Museum adds five treasures of Alabama's African-American history

Museum adds five treasures of Alabama's African-American history

A group of Alabama’s historic treasures has a new home in Montgomery. Five pieces by African-American artists from the state are joining the permanent collection of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and are currently on display in the gallery. They were acquired through a partnership with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a group dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting African-American artists of the South. Angie Dodson, MMFA’s new director, called this one of the most significant acquisitions in the museum’s history—which is saying a lot since MMFA was founded in 1930. She said these pieces thrust the museum forward, “toward a broader American art history narrative, a deeper Alabama cultural history.”

Souls Grown Deep Announces Four New Museum Acquisitions

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF) announced today that four museums have acquired works from its foremost collection of artworks by artists from the African American South: the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and The Phillips Collection. With the addition of these four museums, the foundation has now placed more than 350 works by over 100 artists in 16 institutions, primarily through a combination of gift/purchase. The collection transfer program is designed to strengthen the presentation of African American artists from the Southern United States in the permanent collections of leading museums across the world.

Gee’s Bend Quilters – Boykin, Alabama: Sacred Spirituals of Gee’s Bend

Gee’s Bend Quilters – Boykin, Alabama: Sacred Spirituals of Gee’s Bend

This release brings us music from the isolated African-American community of Gee’s Bend in the heartland of Alabama State: a collection of 19 traditional sacred spirituals sung by a close-knit group of four quilters (all bearing the surname Pettway, which implies a sibling connection). The tradition of quilting in that region goes back to the 19th century, and the singing that accompanies this activity is regarded as a healing for the soul; as one member of the quartet, China Pettway, also puts it: “while quilting, I sing because it’s a sound of whistling humming God gave me”.

Raina Lampkins-Fielder Named Curator of Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Maxwell L. Anderson, President of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, today announced the appointment of Raina Lampkins-Fielder as Curator, effective February 13, 2019. Based in Paris, Lampkins-Fielder most recently served as Artistic Director and Curator at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art (MBAC). Dr. Anderson stated, in making the announcement: “The Souls Grown Deep Foundation remains committed to distributing the bulk of its collection to leading art museums over the next several years. With Raina’s appointment, we are broadening our mandate to include museums abroad alongside museums across North America, and to expand international awareness of the contributions of artists from the African American South.”

Toward a Fuller American Art History — The Modern Art Notes Podcast

Toward a Fuller American Art History — The Modern Art Notes Podcast

This week’s episode spotlights two strikingly different approaches to addressing gaps in our understanding of American art history by more fully including African-American artists in our national narrative. First, Souls Grown Deep Foundation president Maxwell Anderson discusses his organization’s project to document, preserve and promote the work of artists from the African-American South and to more fully include their cultural traditions within American art. Then, Kellie Jones, an art history professor at Columbia University, discusses the Getty Research Institute’s new African American art history initiative. 

Why American artists should benefit from the resale of their works - The Art Newspaper

Why American artists should benefit from the resale of their works - The Art Newspaper

In the US, authors, musicians, actors, and others in the creative industries have royalties and residuals that reward their enduring stake in the redistribution of their intellectual property, when properly enforced. Yet while visual artists are entitled to royalties on commercial reproduction, there is currently little to no legal recourse for them to benefit from the resale of their work.

BLACK LIVES MATTER: MET MUSEUM

BLACK LIVES MATTER: MET MUSEUM

An assemblage with political overtones and undertones of history—a show that reaffirms the truth that black lives matter. This exhibition presented thirty paintings, sculptures, drawings and quilts by self-taught contemporary African-American artists to celebrate the 2014 gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art of works of art from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. The artists represented by this generous donation all hail from the American South.

Souls Grown Deep: the foundation helping to preserve black artists - The Guardian

Souls Grown Deep: the foundation helping to preserve black artists - The Guardian

The Atlanta-based group boasts work by roughly 160 artists of colour and a string of deals with major US museums hints at a vital shift in the art world.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, Purvis Young, a self-taught artist from Miami, roamed the inner city streets of Overtown, scouring for cardboard, wooden crates and secondhand doors to use as canvas for his expressive paintings. He learned the chops of art history—from Rembrandt to Van Gogh—through library books. He was often called an outsider artist and would paint trains, trucks and railroads to suggest an escape from inner city life, while his pieces told visual tales of racism, poverty and hypocrisy.

Could Incorporating As a Town Save Gee’s Bend, Alabama? - CityLab

Could Incorporating As a Town Save Gee’s Bend, Alabama? - CityLab

In the 1920s, the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, made quilts from spare scraps of cloth to keep their families warm. In the 1960s, Civil Rights leaders declared the quilts to be unlike any they’d ever seen, and helped locals sell them by mail order for $25 each. Now, the quilts of Gee’s Bend live in the permanent collections of major museums from coast to coast, valued at tens of thousands of dollars each. They are widely acknowledged as masterpieces of American art.

Souls Grown Deep Aims to Shift Momentum in Favor of Black Artists in US Museums — Nonprofit Quarterly

Souls Grown Deep Aims to Shift Momentum in Favor of Black Artists in US Museums — Nonprofit Quarterly

NPQ has for some time been following trends that reflect a lack of diversity in US art museums, as well as the many initiatives being developed by individual institutions and funders to reconfigure the museum landscape. These efforts include diversifying the artists represented, diversifying the executives and curators who oversee collections and exhibitions, and even diversifying the trustees who serve on the boards of nonprofits arts groups.