College Art Association

CAA News Today

The CAA Committee on Diversity Practices highlights exhibitions, events, and activities that support the development of global perspectives on art and visual culture and deepen our appreciation of political and cultural heterogeneity as educational and professional values. Current highlights are listed below; browse past highlights through links at the bottom of this page.

September/October 2015

Doris Salcedo
Guggenheim Museum
New York, New York
June 26–October 12, 2015

“This major retrospective will survey the searing, deeply poetic work of Doris Salcedo (b. 1958, Bogotá, Colombia). Over the past three decades, Salcedo’s practice has addressed the traumatic history of modern-day Colombia, as well as wider legacies of suffering stemming from colonialism, racism, and other forms of social injustice. Originating in lengthy research processes during which the artist solicits testimonies from the victims of violent oppression, her sculptures and installations eschew the direct representation of atrocities in favor of open-ended confluences of forms that are fashioned from evocative materials and intensely laborious techniques. Many of her works transmute intimate domestic objects into subtly charged vessels freighted with memories and narratives, paradoxically conjuring that which is tragically absent. The Guggenheim’s presentation of Doris Salcedo will occupy four levels of the museum’s Tower galleries. It will feature the artist’s most significant series from the late 1980s to the present, as well as a video documenting her remarkable site-specific public projects and architectural interventions.”

Flawlessly Feminine: Women Who Graced the Cover of JET Magazine and Works by Willie Cole
Golden Lady: Works by Mario Moore
Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
July 9–December 2, 2015

“The pairing of two innovative exhibitions honoring women who graced the cover of JET Magazine, and drawings of young women with their favorite literature, is on display at Winston-Salem State University’s Diggs Gallery through December 2. The exhibits feature works by renowned artist Willie Cole and emerging artist Mario Moore.”

Black Like Who?
Birmingham Museum of Art
Birmingham, Alabama
July 11–November 1, 2015

“Issues regarding visual depictions of blackness in American art have been such highly scrutinized topics in both artistic production and museum exhibitions that one could ask what else is there to examine that has not already been sufficiently analyzed? Black Like Who? answers that inquiry with a question that considers who renders imagery of blackness and contemplates the various reasons why.

Drawing on the Museum’s collection and select loans from Birmingham private collectors, the exhibition surveys a variety of historical and contemporary works, and explores how various representations of blacks in American art have been influenced at particular historical moments by specific political, cultural, and aesthetic interests, as well as the motives and beliefs of the artists. Comprising work by both white and black artists, the diverse works examined in Black Like Who? range from romanticized Civil War depictions painted in the early 20th century by Gilbert Gaul (1855–1919) to a contemporary print by Iona Rozeal Brown (born 1966) that blends hip-hop culture with late 19th-century Japanese art.”

Deana Lawson: Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
September 5, 2015–January 10, 2016

“The first installment of the biennial Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series features the work of New York–based photographer Deana Lawson. For nearly a decade, Lawson has been investigating the visual expression of global black culture and how individuals claim their identities within it. Her staged portraits, carefully composed scenes, and found images speak to the ways in which personal and social histories, familial legacies, sexuality, social status, and religious-spiritual ideas may be drawn upon the body.
Lawson began her work in and around her Brooklyn neighborhood but has recently branched out nationally and internationally to places such as Louisiana, Haiti, Jamaica, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While her themes have remained consistent, her landscapes have shifted and broadened—the global scope of the pictures, in her words, “concern and affirm the sacred black body” and speak to a collective psychic memory of shared experiences.
Lawson starts her process by researching communities she has chosen for their cultural histories. Once on site, strangers met through chance encounters become her subjects, selected for a particular expression, mannerism, style of dress, or cultural or religious affiliation. The resulting images are often inspired by multiple trips or planned well in advance. They draw upon Western and African diasporic conventions of self-presentation, popular culture, mythology, and religious rituals and beliefs—emphasizing dialogues among the past, present, and future of black culture.”

Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980
Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016

Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980 focuses on the parallels and connections among an international scene of artists working in—and in reference to—Latin America and Eastern Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. The radical experimentation, expansion, and dissemination of ideas that marked the cultural production of these decades (which flanked the widespread student protests of 1968) challenge established art-historical narratives in the West. Artists from Prague to Mexico City developed alternative and ever-expanding networks of distribution and organization, via Paris, Vienna, and Venice, to circumvent the borders established after World War II, local forms of state and military repression, and Western accounts of artistic mastery and individualism. One major transformation across Latin American and Eastern European art scenes was the embrace of institutional critique and an emphasis on the creation of art outside a market context.
The exhibition brings together landmark works from MoMA’s collection by Eastern European artists including Geta Brặtescu, Tomislav Gotovac, Ion Grigorescu, Sanja Iveković, Dóra Maurer, and the anti-art collectives Gorgona, OHO, Aktual, and Fluxus East, as well as Latin American artists such as Beatriz González, Antonio Dias, Lea Lublin, and Ana Mendieta. Particular attention is paid to the group of Argentine artists clustered around the influential Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, including Oscar Bony, David Lamelas, and Marta Minujín, who confronted the aesthetic and political implications of mass media communication—including film, television, and the telex—during a vibrant, experimental period of technological innovation and political tension.
Featuring series of works and major installations, several of which are on view for the first time, Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980 highlights multiple points of contact, often initiated and sustained through collective actions and personal exchanges between artists. The exhibition suggests possible counter-geographies, realignments, alternative models of solidarity, and new ways of thinking about art produced internationally in relation to the frameworks dictated by the Cold War.”

Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms
The Asia Society
New York, New York
September 11, 2015–January 3, 2016

“This exhibition of more than 100 gold objects focuses on the wealth of the golden age of Butuan (pronounced boot’ wan), a polity on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao that rose to commercial prominence in the tenth century and declined in the thirteenth century. Works from ancient polities beyond Butuan, such as those on the islands of the Visayas and Luzon, bear witness to the early use of gold throughout the Philippines. A selection of the most extraordinary objects from a 1981 discovery—now in the collection of the Ayala Museum in Makati City and on view in the United States for the first time—forms the core of “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms.” The exhibition also includes a few important loans from public and private collections including the Central Bank of the Philippines. Featuring spectacular gold necklaces, chains, waistbands, bangles, ritual bowls, implements, and ceremonial weapons, the exhibition showcases the rich artistry and material wealth of Butuan and related island polities.”

Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
September 13, 2015–January 3, 2016

“This fall, the Art Institute of Chicago offers a glimpse into one of the world’s most intimate religious traditions. Bringing together over 100 artworks from private and public collections in India and the United States, Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings is the first major U.S. exhibition to explore the unique visual culture of the Pushtimarg, a Hindu denomination from Western India.
Founded in the 16th century by the saint and philosopher Shri Vallabhacharya (1479–1531), the Pushtimarg is a religious community dedicated to the devotion of Shrinathji, a divine image of the Hindu god Krishna as a seven-year-old child. The religious and artistic center of the sect is based in the temple town of Nathdwara (literally, “The Gates of the Lord”), near Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan, India. Scholars and artists have long been fascinated by the distinctive and highly aestheticized manner in which members of this group venerate Shrinathji, as well as by the legacy of miniature paintings created as a record of such worship. This exhibition showcases centuries of pichvais (textile hangings) and miniature paintings that have been created by and for the Pushtimarg in devotion of Shrinathji.
The exhibition takes visitors through a year in Nathdwara, where the daily worship of Shrinathji is characterized by the changing seasons and a bustling festival calendar. Gallery by gallery, visitors are introduced to the pichvais used as backdrops for Shrinathji in his shrine, each uniquely suited to a particular season or festival. The accompanying miniature paintings offer further insight into the Pushtimarg sect: its mode of veneration, history, and important priests and patron families. Enhancing the experience of the sect’s rich culture are festival and devotional music, a shrine reconstruction, and touchscreen kiosks that allow visitors to page through religious manuscripts, an artist’s sketchbook, and a historic photo album. The exhibition concludes with an exploration of the works, sketches, and observations of prominent 20th- and 21st-century Nathdwara artists who have kept the painting tradition flourishing through the present day.
Gates of the Lord comprises drawings, pichvais, paintings, and historic photographs borrowed chiefly from two major private collections in India, the Amit Ambalal Collection (Ahmedabad, India) and the TAPI Collection (Surat, India). These rare loans are augmented by important objects from a number of public and private collections within the United States, including the Art Institute’s own permanent collection, in order to present the richest possible story of Pushtimarg art and tradition.”

Kongo: Power and Majesty
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
September 18, 2015–January 3, 2016

“Central Africa’s Kongo civilization is responsible for one of the world’s greatest artistic traditions. This international loan exhibition will explore the region’s history and culture through 134 of the most inspired creations of Kongo masters from the sixteenth through the early twentieth century.
The earliest of these creations were diplomatic missives sent by Kongo sovereigns to their European counterparts during the Age of Exploration; they took the form of delicately carved ivories and finely woven raffia cloths embellished with abstract geometric patterns. Admired as marvels of human ingenuity, such Kongo works were preserved in princely European Kunstkammer, or cabinets of curiosities, alongside other precious and exotic creations from across the globe.
Kongo luxury arts from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century—many of which have never been exhibited before—will give an unprecedented historical backdrop to the outstanding work produced by master sculptors active in the same region during the nineteenth century. The array of figurative representations they produced range from miniature ivory finials for the staffs of office of Kongo leaders to the carved-wood commemorative shrine figures positioned above their burial sites.
The presentation will culminate with a gathering of fifteen monumental Mangaaka power figures produced in the Chiloango River region during the second half of the nineteenth century; these will include the celebrated example acquired by the Met in 2008, the original catalyst for the exhibition. For the first time, this electrifying form of expression will be understood as a defensive measure conceived by Kongo leaders to deflect Western incursions into this region of Central Africa.
With works drawn from sixty institutional and private lenders across Europe and the United States, Kongo: Power and Majesty will relate the objects on view to specific historical developments and will challenge misconceptions of Africa’s relationship with the West. In doing so, it will offer a radical, new understanding of Kongo art over the last five hundred years.”

Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn, New York
October 2, 2015–January 3, 2016

“The painter Francisco Oller contributed greatly to the development of modern art in both Europe and the Caribbean and revolutionized the school of painting in his native Puerto Rico.
Oller emerged from the small art world of San Juan in the 1840s, spending twenty years in Madrid and Paris, where he was inspired by the art of Gustave Courbet and joined the avant-garde circles of such artists as Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet. While European Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism formed a critical jumping-off point for Oller’s aesthetic, his most important source of inspiration was Puerto Rico, where he painted tropical landscapes, still lifes with indigenous fruits and vegetables, and portraits of distinguished artists and intellectuals.
This is the first U.S. exhibition to present Oller’s work within both its New and Old World contexts.”

Walid Raad
Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
October 12, 2015–January 31, 2016

“MoMA presents the first comprehensive American survey of the leading contemporary artist Walid Raad (b. 1967, Lebanon), featuring his work in photography, video, sculpture, and performance from the last 25 years. Dedicated to exploring the veracity of photographic and video documents in the public realm, the role of memory and narrative within discourses of conflict, and the construction of histories of art in the Arab world, Raad’s work is informed by his upbringing in Lebanon during the civil war (1975–90), and by the socioeconomic and military policies that have shaped the Middle East in the past few decades.
The exhibition focuses on two of the artist’s long-term projects: The Atlas Group (1989–2004) and Scratching on things I could disavow (2007–ongoing). Under the rubric of The Atlas Group, a 15-year project exploring the contemporary history of Lebanon, Raad produced fictionalized photographs, videotapes, notebooks, and lectures that related to real events and authentic research in audio, film, and photographic archives in Lebanon and elsewhere. Raad’s recent work has expanded to address the Middle East region at large. His current ongoing project, Scratching on things I could disavow, examines the recent emergence in the Arab world of new infrastructure for the visual arts—art fairs, biennials, museums, and galleries—alongside the geopolitical, economic, and military conflicts that have consumed the region. The exhibition emphasizes the importance of performance, narrative, and storytelling in Raad’s oeuvre. The artist will give lecture-performances in MoMA’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium multiple times a week for the duration of the exhibition.”

Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern
Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
October 25, 2015–February 15, 2016

“This major retrospective of Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguayan, 1874–1949) features works ranging from the late 19th century to the 1940s, including drawings, paintings, objects, sculptures, and original artist notebooks and rare publications. The exhibition combines a chronological display with a thematic approach, structured in a series of major chapters in the artist’s career, with emphasis on two key moments: the period from 1923 to 1933, when Torres-García participated in various European early modern avant-garde movements while establishing his own signature pictographic/Constructivist style; and 1935 to 1943, when, having returned to Uruguay, he produced one of the most striking repertoires of synthetic abstraction.
Torres-García is one of the most complex and important artists of the first half of the 20th century, and his work opened up transformational paths for modern art on both sides of the Atlantic. His personal involvement with a significant number of early avant-garde movements—from Catalan Noucentismo to Cubism, Ultraism-Vibrationism, and Neo-Plasticism—makes him an unparalleled figure whose work is ripe for a fresh critical reappraisal in the U.S.”

Filed under: CDP Highlights