The exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980 chronicled the vital legacy of the city’s African American artists. The work of these practitioners was animated to an extent by the civil rights and Black Power movements, reflecting the changing sense of what constituted African American identity and American culture. The power of the black community strengthened nationwide as racial discrimination began to lessen as a result of new legislation and changing social norms. As there were plentiful opportunities for African Americans to make a livelihood in Southern California, Los Angeles soon had a substantial black population, and social, political, and economic changes drew transplants from around the country. Galvanized by these transformations, black artists worked to form a cultural community that became an important part of the city’s thriving arts scene.
The Smithsonian magazine is dedicating its September 2016 Issue to all things that deal with Blackness in America. Check out the current issue online and read articles by Isabel Wilkerson, Toure, and Richard Grant. The magazine also highlights the historic opening of the African American Museum of History & Culture, opening on September 24, 2016. There are four different covers that were created for this special issue featuring works by artists Lorna Simpson, Amy Sherald, and photographers xST/Shawn Theodore and Delphine Diallo. Access online: Smithsonian Magazine | September 2016
Gates, an award-winning Chicago potter and artist who blends art installation with social practice, is best known for turning abandoned buildings in neglected neighborhoods into vibrant cultural hubs that serve the community. Gates is director of arts and public life at the University of Chicago, where he is a professor of visual arts.
“Theaster Gates embodies an engagement with art, activism, and archives that energizes all of us,” says Rosemary M. Magee, director of the Rose Library. “It will be a privilege to have him present on campus during the month of September to collaborate with students, faculty and members of the Atlanta area community in pursuit of new knowledge and inspiration.”
Free public events:
Friday, Sept. 9, at 4 p.m.
“Are Artists Activists?”
Theaster Gates conversation with Rose Library Director Rosemary Magee
Teaching and Learning Studio, Rose Library
Location: Emory’s Woodruff Library, Level 10
Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m.
“Theaster Gates: Social Practice and Social Justice”
Will you be the next hashtag? Hashtags represent a connection and a community of voices that demand to be heard and recognized. The digital revolution has allowed artist and activist the ability to educate, communicate and highlight key issues facing our society. Hip Hop Fine Art: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised connects the expression of Hip Hop culture with the media of fine art with a focus on political issues and current events. Artist Isis Kenney’s political cartoons are politically charged with the goal of creating dialogue about contemporary issues.
Hip Hop and Fine Art have traditionally been seen as two different worlds. Considered an oxymoron to some Hip Hop Fine Art aims to entertain, educate and inspire. We’re Passionate about highlighting the positive impact of Hip Hop Culture. Hip Hop Fine Art aims to expand the perception of Hip Hop by bringing the culture’s electric vibrancy into our homes and offices, through fine art and now home decor. Please join us Friday September 23, 2016 for the solo exhibit.
Event Location: 645 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10030
The Houston Museum of African American Culture’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kheli R. Willetts as Chief Executive Officer effective September 1, 2016. The Board’s action comes with the fullest confidence that Willetts will be an excellent steward of HMAAC’s mission and a leader and advocate for the community. The Board recognizes that Willetts is a leader who, with several years’ experience in higher education and museum administration, is the right person to pursue the next phase of growth for the museum.
Before joining the HMAAC family, Willetts had more than 14 years of experience in education and museum administration, including serving as the Executive Director of Syracuse University’s Community Folk Art Center, and as a professor of African American studies at the University.
Willetts says of her new position, “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead this dynamic institution, one that under the leadership of John Guess, Jr. has actively participated and led discussions on the major cultural trends of our time. This museum has had an extraordinary impact across the country as well as Houston in just six years. With the team I am joining, I expect the museum’s dynamism to continue.”
According to Board President Gina Carroll, “Kheli is a talent we are thrilled to have join us. We know her from her participation in HMAAC’s New York symposium, from her lecturing at HMAAC, from her visits with board members and staff, and from her reputation in the national cultural community. On all accounts, we found her to be outstanding.”
Current CEO John Guess Jr. adds, ”We are excited to have Kheli join us as head of the HMAAC team. Her leadership and experience are vital to the museum as we work with our community partners and supporters to sustain and continue to strengthen this institution. She understands the importance of culture for underserved communities and the pursuit of our mission, that has allowed us to impact a multicultural audience of visitors from across the country and throughout the world.”
Willetts received her undergraduate and graduate education from Syracuse University.
The mission of the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) is to collect, conserve, explore, interpret, and exhibit the material and intellectual culture of Africans and African Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, the southwest and the African Diaspora for current and future generations. HMAAC explores stories inspired by themes of opportunity, empowerment, creativity, and innovation and cultural interrelationships through the lens of the African American experience.
In fulfilling its mission, HMAAC seeks to invite and engage visitors of every race and background, and to inspire children of all ages through discovery-driven learning. HMAAC is a museum for all people. While our focus is the African American experience, our story in Texas informs and includes not only people of color, but people of all colors.
During the summers, I flock to art exhibitions all over the country. It’s rather interesting that there is one museum from my hometown that I never visited before and felt like it was the opportune time to check out, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. Some of the best treasures avail themselves when one is in need of creative inspiration: PROCESSION, The Art of Norman Lewis exposed me to a new way of appreciating blackness, by placing myself in the experience depicted in his work, now on view at the #amoncarter through August 21, 2016. From the museum’s website, “This is the first comprehensive museum exhibition on the work of Norman Lewis.”
Norman Lewis was born (July 23, 1909) in Harlem, New York. He was an African American painter, teacher, and scholar and was an influential figure in the Harlem art community. The artist’ work is rooted in the abstract expressionist movement, and as a socially conscious black activist, he depicted important moments about the civil rights movement in his work. The museum is exhibiting 65 artworks by the artist that details the struggles, triumphs, and life of African-American’s (1930’s – 1970’s). Mentally, I was in artistic heaven while viewing the humbling and engaging exhibition that curtails the experiences of black people in America by one man’s visual conception regarding social issues and migrating to a new awareness in his professional career as an artist. Norman Lewis’ paintings speak to you instantaneously.
The Princeton University Library has announced that the major portion of the Toni Morrison Papers — part of the permanent library collections since 2014 — is open for research to University students, faculty and scholars worldwide as of this week.
The papers — which are held in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections — were gathered from multiple locations over more than two decades, beginning with the files recovered by the Library’s Preservation Office after the tragic fire that destroyed Morrison’s home in 1993. In the past 18 months, the most significant of the papers have been carefully organized, described, cataloged and selectively digitized. Research access to these digital files will be provided in the Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room.
Most important for researchers are the author’s manuscripts, drafts and proofs for the novels “The Bluest Eye” (1970), “Sula” (1973), “Song of Solomon” (1977), “Tar Baby” (1981), “Beloved” (1987), “Jazz” (1992), “Paradise” (1997), “Love” (2003), “A Mercy” (2008), “Home” (2012) and “God Help the Child” (2015). Study of Morrison’s manuscripts illustrates her working methods of writing and revision, and they help trace the genesis of particular works, from early ideas and preliminary research; to handwritten drafts, most often written with No. 2 pencils on legal-size yellow notepads, which contain notes, early draft material, and inserts for later typed and printed versions.