Latest Black Art News: 5% of Los Angeles Museum Board Members Are Black, Sonia Boyce, Christina Quarles and Cigna Samson Join New Galleries


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

Artist Christina Quarles is now represented by Hauser & Wirth. Shown in his Los Angeles studio, 2021. | Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London. Photo by Ilona Szwarc


The Los Angeles Times investigated Southern California Arts Organizations—10 museums and 10 performing arts companies to assess their representation on the board of directors in terms of blacks and people of color. The headline reads: “Blacks occupy only 32 of the 585 seats on the board of directors of top performing arts groups in Los Angeles.” Results specific to the museum surveyed revealed that blacks made up 18 of the 334 board members, or just 5.4%, while making up about 9% of LA County’s population. “Widening to include all BIPOC board members, the gap is even more surprising,” the Times reported. “While nearly 74% of LA County is not white, only 19.5% of the museum’s board members are identified as non-white.” | Los Angeles Times

On May 20, the Friends of the National Museum of Latin America (FRIENDS), sent a letter to the secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III, asking that he ensure that the future museum is built on the National Mall. More than 100 “influential supporters”, including John Leguizamo, Ruben Blades, Frankie Miranda and Maria Teresa Kumar, were the first signatories. Now the public can also sign the letter. | Hyperallergic

British artist Sonia Boyce, OBE RA, has joined the Ryan Lee Gallery. | Courtesy of Ryan Lee Gallery


British Afro-Caribbean artist Sonia Boyce, OBE RA is now represented by the Simon Lee Gallery. Boyce represents Great Britain at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. A key figure in the British Black Arts Movement of the 1980s, she very early on produced pastel drawings and photo collages dealing with issues of race and gender. Since the 1990s, she has transformed her practice of “bringing people together in a dynamic social practice that encourages others to speak, sing or move in relation to the past and the present.” Integrating film, photography, print and sound into multimedia installations, Boyce’s practice is fundamentally collaborative and inclusive, fostering a participatory approach that challenges artistic authorship and cultural difference. Boyce is the first black British woman to have her work represented at the Tate. Professor at the University of the Arts in London, she holds the first Chair in Black Art & Design. Boyce is also represented by the Apalazzo Gallery in Brescia, Italy. Her first exhibition with Simon Lee is scheduled for fall 2022.

Hauser & Wirth announced its representation of Christina quarles in collaboration with one of his existing galleries, Pilar Corrias in London. Los Angeles-based Quarles paints flexible and free bodies, contorted and constricted, intertwined and engaged, reflecting the pressures and pleasures of life and the complexities of identity. The images come from her personal experience as a biracial, queer, cisgender woman and resonate universally. Quarles currently has two solo museum exhibitions. “Christina Quarles: Dance by tha Light of tha Moon” at the X Museum in Beijing, China, runs until May 30. The largest presentation of his work to date is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, through September 5. and goes to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, where it opens on February 12, 2022. Hauser & Wirth will present their first solo exhibition with Quarles in the fall of 2022.

White Cube now represents Cinga Samson, a South African artist who lives and works in Cape Town. Samson’s figurative paintings explore themes of power, desire, mortality, and spirituality. In October, he will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York. Samson’s first solo show with White Cube opens in London in 2022.

CINGA SAMSON, “Inyongo 2”, 2020 (oil on canvas, 89 × 104 3/4 inches / 226 × 266 cm, framed). | © Cinga Samson. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube

Prizes and distinctions

Ayana ross won the 2021 Bennett Prize. The $ 50,000 prize recognizes emerging female artists working in figurative painting. She lives and works in McDonough, Georgia.

Textile artist based in New York Malaika Temba received the 2021 Jorge M. Pérez Award from the National YoungArts Foundation, which includes a prize of $ 25,000. | Press release

AIGA, the professional design association, has announced its AIGA 2021 medalists, including Archie Boston Jr., Cheryl D. Miller, and Thomas Miller.


Art Mile, a city-wide digital art exhibit in Detroit (June 14 to July 11) made several lineup announcements this week. Among them, Juana williams is the first Art Mile Curatorial Fellow and will host a special exhibition for curators.


The Black Art Futures Fund awarded $ 75,000 in grants to eight arts organizations, each receiving $ 7,000 to $ 10,000. The beneficiaries are C. Williams Rush Museum of African-American Arts & Culture, Kingstree, SC; Houston Community Music Center; George Floyd Global Memorial Project, Minneapolis; Harlem Needle Arts, New York; Ko-Thi Dance Company, Milwaukee; Selah Gospel Choir, Pasadena CA; Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, New York; and Tiny Farm Wagon, Philadelphia. BFF plans three more funding rounds in 2021. | Artforum

Thanks to Nike, Michael jordan and Jordan Brands today announced grants to three organizations: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture ($ 3 million); Morehouse College, for the school’s journalism and sports program; and Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ($ 1 million). The grants are part of Jordan’s black community’s pledge to fight racism, a 10-year, $ 100 million initiative first announced on June 5, 2020.

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