Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
BY ANDREW LASANE
For a special exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art titled"Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue," legendary comedian (and television’s greatest dad) Bill Cosby and his wife of 50 years, Camille, will donate over 300 works of art from their private collection. The Cosbys have spent the last four decades collecting works by African American artists, including Faith Ringgold, Elizabeth Catlett,Gerard Sekoto, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Keith Morrison, Augusta Savage, and Alma Thomas, and now their collection will be shown alongside important works from the museum’s own collection in an exhibition curated by David C. Driskell, Adrienne L. Child, Christine Mullen Kreamer, and Bryna Freyer.
Kehinde Wiley’s paintings often blur the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation. Rendered in a realistic mode–while making references to specific Old Master paintings–Wiley creates a fusion of period styles, ranging from French Rococo, Islamic architecture and West African textile design to urban hip hop and the “Sea Foam Green” of a Martha Stewart Interiors color swatch. Wiley’s slightly larger than life size figures are depicted in a heroic manner, as their poses connote power and spiritual awakening. Wiley’s portrayal of masculinity is filtered through these poses of power and spirituality.
African American Art Books:
A Drawing in the Sand: The Story of African American Art
Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America
David C. Driskell (EDT)
Talking with Tebé: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist
Mary E. Lyons (EDT)
Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence
African Americans in the Visual Arts
African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond
Richard J. Powell, Virginia Mecklenburg, & Theresa Slowick
Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories
Come Look With Me: Discovering African American Art for Children
Jr. Rolling, James Haywood
A Century of African American Art: The Paul R. Jones Collection
Amalia K. Amaki (EDT)
The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art
Andrea D. Barnwell
Fine Artist/Illustrator Loïs Mailou Jones featured in 1936 documentary, A Study of Negro Artists.
You can view more of Jones’s work, including the textile design she is holding, at the Loïs Mailou Jones website
As a young girl in Florida in the 1890s, Augusta enjoyed nothing more than playing with clay. She would happily sculpt it into little figures: cows, chickens, and ducks. Augusta’s mother didn’t mind but her father, a stern preacher, felt the girl was wasting time on idle nonsense.
With her mother’s support, Augusta’s sculpting talent blossomed as she grew into a young woman. Eventually, Augusta found herself at a crossroad. She wanted to pursue a career as an artist, but to do so she would have to leave behind all she knew. With only her passion to guide her, Augusta headed to New York City to follow her dream wherever it might take her.
Award-winning author Alan Schroeder deftly weaves together known historical details to create a compelling portrait of this unique Harlem Renaissance sculptor. Warm, inviting paintings capture both Augusta Savage’s struggles and resilience as she skillfully carved out her own special place in art history.
Dark Rapture (James Baldwin) by Beauford Delaney, 1941, oil on canvas or board, 34 x 28 inches
James Baldwin by Beauford Delaney, 1963, Pastel on Paper, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute
Portrait of James Baldwin by Beauford Delaney, 1945. Oil on canvas. 22 x 18 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Portrait of James Baldwin by Beauford Delaney, 1965, oil on canvas, 25.5 by 21.25 inches, signed lower left.
Jacob Lawrence, born today in 1917, worked on all 60 panels of his iconic Migration Series at once.
[Jacob Lawrence. In the North the Negro had better educational facilities. 1940-41]
Floyd Norman, first African-American artist at Disney, 1958.
Floyd E. Norman is an American animator who worked on the Walt Disney animated features Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, andThe Jungle Book, along with various animated short projects at Disney in the late ’50s and early ’60s.