At UCD, massive art exhibit takes a look at ‘darkness’ – The Vacaville Reporter
Art collections often say more about the collector than the art itself, and that’s most likely the case with the latest exhibit from the Shrem Museum on the University of California, Davis campus.
In keeping with its educational purpose, Bernard Lumpkin has partnered with the university museum to present “Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art”, an expansive exhibition exploring identity, politics and culture. art history making its west coast. beginnings, in Davis.
Through Dec. 19, this is the first free-standing public exhibition curated from the family’s collection, Shrem Museum spokeswoman Laura Compton said in a press release. She added that the exhibition was originally scheduled to open two years ago but was, like so many planned cultural events, delayed by the pandemic.
Featuring works by some fifty artists, the exhibition – a traveling exhibition touring mainly college and university galleries – mainly brings together the new generation of contemporary artists who not only approach the canon of traditional art, but also find ways to peek into the history and meaning of ‘darkness’ in their work.
They include Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Cy Gavin, Arcmanoro Niles, Jennifer Packer, among others, and Bay Area artists Kenyatta AC Hinkle of Berkeley and Sadie Barnette of Oakland, whose 2017 exhibition at Shrem was ” Dear 1968, …”
But the group also includes well-known artists such as David Hammons, acclaimed for such works at ‘Toiletries’, an installation of urinals attached to trees in a forest in Temse, Belgium; Kerry James Marshall, whose deeply black human figures reflect black history and culture in unexpected ways; and Kara Walker, celebrated for her dramatic reimaginings of the silhouette to comment on the Southern Gothic storytelling tradition in which slavery was deemed natural, the cruelty of stereotypes, and the racial and sexual heritage of slavery in the United States.
The exhibition, curated by Antwaun Sargent and Matt Wycoff and assembled for the museum by Associate Curator and Head of the Exhibitions Department Susie Kantor, is organized around four themes – the dramatic use of color, the “recovery” of black colour, the use of non-traditional materials and an “expanded idea” of the portrait.
Visitors entering the lobby will see “I Belong Here,” a neon sculpture by Tavares Strachan, also on loan from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Collection. Available through March 2023, it coincides with the exhibit, which shares its name in part with the 1968 off-Broadway play “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” about the life of American writer Lorraine Hansberry. She is best known for her 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun”, the first Broadway show written by a black American woman.
“The Manetti Shrem Museum is thrilled to host this thought-provoking exhibit,” said Rachel Teagle, founding director of the museum. “Not only does it showcase some of the most important artists working today at UC Davis and the region, but it also aligns with our track record of showcasing emerging artists.”
Said Lumpkin, “I’m thrilled to partner with the Manetti Shrem Museum team to bring ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ to the West Coast,” adding, “At a time when America is once again battling race and racism, and debates about equality and inclusion in the art world have taken on greater urgency, this exhibition assesses how artists today are shaping the way we think about identity, l art and history.
The exhibition comes at the same time as the retrospective “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott” at the New Museum in Manhattan. Colescott, who died aged 83 in 2009, was a figure painter whose work explored racial and sexual provocation while parodying famous works. Among them, “Eat Dem Taters,” a reworking of Van Gogh’s “Potato Eaters” with black figures and a minstrel tune; and a mix of black figures in a humorous race-changing version of Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s iconic 1868 painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, with pioneering botanist George Washington Carver at the front of the boat in place of the father founder. He paved the way – and understanding – for satirical black artists such as Marshall and Walker and other emerging black artists, including some in this latest Shrem Museum exhibition.
The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi family collection showcases a range of contemporary artworks in all media, with the bulk consisting of works by established and emerging artists of predominant African descent, with an emphasis on those who have always been underrepresented in collections, exhibitions and museums. .
Lumpkin, art collector, patron, educator and advocate, serves on the board of trustees of the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and sits on committees of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art .
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
Shrem Art Museum
254 Old Davis Road, Davis
For hours: manettishrem.org