Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power Reviewed by Amy Ione

Book cover. Soul of a NationReview:
Mark Godfrey, Zoé Whitley, Curators

de Young Museum, San Francisco, 9 Nov. 2019-8 Mar. 2020
Exhibition organized by Tate Modern
Catalog by D.A.P./Tate; 2017, 256 pp., ISBN: 978-1942884170.

In balancing a range of art practices with socio-political realities, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 effectively demonstrates that there isn’t a Black art per se but rather a Black experience that informs what, how, and where Black artists present and re-present. The project also superbly presents the rich contributions of African American artists are an important and integral part of American Art, despite their often being underrepresented in art histories. While the catalog expands one’s understanding of the exhibition immeasurably, I was glad to have the opportunity to engage with the actual size works so as to optimally experience the interweaving of artistic insights and materials with concepts like Black Power, Black Pride and the array of social realities that informed the work (e.g., the Watts riots) [1]. Still, the catalog is invaluable. Reading curator Mark Godfrey’s essay on Black abstraction in the publication before visiting the exhibition primed me to see the socio-political elements through the eyes of individual artists musing about material objects and black identify in tandem. In essence, his essay, co-curator Zoé Whitley’s essay, and the recollections from a number of people associated with this art in the documentation, all of whom were black participants, further underscored that there is a black American culture to celebrate, one that has thrived despite its peripheral place within institutions. Furthermore, the written material demonstrate the value of critically engaging with objects on a number of levels.

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SYMPOSIUM: Collecting the “Uncollectible”: Earth and Site-Specific Sculpture

Presented by the Center for the History of Collecting, Frick Art Reference Library, The Frick Collection, NY
Thursday, May 23, 2019, 2 – 7 p.m.

More information: https://www.frick.org/research/center/symposia
Program PDF

This half-day symposium focuses on collecting site-specific, large-scale, and light-based works by artists including, among others, Walter de Maria, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, Michelle Stuart, and James Turrell. A panel of scholars, curators, collectors, an artist, and a conservator explores related challenges of installation, maintenance, preservation, and ultimate stewardship. Virginia Dwan, Suzaan Boettger, Jarl Mohn, Jessica Morgan, Leonard Riggio, and Michelle Stuart are among the participants. Sponsorship from the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation and Northern Trust has made this event possible.

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Conference: DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Digital Collections

August 19-20, 2019
Overland Park, Kansas (Kansas City Metro Area)

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE: Are you ready to take on a digital preservation project or program, but have been unsure of how to begin? Or have you already begun an initiative and you want to confirm that you are on the right track? The Digital Directions conference delivers a comprehensive introduction to digitization and digital preservation during two days of in-person, focused instruction. Learn the fundamentals and return home ARMED WITH KNOWLEDGE.

Now in its 12th year, Digital Directions provides instruction on good practices and practical strategies for the creation, curation, and use of digital collections. Meet colleagues from institutions large and small who share similar challenges, and interact one-on-one with the faculty of national experts.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The Digital Directions conference is geared toward professionals working with digital collections at archives, libraries, museums, historical organizations, government agencies, corporate archives, and other organizations that steward digital collections. Students are also welcome, and a discounted registration rate is available.

REGISTER NOW and SAVE with the Early-bird Discount!

COMPLETE DETAILS and Registration Information: www.nedcc.org/dd19

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You See More When You Draw (so stop taking photos)

In today’s world of mobile phones and media a visit to a museum is often a passive and superficial experience. Visitors are easily distracted and do not truly experience beauty, magic and wonder.

The Rijksmuseum wants to help visitors discover and appreciate the beauty of art and history through drawing, so #start drawing in the galleries of the museum.