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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.

January/February 2016

30 Americans
Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit, Michigan
October 18, 2015–January 18, 2016

“Identity, triumph, tragedy, pride, prejudice, humor and wit. 30 Americans: An exhibition bound by one nation and divided by 30 experiences. A dynamic showcase of contemporary art by African American artists, this exhibition explores issues of racial, political, historical and gender identity in contemporary culture. See more than 50 paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and video drawn from the Rubell Family Collection, created by many of the most important African American artists working over the past 30 years, including Kerry James Marshall, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Carrie Mae Weems, Robert Colescott, Glenn Ligon and Lorna Simpson.”

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 (1975–91), 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.”

Nari Ward: Sun Splashed
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Miami, Florida
November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016

“In the fall of 2015, Pérez Art Museum Miami will present a mid-career retrospective of Nari Ward (b. 1963, Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica; lives in New York). This exhibition, Sun Splashed, will be the largest survey of the artist’s work to date and will offer a close consideration of his diverse production. Sun Splashed will examine Ward’s career through interrelated frameworks that reveal the ongoing investigations, both material and intellectual, that have guided his practice across more than 20 years. Rather than chronologically, this exhibition will be organized around vital points of reference for the artist, including urban space, performance and the body, the dynamics of power and politics, ideas of migration and movement, vernacular traditions, and his native Jamaica.

Ward’s practice is defined by its embrace of varied media and in particular the recurrent use of found objects, which imbue his works with a tactile and visceral relationship to history and the real world. The ambitious scale of his works and his continued experimentation with new materials and media will be brought to the fore in this exhibition, which will feature mixed-media collages, photography, assemblage, sculpture, interactive works, video, and architectural installations.”

Drawn From Courtly India: The Conley Harris and Howard Truelove Collection
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 6, 2015–March 27, 2016

“This exhibition presents masterful drawings from the royal courts of northern India. Lovingly amassed by artist Conley Harris and architectural designer Howard Truelove, the collection features practice sketches, preparatory drawings, subtly modeled scenes, and lightly colored compositions created between the 1500s and 1800s. With images at different stages of completion, the collection allows for a fascinating look at Indian workshop practice. Although the majority of the drawings served as studies for paintings, they are accomplished works of art in their own right. Included are striking portraits, vivid battle scenes, illustrations of popular religious stories, and explorations of love. Gentle yet robust lines convey the creativity of workshop-trained artists with compelling immediacy—from the delicate shading of a ruler’s facial hair to the strong contours of a god’s upstretched arm in battle. Not only do these drawings highlight the artists’ expert handling of medium, they illuminate how workshops labored in artistic collaboration and transmitted skills from one generation to the next. Drawings reveal what paintings conceal, and the works in this exhibition offer new ways of looking and thinking about the art of Indian drawing. By presenting works at distinct moments during the creative process, Drawn from Courtly India showcases how the Indian draftsman transformed a blank sheet of paper into a masterful work of art.”

Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Before Now After (Mama, Mummy and Mamma)
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York, New York
November 23, 2015–

“Over the course of the next five years, a series of public art installations by key American artists will appear across from the Whitney’s new building and the southern entrance to the High Line, on the facade of 95 Horatio Street. Njideka Akunyili Crosby is the third artist to present work as part of the series, which was initiated by the Whitney in partnership with TF Cornerstone and the High Line. This is the artist’s first solo presentation in an institution in New York.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby (b. 1983; Enugu, Nigeria) is a Los-Angeles based artist who makes large-scale, representational work that combines collage, drawing, painting, and printmaking. Her work routinely fuses both Nigerian and American influences and source material, reflecting on contemporary African life (often her family) along with her experience as an expatriate living in the U.S, and the inherent difficulty of navigating these two realms. The works simultaneously become intimate while more broadly exploring the cultural complications of the dual worlds that she inhabits.

Akunyili Crosby’s new work for the billboard, Before Now After (Mama, Mummy and Mamma), continues her ongoing exploration of her relationship to her family, and in this case to her sister, mother, and grandmother specifically. The image is closely based on an existing painting entitled Mama, Mummy and Mamma from 2014, now expanded for this site. Like much of her work, the composition fuses both a portrait (in this case of her sister), photographs of both her mother and grandmother, and an elaborate array of objects arranged carefully on the table, suggesting a still life composition. Additionally, the work’s placement at the foot of the High Line seems to implicate the viewer within Akunyili Crosby’s composition—now able to peer into this carefully composed and invented world reflective of her complex personal history.”

Filed under: CDP Highlights