Latest News in African American Art: Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys Plan Art Center, New Yorker Commissions Toni Morrison Cover by Kara Walker, Smithsonian Acquires Beyonce Portrait by Tyler Mitchell & More


South African Artist David Koloane (1938-2019)

 

The following review presents a snapshot of recent news in African American art and related black culture:

 

South African Artist David Koloane Died at 81

A prominent figure in apartheid-era South Africa artist David Koloane (1938-2019) died June 30. “Apartheid was a politics of space more than anything,” the painter, teacher, and activist said in a 1995 interview. “It’s all about space, restricting space. Claiming art is also reclaiming space.” A retrospective of Koloane opened at the June 1 at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town. “A Resilient Visionary: Poetic Expressions of David Koloane” is on view for one year through June 1, 2020. New York Times

Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys Plan Art and Music Center in Upstate New York

A producer and singer increasingly focused on art and artists, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, are in the process of buying a 110-acre property in Macedon, N.Y., with three vacant buildings measuring 200,000 square feet collectively. Plans for the creative campus include exhibition space, a performing arts center, classrooms to educate artists and musicians about the business side of their industries, and dormitory-style housing for artists and instructors. According to the couple’s lawyer, the future art center is located on a street once part of the Underground Railroad. artnet News

 


Kara Walker illustrated the Aug. 19, 2019, cover of The New Yorker, with a portrait in tribute to Toni Morrison (1931-2019), which she titled “Quiet As It’s Kept,” referencing an opening line from “The Bluest Eye.”

 

Kara Walker Illustrated New Yorker Cover Dedicated to Toni Morrison

After false starts with clay, watercolor, and pastel, Kara Walker’s cover for the Aug. 19 edition of The New Yorker features a cut-paper silhouette of acclaimed author Toni Morrison who died Aug. 5 at age 88. The New Yorker

READ MORE about Toni Morrison and her influence on artists on Culture Type

MacArthur Providing $5 Million for Public Library at Obama Center

A new branch of the Chicago Public Library will be housed at the Obama Presidential Center and the MacArthur Foundation is providing a $5 million grant to support the project. MacArthur Foundation

National Portrait Gallery to Acquire Beyonce Portrait

A portrait of Beyonce by photographer Tyler Mitchell is headed to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Last year, Mitchell became the first black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue. He was only 23 when his portrait of Beyonce graced the September 2018 cover. Additional images of the musical icon were published in a feature profile, including the portrait entering the museum’s permanent collection. USA Today

 

 

$2.2 Million in Federal Grants Awarded to African American Museums

The Studio Museum in Harlem, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, and the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, Md., are among the institutions benefitting from the grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS

Valerie V. Gay Appointed to Audience Engagement Post at Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia named Valerie V. Gay deputy director for audience engagement and chief experience officer. She previously served as executive director of Art Sanctuary, a Philadelphia organization founded by author Lorene Cary. Gay joined the Barnes in April. Barnes Foundation

Georgia Teen Wins Google Doodle Competition

Arantza Peña Popo won the US 2019 Doodle for Google competition. Jimmy Fallon served as a judge and announced the winner on his show. A tribute to her mother, Popo’s doodle was featured on Google’s homepage Aug. 13. The valedictorian of her DeKalb County high school, she also won a $30,000 scholarship. Popo is attending the University of Southern California in the fall. Google

 

Opportunities
Pope.L is Casting for Two MoMA Performances

The Museum of Modern Art in New York is seeking “diverse motivated individuals” for performances during “member: Pope.L, 1978–2001,” the artist’s fall presentation at the museum, featuring 13 career-defining performances. Casting is for “Dressing Up for Civil Rights” and “Eating the Wall St. Journal.” Apply here and here by Aug. 20, 2019

A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based A Blade of Grass “supports courageous artists in creating exchanges, experiences, and structures to enact social change.” Applications are open for 2020 fellowships. The deadline is Oct. 16, 2019

 


Jimmy Fallon talks to Arantza Peña Popo, the Georgia teen who won the US 2019 Doodle for Google competition. | Video by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon