Latest News in Black Art: Roxane Gay Named Board President at Performance Space, Alexis Assam Joins Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as Assistant Curator, Emma Amos Catalog Wins Gold Medal & More


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


Author and Art Collector Roxane Gay is the new board president at Performance Space New York. | Photo by Reggie Cunningham



BESTSELLING AUTHOR and art collector Roxane Gay is the new president of the board at Performance Space New York. Located in the East Village, the nonprofit describes itself as “the birthplace of contemporary performance as it is known today.” Gay’s books include “Hunger,” “Difficult Women,” and “Bad Feminist.” A contributing opinion writer at The New York Times, she announced a new publishing imprint in May, Roxane Gay Books at Grove Atlantic. She also has a Substack newsletter called The Audacity. Gay has weighed in on the work of Kara Walker, Julie Mehretu, and Calida Rawles. She wrote the foreword for “Frick Madison: The Frick Collection at the Breuer Building” and an essay by Gay appears in Mickalene Thomas’s forthcoming monograph. She is also an avid art collector. Gay has said she owns works by Mehretu, Thomas, Walker, Sadie Barnett, Bisa Butler, Tracy Emin, Alexandra Grant, Hans Haacke, Jenny Holzer, Kahlil Robert Irving, Barbara Kruger, Lorraine O’Grady, Jenny Saville, Tschabalala Self, Yinka Shonibare, and Brenna Youngblood, among others. “I prioritize work by Black artists, and then women artists and queer artists and artists of color,” Gay told Artnet News in April. “And then the very, very last thing I collect is white men. I think I have one piece by a white guy. I mean, they’re fine… actually no, I have a couple pieces, but those are my priorities.”

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond announced the appointment of Alexis Assam (left) to the position of Regenia A. Perry Assistant Curator of Global Contemporary Art. Assam joins VMFA from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she was the Constance E. Clayton Curatorial Fellow in the Contemporary Art department.

Artist Meleko Mokgosi has been named 2021-22 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Jointly sponsored by the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) and the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the fellowship includes seminars, talks, and studio critiques with graduate art students in conjunction with the creation of a new body of work Mokgosi will present in a solo exhibition at SLAM. Mokgosi is an associate professor at the Yale School of Art, where he serves as co-director of graduate studies in painting/printmaking.

Six major museums announced the 2021-22 class of Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellows. The 22 new fellows include, Art Institute of Chicago: Taj Pollard, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design; High Museum of Art: Nailah Barnes, Spelman College; Sojourner Hunt, Emory University; and Nyaradzai Mahachi, Auburn University; Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Kiko Thomas, University of California, San Diego; Museum of Fine Arts Houston: Tatyana Neal, Texas Southern University; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Logan Crompton, Kansas City Art Institute; and Philadelphia Museum of Art: Morgan Lloyd, Camden County Community College, Blackwood, N.J.; Alissa Roach, Temple University; and Zakiyah Stewart, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

IMAGE: Above left, Assistant Curator Alexis Assam. | Photo by Sandra Sellars, © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts


Awards & Honors

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia was recognized by Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) Awards Committee for its exhibition catalog “Emma Amos: Color Odyssey.” Edited by exhibition curator Shawnya Harris, the Emma Amos catalog received Best in Show in the 2021 Publications Design Competition and a gold medal in the Books and Catalogues category. The exhibition also received an honorable mention in the Exhibitions category.

In addition, Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) announced winners of its annual awards for museum professionals, including Ahmad Ward, who won the 2021 Museum Leadership Award. Ward is executive director of Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park on Hilton Head Island, S.C., which is recognized as the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the United States.

Harlem-based painter Jordan Casteel made the The Root 100, the media outlet’s 2021 list of “the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45.”


More News

Oprah Winfrey released her annual Favorite Things List on Amazon highlighting gift ideas from small businesses owned by women and people of color. The 2021 selections include Faith Ringgold‘s The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles puzzle. In her review of the product Winfrey said: “This 1,000-piece puzzle depicts African American artist Faith Ringgold’s painting of powerful women like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks holding a sunflower quilt. I‘m proud to say I own the original!”

In Washington, D.C., the D.C. Council approved the reappointments of four members of the city’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, including Natalie Hopkinson and Cora Masters Barry. Both advocated for racial equity in the distribution of grants, raising the ire of council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who in turn delayed the advancement of their nominations. | Washington Post



The Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is recruiting a new director. The museum “explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on Africa, Asia, Pacific, and the Indigenous Americas – past and present.” Applications open Oct. 15-Nov. 15, 2021. | More Info

George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is seeking an assistant/associate professor of museum education and director of the Museum Education Program for a renewable tenure-track appointment. Review of applications begins Dec. 1, 2021, and will continue until the position is filled. | More Info

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas is accepting applications for the position of curator. Application Deadline: Open until filled. | More Info


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