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Article

Anderson, Akili Ron  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 19 February 1946, in Washington DC.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, engraver, photographer, video artist, glassmaker, decorative designer. Theatre design.

AfriCobra Group.

Akili Ron Anderson attended the Corcoran School of Art and Howard University in Washington DC where he lives and works. He is a member of AfriCobra (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) founded in ...

Article

Andrews, Benny  

Deborah Cullen

(b Plainview, GA, Nov 13, 1930; d Brooklyn, New York, Nov 10, 2006).

African American painter, collagist, printmaker, and art advocate. Benny Andrews grew up under segregation in the rural South, one of 10 children in a sharecropper’s family. After graduating from high school, he served in the US Air Force. Afterwards, through the GI Bill of Rights, he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received his BFA. In 1958, he moved to New York. Andrews received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship (1965–6) as well as a CAPS award from the New York State Council on the Arts (1971). From 1968 to 1997, he taught at Queens College, City University of New York and created a prison arts program that became a national model. In 1969, Andrews co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), an organization that protested against the Harlem on my Mind exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Between ...

Article

Andrews, Benny  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 13 November 1930, in Plainview (Georgia); died 10 November 2006, in New York (New York).

Painter, collage artist, installation artist, sculptor, photographer, illustrator, draughtsman, watercolourist, print artist. Figures, portraits, interiors with figures, landscapes, animals.

Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, Rhino Horn Group

African-American artist Benny Andrews was the second of ten children born to George and Viola Andrews in the small rural farming town of Plainview, Georgia. He served in the US Air Force during the Korean War. Upon his honorable discharge, Andrews moved to Chicago and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating with a BFA in 1958. He then moved to New York, where, in 1969, with Cliff Joseph and Valerie Maynard, he founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), the aim of which was to force the major museums to include work by African-American artists in their shows. Andrews helped organize protests of several major museum shows including the Whitney Museum of American Art’s ...

Article

Bailey, Radcliffe  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1968, in Bridgeton (New Jersey).

Painter, sculptor, mixed media artist.

Contemporary art.

Bailey was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he continues to live and work. Since receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Atlanta College of Art in 1991, where he concentrated primarily on sculpture, Radcliffe Bailey’s work has taken on many different forms and utilised a wide array of media. Bailey’s conceptual exploration of history and memory as filtered through his complex relationship to America and Africa has led the artist’s work to evolve into installation, mixed-media, drawing, painting, and assemblage. His work is made up of two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms of various scale, ranging from smaller curio cabinet-like objects to monumental installations.

Bailey incorporates painting, photography, and found objects to create engaging works that evoke the past, the present, and the magical unknown. Through his signature use of layering imagery, text, marking, and found objects, Bailey unveils important themes within his work. Often incorporating culturally evocative elements, such as bits of wood or textile, each element is pieced together to create an inquiry into Bailey’s own experience of history through the lens of his racial and global perspective....

Article

Bearden, Romare  

Dennis Raverty

(b Charlotte, NC, Sept 2, 1911 or 1912; d New York City, Mar 12, 1988).

African American painter, collagist, and author. Bearden is best known for his collages, which often addressed urban themes (e.g. The Dove). He was a founding member of Spiral, a group of African American artists who started meeting at his downtown New York studio in 1963. He also published essays and cartoons, designed book jackets, magazine and album covers, and is widely regarded as the first African American artist to successfully enter the mainstream of the contemporary art world. The posthumously published book he co-authored with Harry Henderson, A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present (1993), in a very short time became an almost canonical text in the field.

Bearden’s family moved permanently to Harlem, a predominately black neighborhood of New York City, in 1920. His mother, Bessye Bearden, was the New York correspondent for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, and through her Bearden was introduced to many of the artists, writers, and intellectuals associated with the ...

Article

Bearden, Romare Howard  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 2 September 1911, in Charlotte (North Carolina); died 12 March 1988, in New York.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, lithographer, screen printer, engraver, collage artist, newspaper cartoonist, illustrator, art theorist. Religious subjects, figure compositions, local figures. Humorous cartoons, frontispieces, stage sets...

Article

Blayton-Taylor, Betty  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 10 July 1937, in Williamsburg (Virginia).

Painter, collage artist.

Betty Blayton-Taylor studied at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York and the Art Students League, New York. In 1968, she set up a children's art centre, the Children's Art Carnival, New York, under the aegis of the Museum of Modern Art. Blayton-Taylor paints abstracts based on the movement of dense colour and organic forms that suggest the human skeleton, as in ...

Article

Conwill, Houston  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947.

Painter, sculptor (including bronze), installation artist.

Houston Conwill studied at Howard University, Washington DC. He is based in New York. He won the Rome Prize, awarded by the American Academy in Rome. The object of his work is to recreate the link between Afro-American culture, its African roots and the black diaspora around the world, as can be seen in ...

Article

Driskell, David Clyde  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 June 1931, in Eatonton (Georgia).

Painter, draughtsman (including ink), collage artist, print artist, sculptor, collector, art historian. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, figure compositions, scenes with figures, landscapes. Designs for stained glass.

David C. Driskell earned a BFA at Howard University in ...

Article

Hendricks, Barkley L.  

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 16 April 1945, in Philadelphia; died 18 April 2017, in New London (Connecticut).

Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman, photographer, collage artist. Figures, nudes, portraits, landscapes.

Barkley L. Hendricks studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Yale University. He began teaching at Connecticut College, New London, in 1972. He painted life-size solitary figures such as Cool Raymond or New Orleans Niggah, where great care is given to the details of his models’ dress whilst their facial expressions suggest a sometimes melancholy remoteness. His permanent variations on the theme of African American figures invite us to question first impressions, says Floyd R. Thomas, curator of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio: ‘He challenges us to explore our own reactions to the people whose portraits he paints. Why do I perceive them as I do? How do we differ; how are we the same? What are they thinking and why?’ An effect of presence-absence is achieved by showing his figures against a monochrome background, often the white on white he is famous for. The contrast between white suits and black skin, the shadow cast by a hat, the reflection caught in sunglasses ‘colour’ their presence. Their challenge to the viewer is the greater for the size of the canvas, which brings them face to face with the person represented. He took part in the exhibitions ...

Article

Hollingsworth, Alvin  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1931, in New York.

Painter (mixed media), watercolourist, draughtsman, print artist, sculptor, illustrator. Figure compositions, figures, nudes, landscapes. Murals.

Spiral Group.

Alvin Hollingsworth was born into a family of West Indian origin. He studied at the Art Students League and New York City College, graduating in ...

Article

Jackson, Oliver Lee  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1935, in St Louis.

Painter, watercolourist, sculptor (wood/marble), draughtsman, collage artist, print artist (including dry-point). Monuments.

Oliver Lee Jackson studied at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, and the University of Iowa from where he graduated with a master's degree in fine arts in ...

Article

Jaffe, Lee  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1950, in New York.

Painter, draughtsman, installation artist. Multimedia.

Lee Jaffe lives in Venice California. His work is composed of various types of materials, he uses aesthetic images that reference different cultures or sub-cultures with socio-political connotations. His installation ...

Article

Jones, Benjamin or Ben  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1942, in Paterson (New Jersey).

Painter, sculptor, installation artist.

Ben Jones studied at Paterson State College, Wayne (New Jersey), at the Pratt Institute in New York and at New York University. He has taught at Jersey City College. In 1967...

Article

Ligon, Glenn  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1960, in the Bronx (New York City).

Painter, draughtsman, installation artist, engraver, lithographer.

Glenn Ligon earned art qualifications from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, and the Wesleyan University, Middletown (Connecticut). He is based in New York. Ligon relies heavily on language, in his exploration of African American racial and cultural identity. He works from quotes found in Afro-American literature, the media and slaves' autobiographies. He may stencil them black on black or cover them in black paint or soot. At the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, in ...

Article

Loving, D. Alvin Jr. (Al)  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1935, in Detroit; died 2005, in New York.

Painter, collage artist. Murals.

Al Loving Jr. studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He lived and worked in New York from 1968. Loving was at first an expressionist. Later he painted boxes and cubes in lively colours in a geometric abstract style, paying attention to their volumes. From the 1970s he made collages: at first these were squares of cloth or leather; in the 1980s they became painted spirals of cut-up paper, the spiral representing life and growth. He also executed various murals, notably one for the Millander Station on the Detroit People Mover transport network....

Article

Marshall, Kerry James  

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

Middleton, Samuel M. (Sam)  

American, 20th century, male.

Active in the Netherlands.

Born 1927, in New York.

Painter (including mixed media/gouache), draughtsman, watercolourist, collage artist, print artist, lithographer. Scenes with figures, landscapes with figures. Posters.

Samuel Middleton grew up in Harlem and travelled widely before settling in the Netherlands. He studied at the Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. After spending many years in Amsterdam, he settled in Schagen in the far north of the Netherlands. He paints in the abstract expressionist tradition, splattering masses of paint on abstract landscapes based on pure line....

Article

Outterbridge, John Wilfred  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1933, in Greenville (North Carolina).

Painter, sculptor, installation artist.

John Wilfred Outterbridge served in the American army in Korea and spent some time in Germany. Between 1956 and 1959 he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Center School of Design, Los Angeles. He was director of the Watts Towers Arts Center ...

Article

Pindell, Howardena  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 14 April 1943, in Philadelphia.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, assemblage artist, mosaicist, photographer, video artist.

Howardena Pindell studied at Boston University, then at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. She has lived and worked in New York since 1967. After working as a conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, she has been teaching at the State University of New York at Stony Brook since 1979. She is actively engaged in politics and the feminist movement and was one of the founders of the A.I.R Gallery, a women artists’ cooperative in New York....