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(LEFT) Jordan Casteel, Kevin the Kiteman, 2016. Oil on canvas 78 - 78 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 2016.37. Photo Credit: Adam Reich ©Jordan Casteel Courtesy American Federation of Arts

(RIGHT) Wangechi Mutu, Hide 'n' Seek, Kill or Speak, 2004, Paint, ink, collage, mixed media on mylar, 48 -42 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum Purchase made possible by a gift from Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn 2004.13.3 ©Wangechi Mutu Courtesy of the artist and American Federation of Arts

September 14 - December 8, 2019

Reflecting nearly 100 years of art history in America, Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem reflects the breadth of The Studio Museum's 50 years of supporting and incubating artists of African descent. The exhibition will fill all four of the main floor KIA galleries.

Black Refractions comprises more than 90 works 77 artists, including Charles Alston, Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, Chakaia Booker, Elizabeth Catlett, Thornton Dial, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith, Whitfield Lovell, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, James VanDerZee, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley.

One of only six U.S. venues for the exhibition -- and the only Midwest museum -- the KIA will also present two companion exhibitions, Resilience: Black Artists as Agents of Change, and Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan.

For the first time, the museum will de-install much of its permanent collection galleries for 12 weeks. Nearly 90% of the museum's exhibition space will offer a unified narrative about the development of Black artists in the 20th and 21st centuries with the understanding that there is no single narrative able to sum up Black artists or their art.

Black Refractions was curated by Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, at The Studio Museum, where she has worked on Regarding the Figure (2017), Fictions, and Their Own Harlems (both 2017-18). Prior to joining the museum in 2017, Choi was the Assistant Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum. She is a PhD candidate in art history at Columbia University, and holds a BA in the history of art from Yale University and an EdM in arts education from Harvard University.

This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the national tour is supported by Art Bridges. A nonprofit organization founded in 1909, the American Federation of Arts is dedicated to enriching the public's experience and understanding of the visual arts.

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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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Norman Lewis, Bonfire, 1962, oil on canvas. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of the Estate of Norman Lewis ©Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

KIA Companion Exhibitions
For the first time, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will de-install most of its permanent collection galleries for 12 weeks, and nearly all of the museum's exhibition space will feature an unprecedented celebration of art created by Black artists.

Curated by Belinda Tate, Resilience: Black Artists as Agents of Change will chronicle the collecting history of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, presenting works from the KIA collection -- now at more than 5,000 objects -- by such seminal American artists as Robert Seldon Duncanson, Grafton Tyler Brown, Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Hale Woodruff, Frank Bowling, and Renee Stout.

A small invitational exhibition of eight artists local to the Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan region, Where We Stand will be co-curated by Denise Lisiecki, director of the Kirk Newman Art School, and Fari Nzinga, PhD, KIA/Kalamazoo College Curatorial Fellow. The show will explore the artists inspirations, career paths, and unique Midwest perspectives, illuminating the area's rich cultural landscape.

The exhibition is made possible in Kalamazoo by Presenting Sponsors: The Kalamazoo Community Foundation and Stryker, with support from the Michigan Humanities Council.

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