April 4 | African-American art takes to center stage
With a substantial investment in civil rights’ photographer Louis Draper’s archive signalling NEH is not dead yet, and the abstractionist from Alabama, Jack Whitten, being awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting, it’s clear that the contemporary art world is still in the process of re-orientating it’s (tunnel) vision. If anything, the reaction to Dana Schutz’s Open Casket could be read as a response to the new generation of historians and curators who are working to pluck from obscurity artists who have been marginalized because of color, gender, geography or class.
Louis Draper Archive to be digitized at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has received a $173,833 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize photographer Louis Draper’s archive.
The extensive archive was first acquired in March 2016; comprising of 2,822 photographs, 42,116 negatives, 748 contact sheets, 4,378 color and black-and-white slides, 36 computer-generated images, and 71 computer disks, as well as his camera equipment and more than eighty linear inches of valuable archival documents and publications. The recent reappraisal of his photography has seen Draper rise to prominence in photography circles. A founding member of the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of African American photographers, Draper has been praised for his ability to illuminate the lives of ordinary African Americans during the civil rights era.
Louis H Draper Malcom X, 369th Armory, Harlem. (1964)
Dana Schutz’s Open Casket removed from the Whitney... down to water leak
The controversial work, depicting the disfigured body of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old lynching victim, has been temporarily removed from its wall due to a water leak at the Whitney Biennial, New York.
Spotted by Hyperallergic, the small fifth-floor alcove that contained Dana Schutz’s Open Casket was closed to the public over the weekend. A spokesperson for the Whitney confirmed “there was no damage to any of the works,” much to protesters’ dismay — who had previously called for the work’s destruction. The exhibition is expected to be back up and running as normal on Wednesday.
Notice of closure at the Whitney. Courtesy of @nevona via Twitter
SPRING/BREAK to debut new slot at Brooklyn Art Fair
SPRING/BREAK Art Show looks set to launch a new Frieze Week edition — to be held at City Point — a new retail, residential office complex in Downtown Brooklyn, from May 6 - 14, 2017. City Point will also host New York’s Creative Time for the gala.
Co-founded by Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori, SPRING/BREAK will center on the theme of “Black Mirror, featuring environments, abstractions, and scale on the macro that offers a break (if momentary) from the anthropomorphic and political,” says Gori. The show will also be inspired by the 1973 Mexican surrealist film The Holy Mountain.
Galerie RX to represent heavy-weight artist El Anatsui
The Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, who has lived and worked in Nigeria for much of his career, is to be represented by Galerie RX, Paris. Awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in April 2015 at the Venice Biennale, El Anatsui is clearly a huge gain for the gallery who relocated to a new space in the Marais last year.
Following the trend of contemporary African art cascading onto the French art scene for over a year now, it seems that with the current “Afriques Capitales” exhibition, at La Villette, and the concentration on works from the African continent at Art Paris Art Fair last week, signal its peak. Emerging artist Joël Andrianomearisoa has also recently been scooped up by Galerie RX. More on Le Quotidien de l'Art.
El Anatsui, Detail of Peak, 2010 (tin and copper wire), with from left to right, Red Block and Black Block, both 2010 (aluminum and copper wire), in the background © Arts Observer
Jack Whitten awarded the Skowhegan Medal
Celebrated American abstractionist Jack Whitten has been awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting, in honor of Skowhegan’s 25th anniversary. Recognized for the precedence of his five-decade career, the award looks to highlight Whitten’s ability to construct “a bridge between gestural abstraction and process art… hovering between mechanical automation and deeply personal expression.”
William T. Williams, painter and Professor of Art at CUNY, and the Studio Museum in Harlem were also commended for their service to the arts, whilst the Pollock-Krasner Foundation received the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award for its patronage.
Jack Whitten’s current exhibition at Hauser & Wirth New York will be on show through April 8.