Black Refractions Opens at the KIA September 14

Posted: July 29, 2019

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KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) will open the landmark exhibition Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem on September 14, 2019. It is presented by the American Federation of Arts and the The Studio Museum in Harlem, and is touring the country while the museum completes its new building. The KIA is hosting the exhibition with support from Art Bridges.

The exhibition will spotlight the breadth of The Studio Museum's 50 years of supporting and incubating artists of African descent. One of only six U.S. venues for the exhibition -- and the only Midwest museum -- the KIA is proud to be welcoming art by Kalamazoo native son Titus Kaphar, Kalamazoo College graduate Julie Mehretu, and Kehinde Wiley -- known for his portrait of President Barack Obama, now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Black Refractions will fill all four of the main floor KIA galleries with a diverse array of 91 works created by artists from the 1920s to present.

"The show creates opportunities for dialogue about how artists respond to the social happenings of their time, while also expanding our understanding of American, modern and contemporary art," says KIA Director Belinda Tate. "The artists address universal themes like class, identity, socio-economic power & status, and social justice. "

The KIA will also present two companion exhibitions also opening September 14 and running through December 8: Resilience: Black Artists as Agents of Change and Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan.

The three exhibitions will be supported by a robust schedule of supporting programs, including a curator's talk on Thursday, September 12 with Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and previously with the Studio Museum in Harlem.

The KIA will also welcome visits by Black Refractions artists Steffani Jemison, Adia Millet, and Kori Newkirk (who will also host a workshop in the Kirk Newman Art School October 18-19).

The three exhibitions open Saturday, September 14, and will fill nearly the entire museum with work by artists of African descent. They will be celebrated with a free Community Day Opening from 11 am-5 pm. Family activities from 11 am-3 pm include three of the exhibiting artists exploring and creating art with visitors: Brent Harris, James Palmore and Al Harris. Photographer, actress, and poet Tanisha Pyron will perform an extended spoken word piece several times during the afternoon.

"All together, our fall exhibitions will demonstrate the curiosity and virtuosity of artists who encourage new ways of seeing, understanding, and talking about art, society, and the world," says Tate.

The broader Kalamazoo community will be hosting performances, exhibitions, talks, and artist appearances. Community partners include the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, Black Arts and Cultural Center, Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and Western Michigan University.

Sponsors in Kalamazoo include the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, Discover Kalamazoo,
Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Old National Bank, Stryker, The Stryker Johnston Foundation, and WGVU.

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Black Refractions exhibiting artists:

Derrick Adams, Terry Adkins, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Charles Alston, Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, McArthur Binion, Betty Blayton-Taylor, Chakaia Booker, Frank Bowling, Mark Bradford, Jordan Casteel, Elizabeth Catlett, LeRoy Clarke, Willie Cole, Eldzier Cortor, Noah Davis, Beauford Delaney, Thornton Dial, Leonardo Drew, Melvin Edwards, Meschac Gaba, Sam Gilliam, David Hammons, Lyle Ashton Harris, Maren Hassinger, Barkley L. Hendricks, Richard Hunt, Clementine Hunter, Juliana Huxtable, Steffani Jemison, Lois Mailou Jones, Isaac Julien, Seydou Keita, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Kalup Linzy, Tom Lloyd, Whitfield Lovell, Alvin Loving, Kerry James Marshall, Adia Millett, Wangechi Mutu, Kori Newkirk, Otobong Nkanga, Odili Donald Odita, Chris Ofili, Lorraine O Grady, Jennifer Packer, Howardena Pindell, Robert Pruitt, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Jacolby Satterwhite, Malick Sidibé, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Henry Taylor, Alma Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Bob Thompson, Bill Traylor, James VanDerZee, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Stanley Whitney, Jack Whitten, William T. Williams, Fred Wilson, Hale Woodruff, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

TOP LEFT: Beauford Delaney, Portrait of a Young Musician, 1970, Acrylic on canvas, 51x38 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the Estate of Beauford Delaney 2004.2.27 Photo Credit: Marc Bernier ©2018 Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator. Courtesy American Federation of Arts. TOP CENTER: Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Nwantinti, 2012. Acrylic, pastel, charcoal, colored pencil, and Xerox transfers on paper, 68 - 96 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee and gift of the artist 2012.41.1 ©Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, David Zwirner, and American Federation of Arts TOP RIGHT: Juliana Huxtable, Untitled (Psychosocial Stuntin'), 2015, color inkjet print, 40 - 30 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 2015.8.1 © Juliana Huxtable. Courtesy the artist and American Federation of Arts

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts believes the visual arts are for everyone, and that they inspire, transform, and fulfill. Since 1924, the private nonprofit organization has presented opportunities to the community and visitors from around the world to enjoy and create art. The museum holds more than 5,000 fine artworks in its collection; presents touring and collection exhibitions in 10 galleries; offers four terms of art classes at the Kirk Newman Art School; and houses the KIA Gallery Shop, featuring work by area artists and international artisans.

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