Museum Boards And Donors Need To Examine Where Endowments Are Invested

Museum Boards And Donors Need To Examine Where Endowments Are Invested

It’s no secret that museums face increased scrutiny for both the company they keep and the promises they make. In recent years, eye-catching demonstrations by artists have thrown major gifts from “tainted” sources into sharp relief, suggesting museums themselves should be mindful of how they make their money. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, museums made strong public commitments to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion—but two years later museum workers have questioned whether actions reflect words. One way that museums can strengthen their reputations and follow through on their public declarations is by aligning the billions of dollars in their endowments with their values and missions.

Gee’s Bend Quilting Comes Into Fashion, but How Are These Brand Partnerships Working for the Artisan Community?

Gee’s Bend Quilting Comes Into Fashion, but How Are These Brand Partnerships Working for the Artisan Community?

When Gee’s Bend quilting makes its way to the Met Gala — courtesy of a Greg Lauren jacket worn by Questlove — fashion is definitely paying attention. While the historic quilt work from the small Black community that’s still known to residents as Gee’s Bend (though it’s officially Boykin, Alabama) has been tradition since the 19th century, a wave of recent brand collaborations has brought the rural community to the runway.

Step Into the Jam-Packed Studio of Lonnie Holley, Whose Latest Works Include Ceramics and Musical Compositions

Step Into the Jam-Packed Studio of Lonnie Holley, Whose Latest Works Include Ceramics and Musical Compositions

Since the beginning of 2022, Lonnie Holley has been preparing for three solo shows: two currently on view at Dallas Contemporary and Edel Assanti in London, and one opening next month at Blum and Poe in Los Angeles. Holley also spent several weeks in February in rural England composing a new song cycle, “The Edge of What,” for Artangel. Timed to the Edel Assanti opening, Holley staged a one-night performance of the music at London’s Stone Nest last month. (Artangel also made a 25-minute film of the artist at work at the Orford Ness nature reserve, a former military testing site on the Suffolk coast.)

Sanford Biggers and Amy Sherald Join the Board of Directors of Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership

Sanford Biggers and Amy Sherald Join the Board of Directors of Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership

Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership announced today that Sanford Biggers and Amy Sherald have been elected to its Board of Directors, joining an eminent group of artists, scholars, curators, activists, and nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. Both artists have strong connections to the communities and artists for whom Souls Grown Deep advocates. Sherald is a painter celebrated for her portraits of contemporary Black American life, and found inspiration in a dress design with echoes of Gee’s Bend quilts for her 2018 official portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama. Biggers is an interdisciplinary artist with quilters in his own family history, for whom Black Southern quilt making – and Gee’s Bend in particular – has been a driving creative influence, with repurposed antique quilts serving as a prominent medium and motif throughout his career.

A life saved by art: Lonnie Holley on making work inspired by trauma, 'garbage'—and being stranded on an English island

A life saved by art: Lonnie Holley on making work inspired by trauma, 'garbage'—and being stranded on an English island

In the 1990s, Lonnie Holley wrote an autobiographical sketch, a stream-of-consciousness memoir of extreme poverty and hardship. Early in the text, he writes about a woman who took him away from his mother as an infant before, when he was four, “the lady sold me to another lady for a pint of whiskey”. The trauma that follows is relentless, including physical abuse, horrific racism and exploitation and jail time, before his life was saved by art. Now, he is widely celebrated for both the sculptures he initially made from found objects in his yard in Birmingham, Alabama, and, more recently, his performance practice, based on improvised voice-and-piano compositions—impressionistic, autobiographical and deeply moving.

Tate Modern And Other International Institutions Acquire Artworks from Souls Grown Deep Collection For The First Time

Tate Modern And Other International Institutions Acquire Artworks from Souls Grown Deep Collection For The First Time

On Monday, Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership announced that Tate Modern in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and the Pinault Collection in Paris and Venice will acquire artworks from its collection. This marks the first time that works from the collection will be acquired internationally.

The work of Black fiber artists highlights the ties between land ownership, generational wealth, and self-determination

The work of Black fiber artists highlights the ties between land ownership, generational wealth, and self-determination

Mainstream narratives about the U.S. tend to portray Black American history exclusively as a struggle against oppression and enslavement, presenting Black people as lacking any agency over their own lives. However, Black historians and cultural advocates are resisting the flattening and erasure of Black history through the preservation of Black agrarian culture, in which Black-owned land and agro-cultural farming practices are a source of freedom, pride, and belonging.

Questlove wears Gee’s Bend design during Oscar win for ‘Summer of Soul’

Questlove wears Gee’s Bend design during Oscar win for ‘Summer of Soul’

When Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for “Summer of Soul,” his film about the Harlem Cultural Festival -- the 1969 historical celebration of Black history, culture and fashion in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park -- he accepted the award wearing a jacket with panels designed and hand-sewn by the Quilters of Gee’s Bend.

Famed Gee’s Bend Quilters are now on the runway and online

Famed Gee’s Bend Quilters are now on the runway and online

A blockbuster exhibition in the early 2000s made the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, famous for their visually stunning quilts. But the success didn’t translate into meaningful economic gains for their isolated community. Now, new opportunities are helping change that. With support from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the quilters now have sold-out Etsy shops and collaborations with high-profile fashion designers. 

The Heart Has Its Own Intelligence: Legacies of the Gee’s Bend Quilters

The Heart Has Its Own Intelligence: Legacies of the Gee’s Bend Quilters

Gee’s Bend—or Boykin, as it was officially renamed in 1949—sits at a hairpin turn along the Alabama River in the heart of the state’s Black Belt, a region that was named for its rich topsoil and that remains inextricably intertwined with histories of enslavement, dispossession, and civil rights organizing. Gee’s Bend is small, a hamlet, really; its inhabitants, many of whom are descended from Africans enslaved on Joseph Gee’s cotton plantation in the early 19th century, number fewer than 300 people today. But the community’s cultural footprint, in contrast to its population, is massive: Gee’s Bend is the birthplace of the most significant intergenerational quilting tradition in the history of the United States and is now also acknowledged as one of the most important sites of 20th century American abstraction.