“Brick House” Sculpture Puts Black Female Strength on Display

By CultureBanx Team

  • A 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman will grace NYC’s High Line

  • Simone Leigh’s art pieces sell for $40,000 to $125,000

CBx Vibe: “Brick House” Commodores

Manhattan’s elevated outdoor walkway, the High Line will open its first section solely dedicated to art. High Line announced its inaugural project for the Plinth will be a 16-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman by artist Simone Leigh. The art piece is titled “Brick House”, and is a reference to the 1977 disco-funk classic Motown hit by the Commodores.

Why This Matters: Leigh is beginning to garner worldwide attention for her work across sculpture, video and installation. She specializes on the intersection of African American feminism, as it relates to  political and economic environments. Her work now sells from anywhere between $40,000 to $125,000.

Philadelphia Art Collector Challenges Black Artists Prices

By Cheryl McGinnis

  • Dr. Barnes owned 3 Horace Pippin pieces

  • Pippin’s work is about the atrocities and social injustices of slavery in America

CBx Vibe: “Some More” Future

The Barnes collection in the city of brotherly love is home to one of the greatest groups of impressionists, including art from Renoir, Matisse and Picasso. Dr. Albert C. Barnes curated his collection from 1912-1951 and includes important pieces of African art.

Why This Matters: While Dr. Barnes did amass an envious collection, that included African art and artifacts and Native American pottery and jewelry, was he really was committed to African American artists? It seems that a man who had “deep holdings” of important artists, was woefully short on black artists within the region of Pennsylvania and the U.S. in general.

Can Blockchain Fuel Black Art Sales?

By Jonathan Etheart

  • $500 million spent on 100 paintings at New York art auctions in 2018

  • Blockchain is expected to handle up to $60 billion in transactions by 2024

CBx Vibe: “Face the World” Nipsey Hussle

There's been a recent spending spree on paintings by black artists highlighted with the sales of Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Flesh & Spirit" for $30.7 million and Kerry James Marshall's "Past Times", which was purchased by Diddy for $21.1 million. As art continues to be both a strong alternative investment option and increasingly popular for the black elite, can cryptocurrencies and Blockchain change the art landscape?

Why This Matters: Wealthy people all over the world continue to buy art as both showcases of their deep bank accounts and to diversify their investment portfolios.  While cash is still king, cyptocurrencies are becoming an increasingly more prevalent way to make purchases and blockchain is becoming the trusted ledger of record. 

As the black elite expands (think Diddy, Swizz Beatz, and Jay Z), what they’re putting their money into art collections they intend to pass on to their children. In order to stay ahead of the curve they will need to pay attention to the many art focused funds on the market and look to buy new pieces with cryptocurrencies. This may be a safer alternative for purchasing art because it ensures the transactions are tracked using blockchain technology.  It will be a way to prove undisputed ownership over generations and also provide an opportunity to even purchase digital art.  

Exactly how does this work?  Cryptocurrency creates scarcity and blockchain technology generates an official record. So as someone buys physical or digital art, the pieces will have certain digital "authentic" copies and everything will be tracked via the blockchain system. It ensures anyone can access the receipts and inventory of art a person owns digitally. 

Black Art History Refuses to Die

By Cheryl McGinnis

  • Art market is based on artists being exhibited in galleries and museums

  • The women of Gees Bend art is compared to the quilts of male mid-century artists

CBx Vibe: “Woke” Yoshi Flower

I believe it is important to contemplate the recent news that African American artists are finally getting a foothold into the art market. There’s also been a lot of focus on how difficult black art dealers are hard to come by. One must ask themselves why and what needs to change by taking a trip down art history lane.

Why This Matters: The art market is a difficult one to understand, penetrate and to predict. So much of it is based on which artists are being exhibited not only in important galleries, but also university museums. At university and college museums is where typically where one finds scholarship. Students can visit the exhibits with their art history classes and on their own. They have professors who may have advised on a particular exhibit. Thus making the artist and their work live on through art history.

Some of my favorite American artists, the women of Gees Bend Alabama. These African American women created from a sheer need to provide warmth for their families, some of the best works of art America has seen. A new generation of both male and female African American artists are finding inspiration, roots, and a pathway to a future of black art.

So many people look at Gees Bend today and immediately compare the quilts to white male mid-century artists. As if to say “yes” they do matter because unbeknownst to these women, they were creating patterns like the educated, white male artists who ruled the mid-century art world.

I am truly grateful that Amelia Peck, on of the curators, puts it into perspective this way: “To say that they look like abstract paintings is an easy, though superficial, way to understand Gee's Bend quilts. The women making these quilts never saw the abstract paintings that their work supposedly created,” Peck said.

Baltimore Museum of Art Leads a Rebalancing of Representation

By CultureBanx Team

  • Baltimore Museum of Art sold seven pieces in its collection

  • The museum used the proceeds to purchase works by artists of color

CBx Vibe: Twofifteen” Black Thought

The Baltimore Museum of Art is rebalancing its permanent collection by selling seven pieces where they’ve had a deep representation in their collection in order to build enough capital to purchase works by artists of color. The museum is trying to rebalance systematic underrepresentation of black artists in its collection. What does this mean for the strategy other museums have in developing their collections?

Why This Matters: The contemporary art market is waking up to the strength of African American artists posthumously or who are developing work now. The recent purchase of Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times” for $21 million shifted the market and further highlighted the increased competitiveness of the market. Collections have not typically held these sorts of works and are facing the reality that the art world isn’t made up entirely of white male artists.

Traditionally, collections have been driven by a relatively small network of dealers and galleries. They may or may not have networks that give them access to black artists. That is pushing collections to expand their networks to get a better finger on the pulse of who’s next in the art world. To increase their effectiveness at this, museums may to asses their staffing to ensure they have people who have broad networks that include artists who have been historically excluded from museums’ collections.

Art Basel Awakens to African American Art

By CultureBanx Team

  • Kunstmuseum in Basel hosted solo exhibitions by 2 African American artists

  • Art Basel can provide overlooked black artists with European exposure

Prices are undeniably rising for black works of art and the Art Basel fair is no different. Art Basel can be an important opportunity to provide black artists who have been historically overlooked with European exposure that can have a lasting impact.

Why This Matters: The fair arrives on the heels of P. Diddy’s purchase of Kerry James Marshall’s 1997 painting “Past Times” at Sotheby’s last month for $21.1 million. This was a new auction record for a living African American artist. During Art Basel two paintings by Marshall sold for a combined price estimated at $10 million. Mark Bradford’s paintings from 2001 and 2017 sold for $3.85 million and $2.5 million, respectively.

We still have to ask the question what took so long and why was it so hard to get here? The market for work by African American artists “is at an inflection point globally right now—that’s a fact. And it’s not going away,” Tim Blum of Blum & Poe told ArtNet.

Beyond the convention center where the art fair took place, the city’s Kunstmuseum hosted solo exhibitions by two African American artists Sam Gilliam and Theaster Gates. Several dealers point to a growing number of wealthy African American collectors who are helping to set new price points.