wake-Dream:Guadalupe Rosales” and “Exodusters: Hank Willis Thomas” open fall 2019.
MEDIA | Feb. 12: Kim Sajet, director of National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., writes in The Atlantic about outsized interest in Obama portraits. She describes clamor to see paintings of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively, as “pilgrimage” effect that has tripled attendance at Smithsonian museum.
LIVES | Feb. 12: Nigerian curator of contemporary African art, Bisi Silva, (1962-2019) dies. She was 56. Founder of Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos, nonprofit gallery and education center, Silva was bold and visionary curator, with international profile and particular expertise in photography.
“Twenty, 25 years ago, curators of contemporary art might have been completely and totally scared of going to ‘the Dark Continent.’ Now it’s like, ‘Oh, Bisi, I want to go to Lagos, I want to go to Ghana.’” — Bisi Silva
FORUMS | Feb. 13-16: In New York, College Art Association (CAA) annual conference includes keynote address by Baltimore-based bead artist Joyce C. Scott and artist interview with New York artist Julie Mehretu, who works in abstraction. Howardena Pindell and Senga Nengudi are among those who receive Awards for Distinction at gathering.
NEWS | Feb. 14: Prada seeks counsel from artist Theaster Gates after public outcry over “Pradamalia” charms featuring monkeys with big red lips. Prada removes racist products from stores and website and forms Diversity and Inclusion Council co-chaired by Gates and filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
NEWS | Feb. 15: ARTnews reports after seven years in Seattle, Mariane Ibrahim is moving eponymous gallery to Chicago. She focuses on contemporary art with roster of emerging artists primarily from Africa and wider diaspora. Gallery re-opens in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood Sept. 20 with solo exhibition of Ayana V. Jackson.
ART FAIRS | Feb. 15-17: Inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles staged at Paramount Studios. Hamza Walker, executive director of Laxart, curates series of talks and music initiatives, including Name That Tune programming with artists Arthur Jafa and Lauren Halsey. Artists Kori Newkirk and Karon Davis (right), co-founder of Underground Museum, participate in Frieze Projects. Naima Keith of California African American Museum (CAAM), and Kristin Sakoda of Los Angeles County Arts Commission, are among those participating in panel discussions during fair. Mark Bradford creates a poster for fair featuring “Life-Size” artwork offered as limited edition benefitting Art for Justice Fund, which focuses on ending mass incarceration. Commissioned for Frieze x Gucci ‘Second Summer of Love’ series, “Black to Techno” Jenn Nkiru’s film about Detroit and Berlin techno, debuts. | Shown, KARON DAVIS, “Cat’s Cradle,” 2019 | Photo by Mark Blower, Courtesy Frieze
FORUMS | Feb. 17: In collaboration with Studio Museum in Harlem, Park Avenue Armory hosts “Culture in a Changing America,” daylong series of interdisciplinary conversations along two tracks (Art & Identity and Art & Activism) featuring Thelma Golden, Julie Mehretu, LeRonn P. Brooks, Leslie Hewitt, Malik Gaines, Mabel O. Wilson, Amanda Williams, Walter Hood, Lynn Nottage, and Bill T. Jones, among many others.
NEWS | Feb. 21: For her senior thesis project at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, photography student Deyane Moses presents “Blackives,” exhibition documenting school’s white’s only admission policy dating from late 1800s to 1950s. MICA president issues statement acknowledging school’s racist past.
APPOINTMENTS | Feb. 25: Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York adds three new board members: A.C. Hudgins, high-profile collector of African American art and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) trustee; Kellie Jones, author, curator, and professor in art history, archaeology, and Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University; and Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA.
REPRESENTATION | Feb. 26: Vielmetter Los Angeles announces representation of Austin, Texas-based artist Deborah Roberts.
LIVES | International curator and critic Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019), who pushed contemporary art world to broaden its Western orientation, dies March 15, in Munich. He was 55. Enwezor was artistic director of Haus der Kunst in Munich from 2011 to 2018, and also served as artistic director of 56th Venice Biennale (2015), becoming first black curator to organize historic event. He co-curated “El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale,” which opens at Haus der Kunst a week before he dies. | Photo: Venice Biennale
MAGAZINES | A photograph by Los Angeles-based Paul Mpagi Sepuya appears on cover of March 2019 edition of Artforum. Inside, editor-in-chief David Velasco reflects on meeting photographer in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn (where he lived from 2003-14), and asking him to do a single-subject project for magazine. Sepuya suggests his self-portraits. | Cover Image: PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA, Detail of “Darkroom Mirror (_2070386),” 2017
APPOINTMENTS | March 4: Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA at VCU) in Richmond adds new members artist Adam Pendleton and curator Adrienne Edwards to advisory board.
APPOINTMENTS | March 4: In newly created role of chief people officer, Makele Ndessokia will lead human resources division of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.
APPOINTMENTS | March 4: Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa, names Koyo Kouoh executive director and chief curator.
REPORTS | March 4: Mary Louise Schumacher, Arts & Culture Fellow at Harvard University’s Neiman Foundation for Journalism, reports results of survey of 327 visual art writers and critics, asking about “priorities and pressures of their work.” Just 60 percent were willing to disclose their race. Of those, 167 identify as white, and only four as black. Among findings Schumacher publishes in Neiman Reports is selection of “artists that they believed were worthy of championing.” She asked respondents to name three. Names of more than 400 are put forward. Artists that came up most often “tackle thorny, political issues” and are all non-white (listed in no particular order): Kara Walker, Anicka Yi, Kerry James Marshall, Hank Willis Thomas, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Postcommodity (a collective of Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist).
PUBLIC ART | March 4: Artist Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group selected to create Boston memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King. Called “The Embrace,” design features four intertwined arms and hands. It’s 22-feet high rendered in bronze. Team bested four other groups represented by artists Yinka Shonibare, Adam Pendelton, Barbara Chase-Riboud, architect David Adjaye, and landscape architect Walter Hood. King Boston expects to break ground on memorial in July 2020. | Photo: Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group/King Boston
AWARDS & HONORS | March 4: Los Angeles-based artist Lauren Halsey wins 2019 Frieze Artist Award. Recognition includes commission for Frieze New York in May, curated by Courtney J. Martin.
AWARDS & HONORS | March 7: Paris-based Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga wins inaugural Étant donnés Prize at Armory Show in New York. $10,000 award recognizes artist of French nationality or France-based.
AWARDS & HONORS | March 8: Pérez Art Museum Miami announces Los Angeles-based artist Christina Quarles is inaugural recipient of Pérez Prize, new annual $50,000 award funded by Darlene and Jorge M. Pérez through their Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation.
AWARDS & HONORS | March 11: Sharjah Art Foundation in United Arab Emirates announces Nigerian artists Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh are recipients of Sharjah Biennial 14 Prize
NEWS | March 13: Part of Desert X biennial, site-specific, stretched fabric installation by Eric N. Mack mysteriously disappears from defunct gas station in Coachella Valley, Calif. Incident is believed to be act of vandalism, possibly involving fire.
NEWS | March 19: Artist Kehinde Wiley announces Black Rock Senegal, his new residency program. Two months later, he celebrates opening of artist-in-residence program at newly built waterfront compound designed by Senegalese architect Abib Djenne with interiors by Fatiya Djenne and Aissa Dione, where artists will live and work. In July, Wiley selects inaugural group, 16 artists including Sonya Clark, Nona Faustine, Devin B. Johnson, Heather Jones, Kambui Olujimi, and Zohra Opoku. | Photo by Mamadou Gomis, © Kehinde Wiley
BIENNIALS | March 19: Prospect.5 co-curators Naima Keith and Diana Nawi announce eight-member director’s council. Tapped as collaborators on curatorial planning and programming for the New Orleans triennial, members are curators and arts leaders from around country: Rita Gonzalez (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Deana Haggag (United States Artists), Gia Hamilton (New Orleans African American Museum), Eungie Joo (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Thomas J. Lax (Museum of Modern Art), Courtney J. Martin (Dia Art Foundation), Valerie Cassel Oliver (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts), and Franklin Sirmans (Pérez Art Museum Miami). Prospect. 5 opens to public Oct. 24, 2020.
NEWS | March 20: Tamara Lanier of Norwich, Conn., files a lawsuit against Harvard University, accusing institution of profiting from two photos of slaves, 1850 daguerreotypes that depict her ancestors.
EXHIBITIONS | March 25: Previously unknown photograph of Harriet Tubman goes on public display for first time at Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
EXHIBITIONS | March 26: De Young Museum announces landmark exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” is traveling to San Francisco.
BIENNIALS | Co-curated by Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta, 2019 Whitney Biennial opens May 17 and runs through Oct. 27. Touted as most diverse biennial in museum’s history, about 55 percent of 75 artists are black, including Janiva Ellis (above, “Uh Oh, Look Who Got Wet,” 2019), John Edmonds,Brendan Fernandes, Tomashi Jackson, Steffani Jemison, Autumn Knight, Simone Leigh, Joe Minter, Wangechi Mutu, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Jennifer Packer, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Martine Syms. Tiona Nekkia McClodden wins 2019 Bucksbaum Award. Show’s tenure is clouded by sustained series of protests and complaints aimed at Warren B. Kanders, museum’s vice chair who eventually announced his resignation July 25. | Photo by Ron Amstutz, Courtesy Whitney Museum
REPRESENTATION | April 4: Gagosian gallery announces representation of Nathaniel Mary Quinn. The Brooklyn-based artist is recognized for his composite portraits.
AWARDS & HONORS | April 4: Author and journalist Wil Haygood receives fourth James A. Porter & David C. Driskell Book Award for “I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” at Driskell C. Driskell Center at University of Maryland, College Park, and delivers 2019 Distinguished Annual Lecture in Visual Arts.
REPRESENTATION | April 5: Glenn Ligon, New York-based artist known for text-based paintings, joins Hauser & Wirth gallery.
PUBLIC ART | April 8: Throughout year, Theaster Gates opens several exhibitions and engages in inordinate amount of activities and projects, among them, he installs two artworks composed of de-commissioned fire hoses in Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line 95th Street Station. He also contributes DJ booth (performance space/radio station) to site, adding live music intervention to Chicagoans daily commute. | Photo: via @MayorRahm
APPOINTMENTS | April 10: Yale Center for British Art hires Courtney J. Martin as director. She joins center in July. Martin, who earned her Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, is serving as deputy director and chief curator at Dia Art Foundation when announcement is made.
EXHIBITIONS | April 11: “Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite” opens at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Exhibition is first major museum show dedicated to Kwame Braithwaite, a “key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance.”
APPOINTMENTS | April 11: American Federation of Arts appoints two new members to board of trustees, including Belinda A. Tate, executive director of Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan.
EXHIBITIONS | April 14: “Oliver Lee Jackson: Recent Paintings” opens at National Gallery of Art. Oakland, Calif.-based Oliver Lee Jackson is focus of rare solo exhibition by a black artist at Washington, D.C., museum. | OLIVER LEE JACKSON, “No. 7,” 2017. | Photo M. Lee Fatherree
NEWS | April 16: For limited time, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden gets her own ice cream flavor at Sugar Hill Creamer in Harlem. Golden Chai features chai tea from Serengeti Teas & Spices, also in Harlem.
AWARDS & HONORS | April 17: American Academy of Arts & Sciences announces new 2019 members including artist Mark Bradford, scholar/curator Kellie Jones, and Elizabeth Alexander, a poet/scholar who serves as president of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an ardent supporter of arts and culture.
EXHIBITIONS | April 19: Simone Leigh‘s solo exhibition, “The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat,” opens at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
LIVES | April 20: Abstract artist Mavis Iona Pusey (1928-2019) dies in Falmouth, Va. She was 90. Two months later, Arts Students League, where Pusey studied, mounts her first major solo exhibition in New York: “In Memoriam: Mavis Iona Pusey, 1928–2019.” Hallie Ringle, curator of contemporary art at Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, is organizing retrospective and monograph of Jamaican-born Pusey, in collaboration with Studio Museum in Harlem. Ringle wrote brief obituary of artist for Burnaway. More
APPOINTMENTS | April 22: Valerie Gay is named deputy director for audience engagement and chief experience officer at Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. She previously served as executive director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia.
PUBLIC ART | April 23: Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous selected to design new monument honoring Shirley Chisholm. Titled “Our Destiny, Our Democracy,” 40-foot tall steel work will be installed at southeast corner of Prospect Park by end of 2020. Under NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, inaugural commission for She Built NYC is also first monument in Brooklyn dedicated to female historic figure. Artists chosen from among four other finalists: Tanda Francis, LaVaughn Belle, Mickalene Thomas, and Firelei Báez.
AWARDS & HONORS | April 25: Open Society Foundations announces winners of 2019 Soros Arts Fellowships, including Firelei Baez, Kaneza Schaal, and Tinashe Mushakavanhu and Nontsikelelo Mutiti. Eleven artists, curators, researchers, and filmmakers “working at the intersection of migration, public space, and the arts” receive $80,000 stipends to fund nine individual and collaborative projects.
EXHIBITIONS | April 26: Harvard University’s Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art at the Hutchins Center presents “Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection,” with Maurice Berger serving as consulting curator. Owned by Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys, the works are from largest privately held collection of photographs by Gordon Parks and include Segregation series, and images of 1963 March on Washington, Harlem, Rio de Janeiro, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, fashion portraits, and collaboration with Ralph Ellison.
EXHIBITIONS | April 30: Paying tribute to pivotal gallery founded by Linda Goode Bryant, Museum of Modern Art in New York announces plans to present “Just Above Midtown 1974 to the Present.” Curated by Thomas J. Lax, exhibition is scheduled to open fall 2022.
BIENNIALS | 58th Venice Biennale opens May 11 and runs through Nov. 24, with Martin Puryear representing United States with solo exhibition (“Liberty Libertá”) in American Pavilion (above). Thirteen black artists are included in international exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff in Central Pavilion. American artist Arthur Jafa wins Golden Lion, with Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga receiving special mention. Jury includes Hamza Walker, director of Laxart in Los Angeles. Zoé Whitley curates British Pavilion presenting works by Irish artist Cathy Wilkes. Eight African countries stage national pavilions, and a few other nations present African perspectives. British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye designs Ghana’s inaugural pavilion. Titled “Ghana Freedom,” filmmaker Nana Oforiatta Ayim serves as curator. African Art in Venice Forum (May 7-9) is chaired by curator Osei Bonsu. In addition, curator Jeffreen M. Hayes organizes “AFRICOBRA: Nation Time.” Exhibition is official Venice Biennale collateral event. | Photo Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy
MAGAZINES | May 2019: Out magazine publishes Art issue. Guest edited by writer/curator Kimberly Drew, South African photographer Zanele Muholi is featured on one of two covers. Inside, collector Bernard Lumpkin, and artists Devin Morris, Rakeem Cunningham, Mickalene Thomas, and her partner Racquel Chevremont, are featured.
FESTIVAL | May 1-31: Taking place throughout greater Toronto, annual Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival opens. Among the many artists represented in the global event, New York-based Carrie Mae Weems is lead participant, mounting her first solo presentation in Canada, in five parts—exhibitions at University of Toronto’s art museum, CONTACT Gallery, and three outdoor installations. | Installation view of CARRIE MAE WEEMS, “Slow Fade to Black,” 2010, Metro Hall, King St. W. at John St., Toronto (April 23–June 4, 2019). | Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid, Courtesy Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the artist, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY.
ART FAIRS | May 2-5: At Frieze New York, Pérez Art Museum Miami Director Franklin Sirmans collaborates with Linda Goode Bryant on a themed section of gallery booths paying tribute to Just Above Midtown Gallery. Art fair’s Booth Prize winner is Jenkins Johnson Gallery recognizing solo exhibition of photographer Ming Smith and Frame Prize goes to Company gallery, for display of Jonatan Lyndon Chase paintings.
ART FAIRS | May 3-5: After four years in Brooklyn, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair moves New York edition to Manhattan, at Industria in West Village.
EXHIBITIONS | May 8: Curated by Bridget R. Cooks, “Ernie Barnes: A Retrospective,” opens at California African American Museum in Los Angeles, featuring more than 50 works made by Ernie Barnes between 1962 and 2007.
PUBLIC ART | May 13-18: During mural festival at Maya Angelou Community High School, more than two dozen artists, including Victoria Cassinova, Shepard Fairey, Rob Hill, Shawn Michael Warren, and French artist JR, paint monumental tributes to legendary poet for whom South Los Angeles school is named. More
APPOINTMENTS | May 22: Laxart, nonprofit art space in Los Angeles, names five new board members, including artist Glenn Ligon.
APPOINTMENTS | May 23: Smithsonian names Melanie A. Adams director of Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C. Adams previously served as deputy director for learning initiatives at Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.
NEWS | May 24: After report that seventh grade students from Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy were harassed and racially profiled during field trip to Museum of Fine Arts Boston, museum releases details of investigation into accusations and announces new website aimed at making MFA Boston a “safe space” for everyone.
APPOINTMENTS | May 28: Curator, scholar, and veteran museum director Spencer Crew is named interim director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, in wake of Lonnie G. Bunch III’s appointment as secretary of Smithsonian Institution.
TALKS | Brooklyn Museum hosts Breaking the Canon, rapid-fire talks with artists Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Eric N. Mack, and Linda Goode Bryant in conversation with curators Eugenie Tsai, Ashley James, and Catherine Morris, respectively.
EXHIBITIONS | May 31: First major retrospective of Guyana-born, British artist Frank Bowling opens at Tate Britain. Known for pushing possibilities of paint, he is recognized for his Map Paintings and Poured Paintings.
AWARDS & HONORS | May 31: Authored by Denise Murrell, “Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today” wins 2019 Exhibition Catalogue Award from Dedalus Foundation.
EXHIBITIONS | Opening May 18, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles presents solo exhibition featuring all new work by David Hammons, including tent city in courtyard of gallery (above), which is not too far from city’s skid row and growing homeless population. Hammons dedicates show to jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Hauser & Wirth describes as artist’s first solo exhibition in city in 45 years and largest to date. | Photo by Fredrik Nilsen Studio, © David Hammons
EXHIBITIONS | June 1: London-based, British artist Claudette Johnson is known for her figuration. “Claudette Johnson: I Came to Dance” opens at Modern Art Oxford in UK. Her first institutional solo show since 1990 surveys work from the 1980s to present.
“I do believe that the fiction of ‘blackness’ that is the legacy of colonialism, can be interrupted by an encounter with the stories that we have to tell about ourselves. I’m interested in our humanity, our feelings and our politics; some things which have been neglected.” — Claudette Johnson
LIVES | June 1: New York-based Camille Billops (1933-2019), singular figure recognized as print maker, filmmaker, and archivist, dies at age 85. With her husband and longtime collaborator, she established Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives at Emory University in Atlanta. Extensive research collection contains materials on African American visual and performing arts gathered over 40 years. Shortly before her death, lengthy profile explored her relationship with her estranged daughter and documentary film she made about it. More | Photo © 1991 Ruth Williamson
PUBLIC ART | June 3: Nari Ward‘s “City in the Grass” is unveiled at Madison Square Park. Installation is artist’s first public art work.
LIVES | June 4: New York painter Joe Overstreet (1933-2019) dies at age 85. An artist and activist, he co-founded Kenkeleba House in 1974. Lower East Side artist space provides exhibition opportunities for artists of color. Recent exhibitions surveyed his abstract works over years, including 1970s “Flight Pattern” paintings on un-stretched canvases, and other series experimenting with paint applications, shaped canvases, and various ways of hanging and supporting his work. More
NEWS | June 4: Gordon Parks Foundation annual gala brings music legends together to commemorates Great Day in Hip-Hop photograph captured by Gordon Parks in 1998 for XXL magazine. Image paid tribute to 1958 Art Kane photograph that gathered jazz musicians on same Harlem stoop at 17 East 126th Street. Earlier in year, an exhibition at foundation explored history of event.
EXHIBITIONS | June 5: Presentation of recent works and large-scale painting from 1970s, Howardena Pindell‘s first-ever solo exhibition in UK opens at Victoria Miro gallery in London.
ACQUISITIONS | June 5: Art Gallery Ontario acquires Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs, vast collection of more than 3,500 photographs dating from 1840 to 1940, documenting region and its people following abolishment of slavery.
EXHIBITIONS | June 6: Faith Ringgold’s first solo exhibition at European Institution opens at Serpentine Galleries in London.
EXHIBITIONS | June 9: Featuring artists Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self, and Sable Elyse Smith, “MOOD: Studio Museum Artists in Residence 2018–19” opens at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, N.Y. On view through Sept. 8, the showing marks the first time Studio Museum in Harlem has presented an artist-in-residence exhibition outside the museum.
EXHIBITIONS | June 12: Curated by Zak Ové “Get Up, Stand Up Now” at Somerset House in London brings together intergeneration slate of more than 100 black British artists.
APPOINTMENTS | June 17: Los Angeles County Museum of Art announces three new members of board of trustee, including Melody Hobson, president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and co-founder of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and Robbie Robinson, partner at Chicago-based merchant bank BDT & Company, who has served as personal advisor to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
EXHIBITIONS | June 21: Organized by guest curator Chaédria LaBouvier, “Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story” opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Exhibition is centered around personal painting Jean-Michel Basquiat made in wake of death of fellow artist Michael Stewart, who was beaten by police. | JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, “Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart),” 1983. | Collection of Nina Clemente, New York
FILMS | June 21: “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” opens. Documentary about Toni Morrison by Timothy Greenfield Sanders features opening montage by Mickalene Thomas and works by 21 other artists are included throughout film, helping to illustrate certain aspects of Nobel Prize-winning author’s life.
EXHIBITIONS | June 25: “Lubain Himid: Work from Underneath,” first U.S. solo museum exhibition of British artist and 2017 Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, opens at New Museum in New York.
ACQUISITIONS | June 25: Museums are swapping paintings by white male artists for works by black artists, filling historic gaps in their collections with works by Norman Lewis (1909-1979), Alma Thomas (1891-1978), Mickalene Thomas, Frank Bowling, and Nick Cave, among others.
EXHIBITIONS | June 28: “Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades” opens at Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga. First career-spanning survey is the most comprehensive presentation to date of painter Suzanne Jackson, who ran Gallery 32 in Los Angeles from 1968-70. | SUZANNE JACKSON, El Paridiso, 1981-1984. | Photo by David Kaminsky, © Suzanne Jackson
LIVES | June 30: Prominent figure in apartheid-era South Africa, artist David Koloane (1938-2019) dies June 30. He was a painter, teacher, and activist. A retrospective of Koloane (“A Resilient Visionary: Poetic Expressions of David Koloane”) is on view at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town for one year through June 1, 2020.
COMMENCEMENTS | Across nation, academic institutions invite artists to address graduates and receive honors. May 4: Photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier gives keynote address and receives honorary doctorate (see video) at Pennsylvania’s Edinboro University, her alma mater. May 13: Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey and British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien receive honorary doctorates at School of the Art Institute of Chicago commencement. May 18: San Francisco Art Institute gives honorary doctorate to artist Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party’s minister of culture. May 19: Ford Foundation President Darren Walker delivers commencement address at University of Vermont. June 1: Equal Justice Initiative Founder Bryan Stevenson is keynote speaker at Rhode Island School of Design commencement; Theaster Gates receives honorary degree. June 21: Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of Smithsonian Institution delivers keynote address at Northwestern University commencement. | Video by Edinboro Now
MEDIA | July 5: Elizabeth Méndez Berry, director at Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Ford Foundation Program Officer Chi-hui Yang, publish op-ed in New York Times calling foul on “Dominance of the White Male Critic.” Even as black art production grows more prominent, in absence of respected black critics, white art critics continue to hold powerful sway on how art is received and evaluated.
LIVES | July 7: Steve Cannon, writer and publisher of literary magazine A Gathering of Tribes, dies at age 84. His Lower East Side townhouse served as gallery and salon welcoming artist, writers and musicians. Annual festival dedicated to jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker was planned there. At its height in 1990s, avant-garde scene included David Hammons, Paul Beatty, Ishmael Reed, and Sun Ra Arkestra. More
GRANTS | July 8: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards University of Maryland, College Park three-year $2 million grant to support African American History, Culture and Digital Humanities initiative.
LIVES | July 9: Philip Freelon, architect-of-record for Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, dies at age 66, due to complications from ALS. In 1990, he founded Freelon Group in Durham, N.C. In 2014, Freelon Group joined Perkins & Will and Freelon served as managing director of expansive firm’s Durham and Charlotte offices. | Screenshot from Perkins & Will video about Freelon’s background and family
APPOINTMENTS | July 10: Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell joins board of Getty Trust in Los Angeles.
APPOINTMENTS | July 11: United Talent Agency announces Arthur Lewis as creative director of UTA Fine Arts and UTA Artist Space, advising visual artists represented by agency and overseeing exhibitions, programming and partnerships through Beverly Hills presentation and event space.
AWARDS & HONORS | July 11: Studio Museum in Harlem names 2019-2020 artists-in-residence: E. Jane, a Philadelphia-based conceptual artist and musician; Naudline Pierre, a Brooklyn painter (right); and Elliot Reed, a performance artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. | NAUDLINE PIERRE, “Lead Me Gently Home,” 2019. | Courtesy the artist
APPOINTMENTS | July 11: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia elects artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, ex-officio member of board of trustees. Los Angeles-based artist is alum of PAFA, where she received post-baccalaureate degree in 2006 before studying for MFA at Yale.
NEWS | July 12: Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, civil rights activist and founder of Baton Rouge African American history Museum, found suffocated to death in trunk of her car behind abandoned house. Four days later, local police arrest her tenant on murder charge.
APPOINTMENTS | July 16: Former news anchor Robyne Robinson is appointed board chair of recently reopened Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul.
PUBLIC ART | July 17: In wake of NAACP opposition, artist Steve Locke cancels plans for public memorial in form of slave auction block at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. Intent of work was to highlight slave trade profits helped fund landmark. More
FILMS | July 17-Oct. 13: Solange partners with 15 museums and theaters in Paris, London, and throughout United States, to present free screenings of film that accompanies her fourth album “When I Get Home.”
ACQUISITIONS | July 24: Led by Ford Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a consortium of four foundations, also including J. Paul Getty Trust and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, acquires Johnson Publishing Company Archive for $30 million, through auction process. Documenting African American experience over past seven decades, archive contains materials related to Ebony and Jet magazines. Collection of more than four million photographic prints and negatives, along with video and music content, is donated to Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and Getty Research Institute. | Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X attend school boycott rally in New York City, March 1964. | Photo: G. Marshall Wilson/Johnson Publishing Company
EXHIBITIONS | July 27: Curated by Diana Nawi, “Mark Bradford: Los Angeles” opens at Long Museum in West Bund, China. Named for Mark Bradford‘s hometown, city where he was born, grew up, educated, and now lives and works, exhibition explores his work over past decade, considering both his collage “paintings” and sculpture.
REPORTS | July 29: New York City Department of Cultural Affairs releases study about workforce demographics at nonprofits that receive city funding. Findings show large and small arts organizations do not reflect communities they serve. Whites represent 32 percent of population and make up 66 percent of arts workforce; by contrast African Americans represent 10 percent of staff and 22 percent of population.
REPRESENTATION | July 29: Groundbreaking, Washington, D.C.-based painter Sam Gilliam joins Pace Gallery, marking first time in six-decade career he is represented in New York.
APPOINTMENTS | July 31: Artist Gary Simmons joins board of directors at Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts in Los Angeles.
TELEVISION | CBS News ramps up coverage of African American artists in 2019, featuring Mark Bradford in a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper (May), Simone Leigh profile on CBS This Morning (April), and report on CBS Sunday Morning (July) about curator Denise Murrell‘s exhibition “Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today,” which includes cameo by artist Mickalene Thomas (see video above, ad runs first). | Video by CBS News
EXHIBITIONS | Aug. 10: “Double Merge,” special site-specific installation of two massive drape paintings by Sam Gilliam goes on long-term view at Dia Beacon in Upstate New York. | SAM GILLIAM, Installation view of “Double Merge,” 1968, Dia, Beacon, N.Y. | © Sam Gilliam/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Photo by Bill Jacobson Studio, New York
AWARDS & HONORS | Aug. 11: Los Angeles conceptual artist Charles Gaines receives 60th MacDowell Medal at public event in Peterborough, N.H.
MAGAZINES | Aug. 14: Coinciding with 400th anniversary of the first ship to arrive on shores of United States carrying enslaved Africans, New York Times Magazine publishes The 1619 Project, sweeping examination that seeks to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” Staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones conceives project, which features contributions by many writers, editors, fact checkers, and artists, including photographer Dannielle Bowman, who shoots cover, Adam Pendleton. Lyle Ashton Harris, Diana Ejaita, Michael Paul Britto, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, J Murff, and Djeneba Aduayom. In addition, objects from collection of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture are employed to explain history of American slavery.
MAGAZINES | Aug. 19: Days after death of Toni Morrison (1931-2019), Kara Walker delivers illustration for cover of The New Yorker magazine dedicated to the celebrated Nobel Prize-winning author (near left).
BOOKS | Aug. 20: Authored by Darby English and Charlotte Barat, “Among Others: Blackness at MoMA” is published. With contributions by Mabel O. Wilson, and many other artists, curators, and scholars, the fully illustrated volume (far left) undertakes the Museum of Modern Art’s complex record with black artists, black audiences, and art about blackness.
MAGAZINES | Aug. 27: Juxtapoz releases fall 2019 issue featuring profile of artist Derrick Adams, with image from his “Floater” series on cover (above center).
LIVES | Aug. 29: Artist Barbara Johnson Zuber (1926-2019) dies in Troy, N.Y. She was 93. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Harlem, she was first African American woman to graduate with BFA degree from Yale University. Her work is represented in collection of Johnson Publishing Company.
AWARDS & HONORS | Aug. 29: Howardena Pindell wins 2019 Artist Award, $25,000 annual prize administered by Artists’ Legacy Foundation.
PUBLIC ART | Monumental public art works by Simone Leigh, Wangechi Mutu, and Kehinde Wiley are installed in New York. Awarded inaugural High Line Plinth commission, Leigh’s towering “Brick House” sculpture (right) is unveiled in June, overlooking 10th Avenue. “The NewOnes, will free Us,” Mutu’s inaugural facade commission (center), opens at Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sept. 9. Later in month, Wiley’s “Rumors of War” is unveiled before crowd of hundreds in Times Square and is on view for two months before being reinstalled permanently in front of Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (left). | Photos: From left, By Travis Fullerton, © VMFA; By Bruce Schwarz, Courtesy The Met; By Timothy Schenck, Courtesy High Line
EXHIBITIONS | Sept. 5: David Zwirner gallery presents “Light Break” and “the sound i saw,” two exhibitions providing comprehensive look at photographic career of Roy DeCarava, curated by art historian Sherry Turner DeCarava, widow of artist. Two publications accompany shows: “Light Break,” a new catalog, and expanded edition of “the sound i saw,” an artist book by DeCarava.
FASHION | Sept. 5: 2019 Vanity Fair Best-Dressed List is released. Fashionable group is probably most diverse ever selected by magazine. Artist Kehinde Wiley and art collector and philanthropist Pamela J. Joyner make list, published in October 2019 issue. Fashion designer/curator Duro Olowu and writer/curator Kimberly Drew are on judging committee.
AWARDS & HONORS | Sept. 6: Architectural Record announces recipients of 2019 Women in Architecture Awards, including Mabel O. Wilson, curator, author, and professor of architecture and African American and African Diasporic studies at Columbia University, honored for her distinguished work as educator.
EXHIBITIONS | Sept. 10: After joining Hauser & Wirth in 2018, Amy Sherald, who is celebrated for her imaginative portraits, opens first exhibition with gallery, “in the heart of the matter…” in New York.
APPOINTMENTS | Sept. 11: Cameron Shaw named deputy director and chief curator at California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
EXHIBITIONS | Sept. 11: After spending early years of her career in Germany and France, abstract artist Mildred Thompson (1936 – 2003) became artist-in-residence at Spelman College and spent the rest of her life in Atlanta. “Mildred Thompson: The Atlanta Years, 1986-2003” explores the work she made during period and is described as her “first large-scale, interdisciplinary solo exhibition in city.” More
ACQUISITIONS | Sept. 12: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., announces 29 acquisitions, nearly all of them by African American artists including Jordan Casteel, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Emma Amos, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Kehinde Wiley, Clementine Hunter, Thornton Dial, Sam Doyle, Ronald Lockett, and Purvis Young.
PUBLIC ART | Sept. 16: David Hammons and Whitney Museum of American Art celebrate groundbreaking of his “Day’s End” public art installation on the Hudson River waterfront with sunset gathering.
AWARDS & HONORS | Sept. 16: J. Paul Getty Trust awards 2019 J. Paul Getty Medals to Lorna Simpson, Mary Beard, and Ed Ruscha. One of Simpson’s deep-blue abstract images, enlarged and transformed into a wall installation, sets scene for celebration at The Getty Center in Los Angeles.
EXHIBITIONS | Sept. 20: “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott,” career-spanning survey of Robert Colescott (1925-2009), known for his satirical and insightful paintings, opens at Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati. Co-curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Matthew Weseley, exhibition features 85 works dating from 1949 to 2002, and will travel to four additional museums.
EXHIBITIONS | Sept. 21: “Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration,” collaborative programming co-organized by three New York institutions, showcases provocative performance practice of Pope.L. Trio of presentations begins with “Pope.L: Conquest,”collective performance presented by Public Art Fund; and continues with “Pope.L: Choir,” an installation at Whitney Museum of American Art (Oct 10); and “member Pope.L, 1978–2001,” survey exhibition at Museum of Modern Art (Oct. 21).
AWARDS & HONORS | Sept. 24: Artes Mundi Prize shortlist is announced. All six finalists are artists of color, including Firelei Báez (Dominican Republic), Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa), and Carrie Mae Weems (United States). Winner of biennial prize (approx. $50,000) will be announced in January 2021.
MAGAZINES | Sept. 25: Selfie-portrait by Arthur Jafa covers fall 2019 Living Legends issue of Cultured magazine featuring profile of artist and filmmaker by poet Morgan Parker: “Between Stillness: Arthur Jafa and the Cinematic Revolution.”
AWARDS & HONORS | Sept. 25: Joan Mitchell Foundation announces 25 winners of 2019 Painters & Sculptors Grants. Paul Stephen Benjamin (Atlanta), Jamal Cyrus (Houston), Lauren Halsey (Los Angeles), Daniel Lind-Ramos (Loiza, P.R.), and Suzanne Jackson (Savannah, Ga.) are among artists receiving $25,000 in unrestricted funds.
MEDIA | Sept. 26: The Root releases 2019 Root 100 List. Several notable figures in arts are on list of most influential African Americans, aged 25 to 45: photographer John Edmonds, writer and historian Tanisha C. Ford, curator Jeffreen Hayes, artist Amanda Williams, curator Chaédria LaBouvier, artist Diamond Stingily, artist Alexandra Bell, and artist Delano Dunn.
NEWS | Sept. 26: Months-long clash between Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities continues as she takes action to limit commission’s power.
AWARDS & HONORS | Sept. 26: MacArthur Foundation announces 2019 MacArthur Fellows. Group of 26 “geniuses” includes Queens, N.Y., artist Cameron Rowland and Oakland, Calif.-based landscape architect Walter Hood.
APPOINTMENTS | Sept. 27: Ford Foundation President Darren Walker is elected to board of trustees at National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
EXHIBITIONS | Sept. 29: After touring four museums, “Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection” arrives at Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) expanded and transformed with additions from BMA’s collection, and other institutions and private collectors. New version is titled “Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art.” Landmark exhibition tells intergenerational history of artists—such as Norman Lewis, Alma Thomas, Jack Whitten, Sam Gilliam, Charles Gaines, Mark Bradford, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Kevin Beasley, and Shinique Smith (shown)—who since post-war era have expressed themselves through abstraction. More | SHINIQUE SMITH, “Black, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink,” 2015. | The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection
AWARDS & HONORS | Sept. 30: Norway art museum Henie Onstad Kunstsenter announces Nigerian-born, Antwerp, Belgium-based Otobong Nkanga is winner of inaugural $100,000 Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award.
LIVES | An important figure in post-war Abstraction, Ed Clark (1926-2019) dies Oct. 18 in Detroit. He was 93. Clark is recognized for innovation and experimentation—using a push broom to move paint across canvases in broad strokes and working with shaped canvases, most notably oval ones. At time of his death, Clark’s first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth gallery was on view in New York. | Photo by Chester Higgins
EXHIBITIONS | Oct. 2: At Tate Modern in London, “Fons Americanus,” monumental fountain by Kara Walker, opens in Turbine Hall. Walker is first black artist to create installation for space and first American artist selected for Hyundai Commission. | KARA WALKER, Inatallation view of “Fons Americanus,” 2019, Tate Modern, London | Photo © Tate, by Matt Greenwood
EXHIBITIONS | Oct. 2: “Maren Hassinger: Passing Through,” New York-based Maren Hasseniger‘s first solo exhibition outside United States, opens at Tiwani Contemporary in London. Hassinger, whose artistic roots date back to 1970s and 80s African American avant garde in Los Angeles, is presenting new and existing works.
EXHIBITIONS | Oct. 3: “Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom” opens at SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Ga. Presents fascinating look at unrivaled collection of materials in Frederick Douglass Family Archive of Walter and Linda Evans displayed in dialogue with artworks by contemporary artists—including Kevin Beasley, Lyle Ashton Harris, Lubaina Himid, Titus Kaphar, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Betye Saar, Raphaël Barontini, and Isaac Julien.
AUCTIONS | Oct. 4: Mickalene Thomas‘s rhinestone-embellished portrait of supermodel Naomi Campbell sets new auction record for artist when “Naomi Looking Forward” (2013) sells for nearly $700,000 at Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Day Auction.
PUBLIC ART | Oct. 5: New York City plans to replace Central Park monument to 19th century physician J. Marion Sims (he conducted gynecological research on enslaved black women) with new sculpture by contemporary artist. After open call, four finalists are named: Simone Leigh, Wangechi Mutu, Kehinde Wiley, and Vinnie Bagwell. Hearing intended as celebration event announcing selected artist, turns controversial when juried panel votes in favor of Leigh’s design and coalition of community activists backs Bagwell’s. Ultimately, Leigh withdraws and city decides Bagwell’s proposal will be realized.
BIENNIALS | Oct. 7: Whitney Museum of American Art announces David Breslin, curator and director of collection, and Adrienne Edwards, curator of performance, will serve as co-curators for 2021 Whitney Biennial.
AWARDS & HONORES | Oct. 7: Fresh from winning MacArthur Genius Grant on Sept. 26, Oakland, Calif.-based landscape architect Walter Hood nabs 2019 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, $250,000 cash award given annually to “highly accomplished artist from any discipline who has pushed the boundaries of an art form, contributed to social change and paved the way for the next generation.”
BOOKS | Oct. 10: Written by Kelsi Bracmort and illustrated by Takeia Marie, “Simone Visits the Museum” wins Best Children’s Book Award from International Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society at annual conference in Hyattsville, Md.
AWARDS & HONORS | Oct. 10: Institute of Contemporary Art Boston names Firelei Báez ICA Watershed Artist for 2020. Opening in May 2020, commission will be her largest sculptural installation to date.
APPOINTMENTS | Oct. 11: Dwight A. McBride is named president of New School in New York City. Currently serving as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University in Atlanta, he is first black president and first person of color to lead institution, which includes several colleges, Parsons School of Design, among them.
NEWS | Oct. 11: Discovery of African American Last Supper frieze is reported. Made by Akili Ron Anderson in 1982, monumental wall sculpture is uncovered during demolition work in former church building in Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. | Photo by Evy Mages, Used with permission
ACQUISITIONS | Oct. 11: St. Louis Art Museum announces it purchased “Seated Woman” by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012). Mahogany sculpture sold for $389,000 at Swann Auction Galleries African-American Fine Art Sale (Oct. 8), setting artist record.
FORUM | Oct. 11-13: During his tenure as artist-in-residence at Park Avenue Armory, Theaster Gates hosts his annual Black Artists Retreat outside Chicago for first time. New York City gathering “welcomes black artists and allies from Chicago, New York, and beyond for a weekend of communion, celebration, and multi-disciplinary exploration of this year’s theme: sonic imagination.”
Oct. 12: Art + Practice in Los Angeles presents “Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning” and “Ramsess: The Gathering.” Exhibitions showcase work of Stephen Towns and “Ramsess,” male artists from Baltimore and Los Angeles, respectively, who use medium of quilting to tackle weighty issues such as legacy of slavery and role of women’s labor, consider memory, and celebrate black history figures.
AWARDS & HONORS | Oct. 15: Los Angeles-based Arthur Jafa wins 2019 Prix International d’Art Contemporain (PIAC), international prize for contemporary art given every three years by Prince Pierre Foundation in Monaco. Recognized for his video, “Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death” (2016), Jafa receives cash award (about $83,000) and funding to support new work.
ACQUISITIONS | Oct. 16: UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) acquires nearly 3,000 quilts by more than 400 well- and little-known Africa American artists, including more than 500 by Rosie Lee Tompkins, through posthumous bequest from Eli Leon (1935-2018), Oakland, Calif., psychologist and quilt scholar who assembled unparalleled collection over three decades.
MAGAZINES | Oct. 18: Chicago artist Nick Cave ranks among The Greats for 2019 in New York Times “T” Style Magazine, where he’s photographed by Renee Cox.
EXHIBITION | Oct. 19: Los Angeles-based artist Christina Quarles‘s first solo exhibition in European museum opens at The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire, UK, presenting new and recent paintings and drawings.
MUSEUMS | Oct. 21: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) reopens after renovation with expansive new exhibition spaces and a rehang of its collection with more diverse selections on view. Shows featuring Betye Saar (“The Legends of Black Girl’s Window”) and Pope.L (“member: Pope.L, 1978–2001”) are central to museum’s new programming, which also includes a presentation of works by Michael Armitage (“Projects 110”), a collaboration between MoMA and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
REPRESENTATION | Oct. 22: Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey joins Sean Kelly Gallery in New York.
FORUMS | Oct. 25-27: Organized by curators Julie Crooks (Art Gallery Ontario), Dominique Fontaine, Gaëtane Verna (The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery), and Pamela Edmonds, inaugural Black Curators Forum occurs in Toronto at AGO and The Power Plant. Conference theme is “Beyond Representation” and Courtney J. Martin, director of Yale Center for British Art, gives keynote address. More
EXHIBITIONS | Oct. 26: For more than six years, Botswana-born, New York-based Meleko Mokgosi has been developing “Democratic Intuition” (2013-2019), a series of paintings presented chapter by chapter at museums across the country. Project “questions conceptions of democracy in relation to the daily lived experiences of southern Africans.” Special presentation at Jack Shainman gallery’s The School in Kinderhook, N.Y., brings seven of eight chapters together, providing rare opportunity to view Mokgosi’s near-complete vision.
BIENNIALS | Oct. 26-Nov. 23: Titled “How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine?” second Lagos Biennial opens in Nigeria with Antawan I. Byrd, Tosin Oshinowo and Oyinda Fakeye serving as co-curators.
BOOKS | Oct. 29: “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion” by curator/critic Antwaun Sargent is published, showcasing work of 15 photographers, including Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Awol Erizku, and Tyler Mitchell. | Cover image: TYLER MITCHELL, “Untitled (Hijab Couture), New York,” 2019
EXHIBITIONS | Oct. 29: Following retrospective staged by Leslie Umberger at Smithsonian American Art Museum, David Zwirner gallery in New York presents rare exhibition, an opportunity to see broad selection of works by Bill Traylor (c.1853–1949) from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and Family Collections sold to benefit Harlem Children’s Zone and Dreyfus Foundation.
APPOINTMENTS | Oct. 30: Forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles taps Sandra Jackson-Dumont as new director and CEO. Jackson-Dumont has served as chair of education at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 2014.
APPOINTMENTS | Oct. 31: Tom Finkelpearl suddenly departs after five years as commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Former museum leader with deep connections in city’s arts community, he steps down amid series of bumps in process of diversifying city’s monuments, though challenges are not cited as reason.
EXHIBITIONS | Major museum exhibitions on East and West Coasts showcase work of Los Angeles-based artist Betye Saar. Opening at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in September, “Betye Saar: Call and Response” (left) is described as “the first exhibition at a California museum to address her entire career and the first anywhere to focus on her sketchbooks” and is documented with publication. “Betye Saar The Legends of Black Girl’s Window” (right) at MoMA explores her printmaking and title work is the subject of small volume. | Photos Courtesy LACMA, MoMA
ART FAIRS | Nov. 1-3: Founded by Tokini Peterside, Art x Lagos celebrates fourth year, hosting 22 galleries showcasing about 60 artists (Watch video). Documentary photographer Etinosa Yvonne wins Nigerian art fair’s 2019 Art x Prize.
EXHIBITIONS | Nov. 3: First-ever comprehensive retrospective of abstract artist Julie Mehretu opens at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Organized by Christine Y. Kim of LACMA and Rujeko Hockley of Whitney Museum of American Art, exhibition considers New York-based Mehretu’s two-decade career. | JULIE MEHRETU, “Sun Ship (J.C.),” 2018. | © Julie Mehretu, Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc., White Cube Mason’s Yard Courtesy the artist, White Cube, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov. 5: Detroit-born, Oakland, Calif.-based Indira Allegra wins 2019 Burke Prize from Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City. $50,000 award recognizes artist under 45 years old working in fiber, clay, glass, metal, or wood.
TALKS | Nov. 7: Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta hosts “When, Where, and How We Enter,” with curators Valerie Cassel Oliver, Lauren Haynes, Melissa Messina, and Hallie Ringle discussing legacy of black women abstract painters.
APPOINTMENTS | Nov. 8: Victoria & Albert Museum in London announces Gus Casely-Hayford is joining museum as inaugural director of V&A East. Casely-Hayford has been serving as director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., since February 2018.
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov. 8: Betye Saar wins 2020 Wolfgang Hahn Prize from Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany. Museum is dedicating (about $110,000) to acquire Saar’s work, presenting an exhibition of her work (April 22,-July 6, 2020), and producing a coinciding publication. She is the first black woman to win the prize.
PERFORMANCE ART | Nov. 8-9: After six years of planning, Dread Scott stages Slave Rebellion Reenactment, reimagining German Coast Uprising of 1811, largest uprising of enslaved people in U.S. history. Artist and hundreds of volunteers march for 26 miles, along Louisiana’s River Road from St. John the Baptist Parish to St. Charles Parish and on to New Orleans. Watch Video | Photo by Soul Brother
ART FAIRS | Nov. 9-11: Also Known as Africa (AKAA) art fair stages fourth edition in Paris, France, with 45 galleries and about 100 artists represented.
EXHIBITIONS | Nov. 12: Presenting 60 works by artists such as Robert S. Duncanson, Aaron Douglas, Clementine Hunter, William H. Johnson, Bob Thompson, Rashid Johnson, Whitfield Lovell, Carrie Mae Weems, and Leroy Foster, from 19 private collections, “Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections” opens at Detroit Institute of Arts.
EXHIBITION | Nov. 12: British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen is photographing all of London’s Year 3 students. Ambitious project is realized in part by unveiling of “class portrait” today at Tate Modern, with accompanying exhibition opening February 2020.
MAGAZINES | Nov. 13: London-based Art Review magazine releases 2019 Power 100 list, including 11 black artists, curators, scholars and a collector—Thelma Golden, Kerry James Marshall, Felwine Sarr, and Fred Moten, among them.
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov. 13: Torkwase Dyson, whose multidisciplinary practice explores black spacial politics, receives $50,000 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize at Studio Museum’s annual fall gala in New York.
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov. 13: Ivory Coast photographer Joana Choumali wins 2019 Prix Pictet, award of about $100,000. She is first African artist to receive global photography award focused on environment and sustainability issues.
MAGAZINES | Nov. 13: Inaugural Time 100 Next list includes Los Angeles-based painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Brooklyn photographer John Edmonds.
AUCTIONS | Nov. 13-14: In New York, major works by Alma Thomas (“A Fantastic Sunset,” 1970), shown at right, Charles White (“Banner for Willie J,” 1976; “Ye Shall Inherit the Earth,” 1953), and Norman Lewis (“Ritual,” 1962) are featured in contemporary evening sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s for first time. All four works set new records at auction for artists.
AUCTIONS | Nov. 14: Kerry James Marshall‘s “Vignette 19” (2014), six-feet tall painting depicting three couples captured in park-like vignette, sells for more nearly $18.5 million at Sotheby’s New York. Historic price is second-highest ever paid at auction for work by living African American artist. (Marshall also holds record for highest.)
MUSEUMS | Nov. 14: Baltimore Museum of Art announces it will acquire works exclusively made by women artists in 2020.
APPOINTMENTS | Nov. 14: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York hires first black curator in 80-year history, announcing appointment of Ashley James, as associate curator, contemporary art. She previously served as assistant curator of contemporary art at Brooklyn Museum, where she led institution’s presentation of “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.”
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov. 15: Stephanie Comilang wins 2019 Sobey Art Award. Comilang has film-based practice and divides her time between Toronto and Berlin. Given by Sobey Art Foundation in partnership with National Gallery of Canada, $100,000 honor is regarded as Canada’s top award in contemporary art.
AUCTIONS | Nov. 15: “The Conservationists” (2015), first major painting by Kenyan-born artist Michael Armitage to appear at auction blasts way past expectations with bids soaring to 30 times low estimate ($50,000-$70,000) and selling for more than $1.5 million, new record for artist whose work is on view in solo exhibition at MoMA.
BOOKS | Nov. 19: First monograph of Los Angeles-based photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya is published by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis documenting his exhibition organized by the museum.
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov. 19: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum names six finalists for the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize. Shortlist includes artists Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.), Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.), work shown at left, and Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). Winner will be announced in fall 2020.
ACQUISITIONS | Nov. 20: Frank Bowling‘s “Penumbra” (1970) is acquired by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (which comprise de Young and Legion of Honor museums). Part of his “Map” series, monumental painting (measuring 8 x 23 feet) is on view in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983” at de Young, through March 15, 2020.
AWARDS & HONORS | Nov 20: Anonymous Was a Woman grantees are announced. 2019 winners include Elia Alba, Torkwase Dyson, Nona Faustine, and Rhodessa Jones. Award is unrestricted grant of $25,000 given to women artists more than 40 years old.
EXHIBITIONS | Nov. 23: Nubuke Foundation in Accra celebrates reopening after two year’s of construction with retrospective of pioneering Ghanaian photographer James Barnor, on view through May 10, 2020.
MEDIA | Nov. 28: ARTnews publishes list of 20 most important artworks of decade. “A view of a landscape: A cotton gin motor,” 2012–18 by Kevin Beasley ranks No. 18 and works by other African American artists occupy five of top six spots: (6) “Attica Series Desk,” 2016 by Cameron Rowland; (5) “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama,” 2018 by Amy Sherald; (3) “Untitled (Studio),” 2014 by Kerry James Marshall; (2) “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” 2014 by Kara Walker; and (1) “Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death,” 2016 by Arthur Jafa.
BIENNIALS | Nov. 30, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020: Bamako Encounters opens in Bamako, Mali. Titled, “Streams of Consciousness,” latest edition of photography biennale is curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and features about 80 artists.
APPOINTMENTS | Black man takes over “world’s largest museum, education, and research complex” when Lonnie G. Bunch III is named secretary of Smithsonian Institution on May 28, overseeing 19 museums and National Zoo. Bunch, founding director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), begins new leadership post June 16 and is officially installed Nov. 1. Appointment is groundbreaking on multiple fronts, Bunch is first African American to serve as secretary, first historian to hold post, and first museum director to be elevated to position in 74 years. In June, public calls ramp up for cultural institutions to reject funding from Sackler family in wake of opioid crisis, he says family name will remain on Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art, which focuses on Asian art. In September, Bunch publishes “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump” and embarks on national book tour. | Photo Courtesy NMAAHC
AWARDS & HONORS | Dec. 3: Shortlisted for Turner Prize, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and Tai Shani form collective and jury awards British art prize to more than one artist for first time. $52,000 prize is split four ways. | Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart Wilson/Getty Images for Turner Contemporary
APPOINTMENTS | Dec. 3: Artsy names entrepreneur Everette Taylor chief marketing officer. Taylor founded ET Enterprises in 2013. Portfolio of tech companies includes ArtX, new platform designed to help emerging artists amplify their work. |
ACQUISITIONS | Dec. 6: Inaugurating new Legacy Purchase program, city of Miami Beach dedicates $100,000 to buying work of art from Art Basel Miami Beach for city’s public collection. Works by seven artists including Amoako Boafo, Todd Gray, Ebony G. Patterson, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Didier William are considered. City’s Art in Public Places committee narrows shortlist to Boafo, Patterson, and William. In public vote, Miami Beach citizens choose “…as the garden secretes a swarm of monarchs feast…” (2019) by Patterson. City elects to also purchase Boafo’s “Cobalt Blue Earring” (2019).
AUCTIONS | Dec. 6: Hindman Auctions in Chicago holds Property from Ebony Fashion Fair: The Final Show sale. Ebony Fashion Fair, traveling runway show created by Eunice W. Johnson and Johnson Publishing Company in 1958, ceased operations in 2009. In years since, multiple auctions of clothing from collections have been held at Hindman in Chicago. Auction house is hosting last sale of collection.
MAGAZINES | Calvin Tompkins visits press-averse artist David Hammons at his Yonkers, N.Y., studio and publishes a story about experience in Dec. 9 edition of The New Yorker.
NEWS | Dec. 14: After besting other bidders and buying Kerry James Marshall‘s “Past Times” (1997) at Sotheby’s New York in May 2018, Sean “Diddy” Combs showcases most expensive painting by living African American artist at auction at 50th birthday bash at his Beverly Hills home.
NEWS | Dec. 18: Spelman College in Atlanta receives $2 million gift from Leonard & Louise Riggio for new academic center “designed to bring the arts, technology and innovation into close collaboration with one another.” Riggio is founder and former chairman of Barnes & Noble.
AWARDS & HONORS | Dec. 18: Photographer Tyler Mitchell and artist Nina Chanel Abney named 2020 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellows. Each artist awarded $20,000 to develop exhibition for presentation at foundation in forthcoming year. | Photos: From left, by Jet Toomer and Owen Smith-Clark
MEDIA | Dec. 19: Essence highlights five black women in the art world—not artists, but the pros who work with them, including Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels of Jack Shaiman Gallery and Ashley Stewart of Gagosian Gallery.
MUSEUMS | Dec. 19: What moved you in 2019? Annually, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis asks creatives what was noteworthy the previous year—ideas, objects, and events. “2019 According to…” features insights and picks from 24 people, including artists Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Carolyn Lazard, Anthea Hamilton, and Tia-Simone Gardner. Among their picks: Grace Wales Bonner’s “Mumbo Jumbo” (Autumn/Winter 2019) runway show at Serpentine Galleries in London; Jeremy O. Harris’s “Slave Play” on Broadway; “Watchmen” on HBO; Jerron Herman’s “I wanna be with you everywhere” at Performance Space New York; Tourmaline’s “Salacia” on The High Line; Toni Morrison’s death; and Turner Prize artists’s statement of solidarity. “Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval” authored by Saidiya Hartman, shows up twice.
PUBLIC ART | Dec. 23: On same wall were commissions by Kerry James Marshall and Henry Taylor were once on view, “The Baayfalls,” a mural by Harlem-based painter Jordan Casteel is installed on The High Line at 22nd Avenue. CT
ART FAIRS | On Dec. 2, a Creative Minds talk between artist Kehinde Wiley and art collector and music producer Swizz Beatz (watch video) launches Miami Art Week (Dec. 2-8). A selection of galleries throughout Art Basel Miami Beach present works by artists such as Arthur Jafa (above at Gavin Brown’s Enterprises), Ed Clark, Ja’Tovia M. Gary, David Hammons, Christina Quarles, Frank Bowling, Kehinde Wiley, Faith Ringgold, and Wangechi Mutu, among others. Featuring large-scale works, ABMB’s Meridians sector includes Woody De Othello, Theaster Gates, Isaac Julien, Adam Pendleton, Torey Thornton and Fred Wilson. Amoako Boafo, Aaron Fowler, Todd Gray, Tau Lewis, Ebony G. Patterson, Cinga Samson, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Didier William appear in Nova and Positions sectors. Also at ABMB, UBS presents works by Shinique Smith. There are many other satellite fairs and a slew of programming at various venues focuses on black art and artists. Among the many parties, ARTnews celebrates forthcoming “The Deciders” issue, guest-edited by Swizz Beatz. “Mickalene Thomas: Better Nights” is on view at Bass Museum of Art. Under the direction of Franklin Sirmans, Pérez Art Museum Miami plans a full schedule of events. Rubbell Museum opens in new location and presents sprawling inaugural exhibition featuring more than 300 works by 100 artists, including a multigenerational selection of important African American artists, including Boafo, the museum’s 2019 artist-in-residence. | Photo Courtesy Art Basel