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The 'must see' exhibitions of 2016




Kehinde Wiley: NEW REPUBLIC comes to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts June 11th!

RICHMOND. Following its' 2015 debut at the Brooklyn Museum, the first museum survey if Kehinde Wiley's prolific career, comes to the VA Museum of Fine Arts!


Colonel Platoff on His Charger, 2007–8. Oil on canvas, 122 x 122 in. (309.9 x 309.9 cm). Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Gift of the Director’s Council and Museum purchase, 2008. © Kehinde Wiley



Family, Union Temple Baptist Church, Washington, DC, 30’ X 11’ in., Akili Ron Anderson, 1992, Leaded Stained Glass

AKILI RON ANDERSON: A Fifty Year Retrospective of Black Art and Life comes to the Hampton University Museum July 9th!

HAMPTON. A lifetime resident of Washington, D.C., artist Akili Ron Anderson is known for his amazing craftmanship that is aesthetically beautiful, and culturally strong. Anderson designs, fabricates and installs stained glass windows, sculptural forms, fine art paintings and theater sets for cultural, religious and public institutions. This summer, the Hampton University Museum will present a survey of his life’s work.  Akili Ron Anderson: A 50 Year Retrospective of Black Art and Life, will be on view July 9 - November 18, 2016. The exhibition will span 50 years of art-making and examine the artist's ability to effectively communicate his understanding and love of Black Art and Black Culture.


Since 1979, Anderson has been an active member of AfriCOBRA - the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists. The collective, which grew out of the Black Arts Movement of the 60s and 70s. Also well versed in still photography, cinematography and special effects, he attended the Corcoran School of Art and Howard University School of Arts and Science, Division of Fine Arts (1965-1969) and (2005 -2008). He obtained his BFA and MFA from Howard University in 2008. He was the first chairperson of the Visual Arts Department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, co-founder of Nation House Organization (Watoto School) and has held many other honors. He is currently teaching full time in the department of Art at Howard University.



Also on view in VA this FALL

Gordon Parks & Willie Cole

QUESTION BRIDGE: BLACK MALES now on view at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum

BALTIMORE. Something great happens when artists collaborate! The ground-breaking, award-winning multimedia project, “Question Bridge: Black Males,” is the result of a collaboration between artists, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith, Sinclair Lewis and Chris Johnson. You can now catch it at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for African American Art & Culture through September 30, 2016.

Through the traveling exhibit and companion website, Black men offer deep insights regarding a variety of more than 150 questions and answer videos. Males from all walks of life, from teenagers to actors, Delroy Lindo and Jesse Williams, who both served as executive producers, to civil rights icon, Andrew Young, to policemen and pastors, chime in on topics of identity and black manhood.

Question Bridge became a book in 2015 and received the ICP Infinity Award in 'New Media.' It was an Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and garnered Special Mention for the Sheffield Doc/Fest Innovation Award 2012.


Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions now on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

DC. Over the past half century, Martin Puryear has established a unique sculptural practice, handmaking modernist abstract works inspired by nature and various cultures. His public art installations include the Ronald Reagan Building in DC and Madison Square Park in NYC.

Widely celebrated for his elegant but playful sculptures and his devotion to craft, his drawings and prints are less well known. But they are equally essential to the artist’s studio practice.  Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions is the first exhibition unveiling his inspirations, methods, and transformative process.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Puryear earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Catholic University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone from 1964 to 1966. Several drawings are from these formative years, where he was inspired by the region.

Vessel; eastern white pine, mesh, tar; 181 1/2 x 83 7/8 x 67 3/4
Martin Puryear, 1997-2002 © Martin Puryear, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions, on view through September 5, 2016, includes seventy-two objects, including fourteen sculptures, spanning Puryear’s career from his college days to the present. The exhibition is a 360-degree view of the creative process of a contemporary master.



MaXhosa Installation view of "Beauty - Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial." Photo by Matt Flynn © 2016 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Colorful, Installation view of "Beauty - Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial." Photo by Matt Flynn © 2016 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The fifth installment of the museum’s popular contemporary design exhibition series, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative. With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions, Beauty presents works of astonishing form and surprising function from the most outstanding voices of the global design scene.


BEAUTY: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial

now on view through August 21, 2016

See more BEAUTY images


Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou
Untitled, 2011


Disguise: Masks and Global African Art  

Disguise: Masks and Global African Art  connects the work of twenty-five contemporary artists with historical African masquerade in an immersive and lively installation of video, digital, sound, installation art, photography and sculpture.  Now on view through September 18. Disguise preview by the Brooklyn Museum.




Kerry James Marshall, Untitled (Painter), 2009. Acrylic on PVC; 44 5/8 x 43 1/8 x 3 7/8 in. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Katherine S. Schamberg by exchange, 2009.15. © 2009 Kerry James Marshall Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry

A major museum survey of one of America’s greatest living artists is now on view through September, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibition focuses primarily on Marshall’s paintings made over the last 35 years, from his seminal inaugural statement Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self (1980) to his most recent explorations of African American history.

Modern Heroics: 75 Years of African American Expressionism at the Newark Museum

Mickalene Thomas (American, b.1971), Landscape with Camouflage, 2012. Rhinestone, acrylic paint and oil enamel on wood panel, 274.3 x 365.8 x 5.1 cm. Courtesy of the Artist, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York.


Heroic themes in modern and contemporary art are the focus of this exhibition of 37 works by African American artists. The selection of artwork from the Newark Museum's collection, include Norman Lewis, Mickalene Thomas, Bob Thompson and sculptures by Chakaia Booker and Thornton Dial Sr.



30 Americans makes West Coast Debut in September

After a critically acclaimed tour of the East Coast, the exhibition featuring 30 African American artists, crossing several generations, subjects, genres and mediums will make a West Coast debut this fall. 30 Americans: Masterpieces of Contemporary African-American Art, opens at the Tacoma Art Museum in September.


(right) King Kata #4: resist, iona rozeal brown, 2007, Mixed media on framed panel, 51 1/2 x 62 in.






  2016 DESIGN Award Winners to be Honored >>



Jacob Lawrence's MIGRATION SERIES opens at the Phillips Collection Oct. 8th

DC. He was one of the most celebrated African American artists of the 20th century. Jacob Lawrence was the first black artist to be represented by a New York gallery.

He was only in his twenties when his "Migration Series" made him nationally famous. The series depicted the epic Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between World War I and World War II. It earned Lawrence a solo show at Manhattan's Downtown Gallery in 1941 - the same year it was featured in Fortune Magazine.

The Phillips Collection and New York's Museum of Modern Art agreed to divide the series, with the Phillips buying the odd-numbered paintings, while the even numbers went to MOMA.

Now, the museums have reunited Lawrence’s 60-panel masterwork, "The Migration Series," for People on the Move, showing October 8, 2016 - January 8, 2017 at The Phillips. The exhibition will provide multiple perspectives on the historical, literary, socio-cultural, aesthetic, and contemporary manifestations of migration that underlie Lawrence’s visual narrative.

Phillips has developed an interactive microsite to examine the multifaceted story of the Great Migration, exploring the theme of the migration from the rich perspectives of visual culture as well as music, theater, film, and poetry.


Migration Series, Panel 1. 1941 caption: During the World War, there was a great migration North by Southern Negroes.

Migration Series, Panel 5. 1941 captain: The Negroes were given free passage on the railroads which was paid back by Northern industry. It was an agreement that the people brought North on these railroads were to pay back their passage after they had received jobs.


The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates NMAAHC opening with 2 major exhibitions

William H. Johnson, Café, about 1939-40, oil on paperboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation

#1 Artworks by African Americans in the Permanent Collection


DC. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has an amazing treasure trove of artworks by African Americans. A collecting initiative that began in the 1960s, has grown to more than 2,000 artworks by more than 200 artists. Right now, 48 objects have been added to those currently on view, for a massive show of 184 works, spanning four centuries and various media, all in celebration of the Nat'l Museum of African American History & Culture grand opening.

Visitor favorites by William H. Johnson and Lois Mailou Jones; abstractions by Washington’s own Sam Gilliam, Felrath Hines and Alma Thomas; contemporary works by Mark Bradford, Faith Ringgold and Mickalene Thomas; key pieces by self-taught artists such as Clementine Hunter and Purvis Young; and influential works by John Biggers, Sargent Johnson, Augusta Savage and Henry Ossawa Tanner are on view. A selection from the museum’s in-depth collections of works by William H. Johnson and Tanner are on display in its Luce Foundation Center and in the galleries.

The featured artists powerfully evoke themes both universal and specific to the African American experience. Many mirror the tremendous social and political change occurring from the early Republic to the rise of industry, the Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance, the post-war years and the civil rights movement into present day. Arranged chronologically and thematically throughout the permanent collection galleries, the show runs through Feb. 28, 2017.


#2 Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

All Photos

Carl Van Vechten, born Cedar Rapids, IA 1880 and died in New York City, 1964

Transfers from the National Endowment for the Arts, Photograph © Van Vechten
Trust; Compilation/Publication © Eakins Press Foundation. From 'O, Write My
Name': American Portraits, Harlem Heroes (Eakins, 2015)



Joe Louis

Joe Louis, from the portfolio O Write My Name: American Portraits, Harlem
Heroes; 1941, printed 1983; photogravure

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald, from the unrealized portfolio Noble Black Women: The
Harlem Renaissance and After
1940, printed 1983; photogravure

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes, from the portfolio O Write My Name: American Portraits,
Harlem Heroes; 1939; 1983; photogravure

More from The Smithsonian American Art Museum's permanent collection - many of these photographs are on view for the first time since they were acquired. Author and social commentator Carl Van Vechten, (1880–1964) began taking photographs in 1932. For the next three decades, he made portraits of writers, musicians, athletes, politicians and others, many of them central figures in the Harlem Renaissance, whose accomplishments transformed American culture throughout the 20th century. These groundbreaking men and women included James Baldwin, Ossie Davis, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ella Fitzgerald, Althea Gibson, Langston Hughes, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Bessie Smith and others. Some of the portraits capture their subjects on the cusp of success as they were full of ambition but before they became famous; others depict men and women looking back on long and varied careers. On view through March, 19, 2017, this installation features 39 images, spanning more than 30 years, documenting a vital aspect of the American Century.



A regional celebration for the Smithsonian's newest museum



Kerry James Marshall: MASTRY

NY. The debut at MCA Chicago drew First Lady, Michelle Obama! Now the largest museum retrospective to date of the work of American artist Kerry James Marshall will open October 25th at The Met Breuer as a cornerstone of its inaugural season.

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, encompasses nearly 80 works - including 72 paintings - that span the artist’s remarkable 35-year career. Kerry James Marshall Selects, curated by the artist, from The Met collection, will run concurrently.

Kerry James Marshall
Untitled (Studio), 2014
Acrylic on PVC panel
83 5⁄16 × 119 ¼ in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation Gift, Acquisitions Fund and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Multicultural Audience Development Initiative Gift, 2015

Born before the passage of the Civil Rights Act in Birmingham, Alabama, and witness to the Watts rebellion in 1965, Kerry James Marshall has long been an inspired and imaginative chronicler of the African American experience. He is known for his large-scale narrative history paintings featuring black figures - defiant assertions of blackness in a medium in which African Americans have long been invisible.

"Marshall’s work illustrates the American experience as unimaginable without black history and culture," said Ian Alteveer, exhibition curator. "Through the tropes of traditional painting - portraiture, landscape, and other narrative modes - he builds a conversation around visibility and invisibility. The result is a stunning body of work that is both intimate and monumental."

The exhibition will also reunite the five paintings of Marshall’s Garden Project series - for the first time in 20 years. Included among these is these is Watts 1963, which depicts the artist and his siblings at play outside Nickerson Gardens, the projects in Watts where the 8-year-old Marshall and his family lived when they first moved to California in 1963. On view through Jan. 29, 2017. MORE.





Andy Warhol, Dolly Parton, 1985. Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas; 42 x 42 inches Collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, Image courtesy of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, New York. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation

Sonya Clark, Unraveling, 2015-present. Cotton Confederate battle flag and unraveled threads, edition 2/10; 70 x 36 x 7 inches Courtesy of the artist. © Sonya Clark. Photo by Taylor Dabney.


Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art 

DURHAM, NC. Four years in the making - 125 works by 60 artists, brought together by two curators across two states - to explore this complex and contested space known as the American South. Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, is now on view at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The work of some of the biggest names in contemporary art - Theaster Gates, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems,  Kerry James Marshall, Gordon Parks, Ebony G. Patterson, Fahamu Pecou and Xaviera Simmons, appears alongside local artists to create a composite portrait of southern identity. The art, covering a wide range of perspectives, reflects upon the dynamic nature of the South’s social, political and cultural landscape.

"...the timing of Southern Accent is especially meaningful now – in the wake of Charleston, Orlando, Baton Rouge and countless other tragedies, and given the tense social and racial climate during this presidential election year."

- Trevor Schoonmaker, Curator of Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art

Sonya Clark and Hank Willis Thomas to speak at Nasher.


Every single reality, fantasy and myth that has long captured the public’s imagination about the American South, has a platform in Southern Accent. It's a celebration and an interrogation of the region's profound influence on American culture and much of the world.

Co-curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, Southern Accent is on view through Jan. 8, 2017. MORE.