Sun April 14, 2019

Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum

Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) presents
Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem
January 16-April 14, 2019

This exhbition explores the vital contributions of artists of African descent and includes over sixty works by more than fifty artists across all media dating from the 1920s to the present, taking over all of MoAD’s major galleries January 16-April 14, 2019.

Through its groundbreaking Artist-in-Residence program, the Studio Museum has supported many distinguished artists at decisive stages in their careers. The exhibition includes artworks by renowned alumni of the residency program such as Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Chakaia Booker, David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley. Black Refractions also presents iconic works by artists Beauford Delaney, Barkley Hendricks, Alma Thomas, and James VanDerZee, among others. A full list is available in the press release below my signature.

Do let me know if you can join us at the press preview on Tuesday, January 15 from 10am-12pm... we'll be joined by the curator from the Studio Museum, Connie Choi, and representatives from the American Federation of Arts, creators of the touring show together with the Studio Museum.

“The Studio Museum in Harlem is a sanctuary, foundation, and steward for artists of African descent around the world,” said Emily Kuhlmann, Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs at MoAD. “The work that we do at MoAD is inspired and upheld by the legacy of the Studio Museum, and we are so honored to be able to share this work with our audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

The traveling exhibition is an important initiative created to share The Studio Museum in Harlem’s collection with audiences throughout the country during the closure of its galleries, as the Museum prepares for the construction of its new home, designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson. MoAD is pleased to be the first venue on the exhibition’s national tour that includes Gibbes Museum of Art (SC), Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (MI), Smith College Museum of Art (MA), Frye Art Museum (WA), and Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UT).

“We are delighted to share the incomparable collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem with audiences across the nation,” said Pauline Willis, Director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts. “Black Refractions highlights historically significant pieces alongside works by some of the most critically important artists in the field today. The AFA is honored to travel this exhibition and spark dialogue around the artistic contributions by artists of the African diaspora.”

“Over the past fifty years, The Studio Museum in Harlem has played a catalytic role across the United States and the world in advancing the work of visual artists of African descent,” said Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum. “Now, we are thrilled to collaborate with AFA in sharing works from our collection during an historic moment in the life of the Museum. Though the doors of our former building may be closed, through Black Refractions we are able to carry our mission to new audiences, maintaining ourselves as a point of contact between artists of African descent and people across the country.”

“Through our collaboration with AFA and these important institutions, we are able to explore the Studio Museum’s collection in new ways, while continuing to generate interest and scholarship around the work of artists of African descent,” said Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection at the Studio Museum. “Black Refractions deepens our ability to share works and engage with new audiences in new environments, providing additional contexts in which we can understand the powerful works in our collection.”

Black Refractions is curated by Connie H. Choi, and MoAD’s presentation is organized by Emily Kuhlmann, Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs, MoAD.

Artists in the MoAD exhibition include:

Terry Adkins, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Dawoud Bey, McArthur Binion, Chakaia Booker, Mark Bradford, Jordan Casteel, LeRoy Clarke, Noah Davis, Beauford Delaney, Melvin Edwards, Meschac Gaba, David Hammons, Lyle Ashton Harris, Barkley L. Hendricks, Juliana Huxtable, Steffani Jemison, Isaac Julien, Titus Kaphar, Seydou Keïta, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Kalup Linzy, Tom Lloyd, Whitfield Lovell, Kerry James Marshall, Adia Millett, Wangechi Mutu, Kori Newkirk, Otobong Nkanga, Odili Donald Odita, Chris Ofili, Jennifer Packer, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Jacolby Satterwhite, Malick Sidibé, Shinique Smith, Henry Taylor, Alma Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Bill Traylor, James VanDerZee, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Stanley Whitney, Jack Whitten, Kehinde Wiley, William T. Williams, Fred Wilson, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Black Refractions is accompanied by a new publication of the same title co-published by the American Federation of Arts and Rizzoli Electa. The richly illustrated volume includes essays by Connie H. Choi and Kellie Jones; entries by a range of writers, curators, and scholars (among them Lauren Haynes, Ashley James, Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Larry Ossei-Mensah, and Hallie Ringle) who contextualize the works and provide detailed commentary; and a conversation among Choi, Thelma Golden, and Jones that draws out themes and challenges in collecting and exhibiting modern and contemporary art by artists of African descent.


This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Major support for Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem provided by Art Bridges. Support for the accompanying publication provided by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Exhibitions at MoAD are generously supported by: Jill Cowan Davis and Stephen Davis, Concepción and Irwin Federman, Beryl and James Potter, Dignity Health, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, FivePoint, Gilead, Verizon, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, The Allen Group LLC, Kaiser Permanente, Target, Union Bank, United Airlines, Wells Fargo, and The City and County of San Francisco.


ENGAGE: Symposium 2019
Saturday, February 23
10am – 3:30pm

This day-long symposium is inspired by the artists in Black Refractions. Featuring exhibition artists, curators, collectors, gallerists, and art writers who will come together for insightful conversations around identity, politics, and the role of institutions on the works and careers of artists of African descent. The day begins and ends with keynote addresses, live music and dance performances, inspiring panel discussions with artists and curators, and a catered lunch. For the first time, MoAD will fully livestream the entire event.

Opening Keynote Speaker: Naima Keith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, California African American Museum

Panel 1: On Artists of African Descent
Moderator: Jacqueline Francis, PhD., California College of Art

Kori Newkirk, Artist
Mariane Ibrahim, Gallerist, Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Emily Kuhlmann, Director of Exhibitions & Curatorial Affairs, MoAD

Panel 2: Artist as Social Change Agent
Moderator: Leigh Raiford, PhD., UC Berkeley

Henry Taylor, Artist
Erin Christovale, Assistant Curator, Hammer Museum
Bridget R. Cooks, PhD., UC Irvine

Closing Keynote Speaker: Aruna D’Souza

Image Credit: Barkley L. Hendricks
Lawdy Mama, 1969
Oil and gold leaf on canvas
53 3/4 × 36 1/4 in. (136.5 × 92.1 cm)
The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Stuart Liebman, in memory of Joseph B. Liebman 1983.25
© Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the artist's estate, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and American Federation of Arts
Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) presents Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem January 16-April 14, 2019 This exhbition explores the vital contributions of artists of African descent and includes over sixty works by more than fifty artists across a...
read more
show less
Owned by
{{eventOwner.email_address || eventOwner.displayName}}
New Owner


Event Details

Art, Museums

685 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105


The Best Events
Every Week in Your Inbox

Edit Event Details

I am the event organizer

Your suggestion is required.

Your email is required.
Not valid email!

Great suggestion! We'll be in touch.


Your event is now LIVE on SF STATION


or share on

See my event listing

Looking for more visibility? Reach more people with our marketing services