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African Art Outlook for July

Posted in Events  |  July 06, 2019

African Art Outlook for July
As interest in contemporary African art continues to grow, we identified several events that are worth visiting in July. From Cape Town to New York, we’ve got you covered with a quick guide of what to discover this month. So, we’ve rounded up our favorite events of July featuring African and Africa related art practices and projects.

Exhibitions

Lorna Simpson: Darkening is still on view at Hauser & Wirth in New York, United States until July 26, 2019

Debuting a suite of new large-scale paintings, alongside recent photographic collages and sculpture, the exhibition finds Simpson returning to and building upon themes and motifs at the center of her practice: explorations focused on the nature of representation, identity, gender, race, and history. For more than 30 years, Simpson’s powerful works have entangled viewers in an equivocal web of meaning, drawing upon techniques of collage through the use of found materials, often culled from the pages of vintage Jet and Ebony magazines. In ‘Darkening,’ Simpson continues to thread dichotomies of figuration and abstraction with vast and enthralling tableaux that subsume spliced photos and fragmented text, abstracted beyond comprehension. Equally arresting and poetic, the paintings engage viewers with layers of paradox, capturing the mystifying allure of an arctic landscape in inky washes of blacks, grays, and startling blues.

Theaster Gates: The Black Images Corporation is still on view at Gropius Bau in Berlin, Germany until July 28, 2019

Theaster Gates has conceived a participatory exhibition highlighting the works of two photographers, Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton, which is on display on the first floor of the Gropius Bau. The project explores the fundamental legacy of Johnson Publishing Company archives, which feature more than four million images and have contributed to shape the aesthetic and cultural languages of the contemporary African American identity. “For this show, I hope to tease out the creation of female iconic moments by Sleet and Sutton and also offer small forays into the lives of everyday people through never-before-seen images from the Johnson Collection,” stated Gates. “The archives speak about beauty and black female power. Today it seems to me a good time to dig into the visual lexicon of the American book and show images that are rarely seen outside of my community.”

Still here tomorrow to high five you yesterday is still on view at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa until July 31, 2019

Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday…, an exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, explores the different ways in which artists, performers, writers and architects tackle the complexities inherent within the dual concepts of Utopia and progress. Exploring emergent spaces, which exist both in the realm of the mind and in the physical unknown, the exhibition points critically to the mirages, metaphors, stereotypes and matrixes of progress. Through the works of contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora, the exhibition engages with the phenomenon of travel and migration through imagined, alternative realities that reference both fixed and immaterial locations. Musician Sun Ra speaks of unknown things, impossible things, ancient things and potential things. In this way, the exhibition enters alternative stratospheres, allowing viewers to explore the multiple simultaneous utopianisms that inhabit our perceptions and worlds.

Biennials

58th Biennale di Venezia is still open at Giardini and Arsenale in Venice, Italy from May 11 to November 24, 2019

The 58th International Art Exhibition is titled May You Live in Interesting Times. It’s named after a phrase that has been invoked in speeches by Western politicians for over a hundred years as an ‘ancient Chinese curse’, even though such a curse never actually existed. Curator Ralph Rugoff describes this ‘counterfeit curse’ as an ‘uncertain artefact... at once suspect and rich in meaning’, noting that it suggests ‘potential lines of exploration that are worth pursuing at present, especially when the “interesting times” it evokes seem to be with us once again.’ The Exhibition includes 89 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Four countries are participating for the first time at the Biennale Arte: Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Festivals

Detroit Art Week 2019 will take place at various locations in Detroit, United States from July 17-21, 2019

The second edition of Detroit Art Week – produced by Olu & Company – has expanded to include five days of programming. As a citywide celebration of contemporary art and culture, DAW invites visitors and residents to attend any of the 34 exhibition openings, 16 studio visits, 10 performances, 10 panel discussions, as well as 7 special programs, featuring 150+ artists and community members. DAW is open to the public and includes both free and ticketed events. DAW 2019 will present Young Curators, New Ideas V, an exhibition of 12 independent curators who will transform 12 hotel rooms into mini contemporary art galleries. YCNI V shines a light on the cultural, artistic, social and political transformations initiated by the creative and curatorial practices of those identifying as woman, Black, POC, LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming.