Latest news in black art: Laura Cumbo named New York City czar of culture, civil rights photographer Doris Derby died, Guggenheim Fellows, Derrick Adams, Derek Fordjour, Theaster Gates and more – 71Bait

Latest News in Black Art features news and developments in the world of art and related culture

Civil rights photographer Doris Derby. | Photo courtesy of Doris Derby via University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Civil rights photographer based out of Bronx, NY Doris Derbi died March 28 in Newnan, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. She was 82 years old. “Her images were in stark contrast to other civil rights movement images being made at the time, because they simultaneously looked at segregation and despair and joy and family — and used the stories that emphasized a sense of hope,” said artist and photography scholar Deborah Willis the Washington Post. Derby spoke about her life and work about a decade ago for a civil rights oral history project housed at the Library of Congress, and her photos are collected in A Civil Rights Journey, published last year. | New York Times and Washington Post

Awards & Honors

On April 7, 180 recipients of 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships were announced, representing a variety of fields. Belonging to the artists Tyrone Tacoumba Aiken, Lisa Corinne Davis, Nathaniel Donnett, June Edmonds, Mark Thomas Gibson, Lisa E. Harris, Alisha Wormsley, Autumn Knight (movie/video), Ja’Tovia Monique Gary (movie/video) and Gary Burnley (Photography). | More

On April 6th Theater Gates and The Prada Group announced the first batch of Dorchester Industries Design Lab honorees. The 14 artists and designers work across a range of disciplines, including Tolu Coker, Germane Barnes, Kyle Abraham, Mariam Issoufou Kamara, Kendall Reynolds, Yemi Amu, Kenturah Davis, Salome Asega, Damarr Brown, Maya Bird-Murphy, Brandon Breaux, Summer Coleman, and Catherine Sarr. | More

Shawnya Harris, Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson, Curators of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA) in Athens, Georgia, have received two awards from the Georgia Association of Museums. She was named Museum Professional of the Year and Emma Amos: Color Odyssey, the traveling exhibition she organizes, was selected as one of the best exhibitions of 2021. Harris’ current exhibition, Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins, is on view at GMOA through May 29. | More

In March, Laurie Cumbo was appointed to the Commission of the Department of Cultural Affairs in New York City. | Courtesy of DCLA


Mayor Eric Adams announced the appointment Laurie Cumbo as Commissioner for the New York City Department of Culture (DCLA), he oversees arts and culture funding for nonprofit organizations in the city’s five boroughs. Executives from many organizations that rely on DCLA for funding made enthusiastic comments about Cumbo at the announcement. New York has a sizeable arts budget (the mayor’s plan calls for $145 million for 2023, up from $213 million for 2022) that rivals funding for the federal government’s National Endowment for the Arts nationwide ( President Biden’s 2023 budget request is $203.5 million). Cumbo’s background includes politics, education and museums. Among highlights, she founded the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn in 1999. Cumbo also taught at the Pratt Institute (2001-11) before representing the 35th District on the New York City Council (2014-21) and serving as Majority Leader (2018-21). Throughout her career, some of Cumbo’s pronouncements and political positions have drawn negative media coverage and have been viewed as controversial by pro-immigrant and Jewish and Asian American communities, concerns that resurfaced with news that her appointment was imminent. | Hyperallergic and New York Times


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is providing $1.25 million to support the Black Baltimore Digital Database (BBDD), an artist-founded project Derrick Adams. The two-year scholarship is financially sponsored by the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center. | More

Rendering by Derek Fordjour, “Sonic Boom”, 2022, site-specific installation, covering more than 5,400 square feet, MOCA Los Angeles. | Courtesy of the artist and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Photo by Elon Schönholz. Digital rendition of Zorawar Sidhu

public art

“Sonic Boom”, a site-specific installation by Derek Fordjour debuted on March 28 on the outside of MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. The monumental mural is part of the museum’s outdoor series of artworks, Building Art. Featuring drum majors and majorettes, the work pays tribute to the marching bands of HBCU, particularly the Jackson State University band known as the Sonic Boom of the South. | More

Guyanese-British artist hey locke was tapped to create four sculptures for the niches in the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Procession, Locke’s annual Tate Britain Commission, is currently on view in London until January 22, 2023. The Met Project debuts Sept. 16, according to Art Newspaper

More news

Artist, author and scholar Nell Irvin Painter, donated over 500 art books to the East Orange Public Library. The collection includes volumes on black artists, art history and various movements, and has increased EOPL’s selection of art books tenfold, according to a library spokesman. Painter resides in Newark, NJ, and is the Chairman of the Board at MacDowell, the artist’s New Hampshire home. | Daily Essex News

Savannah College of Art and Design announced a new minor in sneaker design, describing the program as “the very first”. | More

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