Black Art Breaking News: Smithsonian Appoints Museum of American Latino’s First Director, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Recognized for Curatorial Excellence, Serpentine Pavilion Design by Theaster Gates Revealed

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

Valerie Cassel Olivier. | Photo by Travis Fullerton, courtesy of Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Awards and Honors

Valerie Cassel Olivier receives the 2022 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Cassel Oliver is curator of modern and contemporary art for the Sydney and Frances Lewis family at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The award includes a prize of $25,000. She will be honored at a gala dinner on April 6. | Following

United States Artists announced 2,022 fellows, 63 artists in 10 disciplines, each receiving $50,000 in unrestricted cash. This year’s awardees include: Architecture and Design – Germane Barnes, Nina Cooke John, and Dreaming about the combine harvester (Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers); Arts and crafts – Indira Allegra and Alison Croney Moses; Media – American artist and Salome Asega; Traditional arts – Peggie L Hartwell; Visual art – Lonnie Holley, Olu Oguibe, Jordan Weber, and Peter Williams (1952-2021). | Following


The Smithsonian announced Jorge Zamanillo is the first director of the future Museum of the American Latino. He joined HistoryMuseum Miami in 2000 and since 2016 has served as Executive Director and CEO. At age 19, when Zamanillo was an undergrad, he traveled to Washington, D.C., and spent days at the National Mall touring the Smithsonian’s free museums. The experience changed his academic path. He dropped out of his music major and took up anthropology and eventually earned a master’s degree in museum studies. Zamanillo begins at the Smithsonian on May 2. The beginnings of the Museum of the American Latino will take place in about ten years. | New York Times

Mary Madison Patton (right) has been promoted to assistant director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. She has worked at the museum for a decade, most recently serving as Director of Business Operations. The announcement was made with new news on the management of the museum. After an 18-month search, Cara Courage was chosen as the museum’s new executive director. She joins MOCAD this spring from Tate in the UK, where she directs Tate Exchange, a platform for socially engaged art that reflects contemporary ideas and issues. | Following

Adeze Wilford (left) joins the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami as curator, a position supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Since 2018, Wilford has served as Associate Curator at The Shed, a New York City cultural institution that produces and presents art across all disciplines. Wilford hosted “Howardena Pindell: Rope/Fire/Water” at The Shed in 2020. It officially begins at MOCA on February 14. | instagram

The African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP) has announced Nina Elisabeth Ball is the museum’s new director of programming and education. Poet, performance artist, educator and activist, Ball is also known as “Lyrispect.” She joined the AAMP on January 31. | instagram

The Birmingham Museums Trust Board in Birmingham, UK, has announced two new Trustees—Tony Simpson, a partner at Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm; and Liam Darbon, head of omnichannel commerce at the Tate, the London museum institution that houses four art galleries. The council oversees nine sites, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Soho House. | Following

IMAGES: Top right, Marie Madison-Patton. | Courtesy of MOCAD; At left, Adeze Wilford. | Photo by Rachell Morillo

THEASTER GATES, Black Chapel: Serpentine Pavilion 2022. | Design rendering, interior view. © 2022 Theaster Gates Studio, Courtesy Serpentine

public art

The first look at “Black Chapel”, the Serpentine Pavilion commission designed by Theater doors, has been revealed. Created with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates, the structure “is inspired by the architectural typologies of chapels and great ovens in Stoke-on-Trent, England. A single source of light from an oculus creates a sanctuary-like setting for reflection and conviviality as the pavilion once again becomes a platform for live performances and public gatherings. The London Pavilion opens to the public on June 10 and remains visible until October 16. Visits are free. | Following

Fifty years ago, Faith Ringgold installed a public artwork at Rikers Island in New York. “For the Women’s House” (1971) is permanently transferred to the Brooklyn Museum where it was featured in the 2017 exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85”. With Rikers awaiting closure in 2027, Diana Budds reports on what will happen to the rest of the art at the city jail, where conditions are sadly inhumane. It’s quite a collection, with works by famous artists like Ringgold and incarcerated artists, including around 60 murals. | Braked


Artist Deborah Roberts created a collage portrait of Trayvon Martin for the cover of a special issue of New York titled “10 years after Trayvon” (31 Jan-13 Feb). Edited by Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Morgan Jerkins, the magazine asks, a decade later, “Are Black Lives Safer?” | Following

Works by artist Amoako Boafo are on the cover of the fall/winter 2021 issue (issue 66) of Indie, the Berlin magazine for art, fashion, opinion and culture. Inside the issue, the artist is in conversation with Tate curator Osei Bonsu. | Following

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