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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.

July/August 2015

Hidden Histories in Latin American Art
Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix, Arizona
May 9, 2015–August 23, 2015

“This exhibition features Latin American and Latino artists who investigate stories or histories marginalized by the media, historical events and present circumstances that we might rather forget. These artists explore neglected yet pressing histories, such as the violence against women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; the marginalization of indigenous communities in Guatemala; the fate of civilians “disappeared” by military and paramilitary groups in Colombia; and the lynching of Latinos in the southern United States beginning in the mid-19th century and continuing into the mid-20th.

These works allude to politics, though they touch upon different historical moments in diverse regions of Latin America as well as the special circumstances confronting Latinos living in the United States. Each story is different, but what unites them is the means by which they are told: through intentional processes of veiling and fragmentation. These artists engage in a kind of storytelling in which the part stands in for the whole. They also endow everyday objects with potent symbolism, often made all the more powerful through collaged imagery. In this way, a handcrafted dress, a felt blanket, a wooden barricade, a wardrobe, and even part of an urban glass wall become vehicles for exploring larger histories, made present before the viewer but only partially revealed.

Hidden Histories includes works by Luis González Palma (Guatemala, born 1957), Annie Lopez (US, 1958), Teresa Margolles (Mexico, 1963), Graciela Sacco (Argentina, 1956), Doris Salcedo (Colombia, 1958), and Vincent Valdez (US, 1977).”

Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, California
June 7, 2015–September 27, 2015

“Noah Purifoy (1917–2004) lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California. A founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, his earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts Rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, a landmark group exhibition about the riots that traveled to nine venues between 1966 and 1969. In line with the postwar period’s general fascination with the street and its objects, Purifoy’s 66 Signs of Neon constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts, a strategy that profoundly impacted artists such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi.

In the late 1980’s, after eleven years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions, bringing art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice to the Mojave desert. He lived there for the last fifteen years of his life, creating ten acres of large-scale sculpture constructed entirely from junked materials.

The exhibition explores a pivotal yet under-recognized figure in the development of postwar American Art whose effect is only beginning to be fully understood.”

Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence
Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, New York
May 1, 2015–November 1, 2015

“Zanele Muholi meshes her work in photography, video, and installation with human rights activism to create visibility for the black lesbian and transgender communities of South Africa. Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence is the most comprehensive museum presentation to date of Muholi’s works and features several of the artist’s ongoing projects about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities, both in her home country and abroad.

The exhibition presents eighty-seven works created between 2007 and 2014, including Muholi’s Faces and Phases portrait series, which uses firsthand accounts to speak to the experience of living in a country that constitutionally protects the rights of LGBTI people but often fails to defend them from targeted violence. Also included is the new series Weddings and the video Being Scene, both of which focus on love, intimacy, and daily life within Muholi’s close-knit community.”

Arts Aids America
ONE Archives Gallery & Museum and the West Hollywood Library
West Hollywood, California
June 6, 2015–September 6, 2015

Art AIDS America examines 30 years of artistic production made in response to the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Surveying the early 1980s to the present, this exhibition reintroduces and explores a spectrum of artistic responses to HIV/AIDS from the politically outspoken to the quietly mournful, considering how the disease shifted the development of American art away from the conceptual foundations of postmodernism and toward a more insistently political and autobiographical voice.

Presented in two parts at the ONE Gallery and the West Hollywood Library as a part of One City One Pride, this iteration of the exhibition comprises a select preview of the larger show opening at the Tacoma Art Museum in October 2015. In West Hollywood, works on view at the Library explore a wide range of creative expressions from the early years of AIDS to the present, while the presentation at the ONE Gallery focuses special attention on California-based artists.”

Hoy toca el Prado (Touching the Prado)
Museo Nacional del Prado
Madrid, Spain
January 20, 2015–October, 18 2015

The Prado Museum and the AXA Foundation, with the collaboration of ONCE have devised a pioneering initiative aimed essentially at people with visual disabilities. Curated by Fernando Pérez Suescun, the exhibition comprises six embossed paintings, which are the most representative of the Prado Museum, belonging to diverse genres and artistic styles (religious paintings, portraits, still life’s, mythology and traditional scenes). They include Touch me Not by Correggio; The Forge of Vulcan by Velázquez; The Parasol by Goya; The Mona Lisa from Leonardo da Vinci’s studio; Gentleman with his Hand on his Chest by El Greco; and Still Life with Artichokes, Flowers and Glass Vessels by Van der Hamen. The last three are real scale reproductions and the rest are on a lower scale. Visitors can touch them with their own hands, offering them the unique possibility of capturing their beauty down to the very smallest detail.

Coinciding with the presentation of Touching the Prado, the Museum has launched a new audioguide service that includes audio descriptions of fifty-three works in its collection. These detailed explanations of the figures, themes and other elements depicted in the works are specifically aimed at visually impaired visitors. Fourteen descriptions of masterpieces in the collection are particularly detailed. Audio descriptions are available free for visually impaired visitors at the Audioguide desks.

Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College
Birmingham Museum of Art
Birmingham, Alabama
June 13, 2015–September 6, 2015

“In 1938 Atlanta-based artist Hale Woodruff was commissioned to paint a series of murals for Talladega College, Alabama, one of the first colleges established for blacks in the United States. Installed in the institution’s newly constructed Savery Library, the six murals portray noteworthy events in the rise of blacks from slavery to freedom. Though he painted the murals for a local audience of students and faculty, Woodruff intended their impact to reach beyond Talladega’s campus.

They attracted national attention. Cultural leaders in the African American community, in particular, championed Woodruff’s murals, adopting the project as a statement of pride and hope for racial equality. Today the murals remain symbols of the centuries-long struggle for civil rights. This project, a collaboration between the High Museum of Art and Talladega College, conserves these works and presents them to a national audience for the first time.”

Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945
Museum of Jewish Heritage
New York, New York
May 29, 2015–October 2, 2015

“Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi German regime promoted racial health policies that sought to eliminate all sources of biological corruption to its dominant “Aryan” race. Among the groups persecuted as threats to the national health were Germany’s homosexual men. Believing them to be carriers of a “degeneracy” that weakened society and hindered population growth, the Nazi state arrested and incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps tens of thousands of German men as a means of terrorizing them into social conformity.

This exhibition examines the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality. The Nazis’ efforts left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.”

Baye Fall: Roots in Spirituality, Fashion, and Resistance
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan
Brooklyn, New York
June 18, 2015–September 27, 2015

Baye Fall: Roots in Spirituality, Fashion, and Resistance is a photographic series that visually engages the Baye Fall, an enterprising sub-group of Senegal’s notable Sufi Muslim community, the Mourides. These images encourage viewers to contemplate Sufism in a West African context by exploring the community’s reverence for Baye Fall’s founder and leader, Cheikh Amadou Bamba, and his most celebrated disciple, Ibrahima Fall, the namesake of this suborder.

An integral part of the cultural fabric of Senegalese society, the Baye Fall possess a unique aesthetic that includes ‘locked’ hair, patchwork garments, symphonic chanting and artisanal leather talismans and prayer beads. Gathering after the evening prayer to sing in collectives calleddahrias, their voices gently resonate throughout the shadows of the night. But perhaps the most distinctive aspect of their religious practice is the incorporation of physical labor as a form of worship.

Through witnessing the everyday lives of the Baye Fall, and the Senegalese cities in which they dwell, this series shows how indigenous ideology and pre- and post-colonial politics have influenced the contemporary spiritual practice of the Baye Fall, as well as their social, economic and political philosophies.”

Royals & Regalia: Inside the Palaces of Nigeria’s Monarchs
Recent Photographs by George Osodi

Newark Museum
Newark New Jersey
February 25, 2015–August 9, 2015

Royals & Regalia: Inside the Palaces of Nigeria’s Monarchs presents 40 visually stunning portraits from a new series by acclaimed Nigerian photographer George Osodi. Exhibited for the first time in the U.S., these vibrant color photographs feature the regional rulers of modern-day monarchies throughout the country. They provide audiences with a rare and intimate look inside Nigeria’s palaces and throne rooms, capturing the personalities of the rulers, the splendor of their dress, and the details of their settings. The near life-size photographs will be shown to dramatic effect along with select examples of prestige dress and regalia from the internationally renowned collections of the Newark Museum.”

“The idea behind this project is to travel around this diverse country and go beyond the portraits to explore the subjects’ environments—being the custodians of our cultural heritage and peace makers—exploring their architecture and fashion with the view to showcase and celebrate them and to mirror the country’s great culture through their personalities.”— Photographer George Osodi

Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life
New York Botanical Gardens
New York, New York
May 16, 2015–November 15, 2015

“This blockbuster exhibition is the first to examine Frida Kahlo’s keen appreciation for the beauty and variety of the natural world, as evidenced by her home and garden as well as the complex use of plant imagery in her artwork. Featuring a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper, this limited six-month engagement also reimagines the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City.

Accompanying events invite visitors to learn about Kahlo’s life and enduring cultural influence through music, lectures, Frida al Fresco evenings, Mexican-inspired shopping and dining experiences, and hands-on art activities for kids. As a complement to your visit, use our new mobile guide to see rare photos and footage, listen to expert commentary, and create your own Frida Selfie to share with friends.”

Filed under: CDP Highlights