BY Victoria L. Valentine
PUB Culture Type [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”14″]IT WAS A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM, a celebration of two important women in art—Alma Thomas (1891-1978) and Thelma Golden.[/perfectpullquote]
The artist and the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem were both born Sept. 22. Thomas would have been 125. To mark the milestone, the Studio Museum, which is currently presenting an exhibition of Thomas’s paintings and drawings, had a birthday party. The special breakfast and exhibition viewing was hosted by Golden. The gathering, on the first day of fall, was a birthday celebration and so much more. It kicked off an art season that is shaping up to be a rewarding one for black female artists, curators and scholars.
Early that morning, the MacArthur Foundation announced its 2016 fellows. Art historian and curator Kellie Jones and Baltimore-based bead artist Joyce J. Scott were among the 23 selected to receive MacArthur “genius” grants. That evening, Julie Mehretu‘s new exhibition opened at Marian Goodman Gallery in Chelsea. “Hoodnyx, Voodoo, and Stelae” features new paintings and a new monograph will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Meanwhile, Mehretu covers the latest edition of Cultured magazine.
Speaking of magazines, curator Sarah Lewis guest-edited the summer issue of Aperture magazine. “Vision and Justice” explored the African American experience through photography and was so popular that it sold out. After a second printing, more copies of critically recognized issue became available this month, just in time for “Vision and Justice: The Art of Citizenship,” Lewis’s exhibition at Harvard. “Examining the contested relationship between art, justice, and African American culture from the 19th through 21st century in the United States,” the show reflects the Aperture issue and complements a course she teaches. Lewis also curated “Race, Love, and Labor” at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, including artists Endia Beal, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Deana Lawson, and Xaviera Simmons.
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