Art Exhibition Class

Exhibition Planning &
Gallery Management

Curating and Race > Digital Cliff Notes  ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


CURATING AND RACE 1st Wave 1900-1960s: "Primitivist Period" 2nd Wave 1960-1980s: "Equality Era" 3rd Wave 1980s-Present: "Post-Blackness" 
Question Self-Organization Politicization Insitutionalization
Method Revisionist Histories Educational Outreach Mainstreaming of Black History
Vision Civil Rights Movement (being unseen) Black Power Movement (being seen) White Gaze (being deconstructed) 
Theory Negro Art / Afro-American Art African American Art / Black Art Blackness / Post-Blackness
Narrative Identity and Self-worth Self-Appreciation and mobilization Academicization and Professionalization
Direction Past-oriented Present-Oriented Future Oriented
Space Neighborhood Musuems and Informal Salons Temporary exhibitions Surveys and Traveling Exhibitions
Power Reclamation Radicalization Transformation
Politic Gradualism Activism Integration
Dialectic Segregation / Equality (Separate but Equal) Silent / Open Antagonism (Jim Crow) Invisibility / Visibility (Black Lives Matter)


Primary Dialectic: Anthropological Approach / Historical Revisionist / (William Edmondson and Jacob Lawrence​)

Example: MoMA, Exhibition of Sculpture by William Edmondson and MoMA, Jacob Lawrence: Migration of the Negro and Works Made in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1944 (Jacob Lawrence, 306 Group at Edith Halpert’s Gallery, Nov. 1941)


4 Waves of Pyscho-socio-cultural Development and : Lovinger, Self-Identity and Ego Development

First Wave: Primativist Period, Autonomous  | Second Wave: Equality Era, Construct Aware | Third Wave: Post-Blackness, Ego Aware | Fourth Wave: Transpersonal


1. Question: Self-Organization (A. Phillip Randolph, Hubert Harrison, Alain Locke) 

The term, The New Negro is introduced by A.Philip Randolph in 1917 to describe a new spirit of militancy in the post-war era.

The New Negro Movement was founded by Hubert Harrison in 1916-17 to energize Harlem and beyond with its race-conscious and class-conscious demands for political equality, an end to segregation and lynching as well as calls for armed self-defense when appropriate. Harrison,  also edited (The New Negro) in 1919 and authored (When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story' of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World) in 1920, is called the "father of Harlem Radicalism."

The New Negro was popularized by philosopher and curator Alain Lock when he curated The Negro in Art Week: Exhibition of Primitive African Sculpture, Modern Paintings, Drawings, Applied Art and books, at Chicago Art Institute in 1925. Locke contrasted the "Old Negro" with the "New Negro" by stressing African American assertiveness and self-confidence during the years following World War I and the Great Migration. Race pride had already been part of literary and political self-expression among African Americans in the nineteenth century, as reflected in the writings of Martin Delany, Bishop Henry TurnerFrances E.W. HarperFrederick Douglass and Pauline Hopkins. However, it found a new purpose and definition in the journalism, fiction, poetry, music, sculpture and paintings of a host of figures associated with the Harlem Renaissance.


2. Method: Revisionist Histories (Chicago Art Institute, MoMA, Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA​))

Exhibitions which re-valued both African Art and Contemporary African American Art.


3. Vision: African American Civil Rights Movement (18960-1954)

Fight against segration, the fight for the right to vote, the fight to be able to be on a jury, the fight for self-determination and to be a business owner, the fight for poltical influence and representation (the founding of the NAACP), the fight for equal pay, the fight against lynching and violence, the fight for education and many more struggles comprises the African American Civil Rights Movement which prefigured the 1954-68 era which is more commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Movement.


4. Theory: Negro Art / Afro-American Art

Exhibitions which reassessed the notion of Primitivism and/or Contemporary African American Art.


5. Direction: Past Oriented

Bringing to light the history of opression, forgetting, and obsfucation related to black contributions to art and culture.


6. Narrative: Identity and Self-Worth

Re-valuation of negative historial representations of blackness in American culture and their transformation into affrimative, positive and meaningful contributions to American Culture as a whole.


7. Space: Neighborhood Musuems and Informal Salons (First Wave Institutions)


Special Commission on Race Relations

High Schools


Libraries (135 Branch of the New York Public Library organizes it’s first exhibition of negro art in 1921)

Community Centers / YMCA (Brooklyn YMCA organizes the first exhibition of negro artists) 


8. Power: Reclamation (of a lost heritage) (First Wave Exhibitions)

Chicago Art Institute, The Negro in Art Week: Exhibition of Primitive African Sculpture, Modern Paintings, Drawings, Applied Art and books, 1925

MoMA, African Negro Art 1935

Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), Contemporary Negro Art

Negro Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Edith Halpert’s Gallery, Nov. 1941

MoMA, Jacob Lawrence: Migration of the Negro and Works Made in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1944


9. Politic: Gradualism (First Wave Artists)

Richmond Barthe, (YoutubeMeta Vaux WarrickEdward Mitchell BannisterHenry Ossawa TannerHale Woodruff, K.D. Ganaway, William A. Harper, Jacob Lawrence, William Edmondson


10. Dialectic: Separate but Equal, Plessy vs. Fergeson (1896) - Brown vs. The Board of Education (1954) 

First Wave : “Primitivist Period” 1900-1960. (These two legal cases act as bookends for the struggels of the First Wave)

Black art was often denied representation because the mission of exhibiting a “racial group” did not fit the mission of most museums

When an exhibition did happen of black art it was often under the auspicious of seeing new movements that were considered to be outside the mainstream artworld.

When the work of black artists was included it was often written about as a display of “New American Primitives”.




Second Wave: “Equality Era” 1940-1980. 

Period when black artists fought for visibility, social and economic equality in all areas of life including artistic representation

Production of artworks in every genre by black artists including abstract art, social realist works and narrative allegories..

Founding of Galleries and museums dedicated to African American Art.

Second Wave Exhibitions

Desable Museum of African American History, Portraits of Prominent African Americans 61’

A Freed Negro family in 1840 – Feb-March 62’, All about Africa – April-June 62’, Bob Jones work (Dioramas) 68’

MET, Harlem on My Mind, 1969

LACMA, Two Centuries of Blackk American Art, 1967

Whitney shows 1968-73’: Al Loving, Melvin Edwards, Fredrick Eversley, Malcolm Bailey, and Frank Bowling, Alan W. Thomas, Joseph E. Yoakum, Robert Reed, and Mahler Ryder. •Malcom Bailey, Romare Bearden, Frank Bowling, Marvin Brown, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Richard Mayhew, Jack Whitten and William T. Wiiliams. Barbra Chase Riboud, Melvin Edwards, Fredrick Eversley, Richard Hunt, and Betye Saar.

Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, The Rat: Invited Affliction, 1907, Out of Africa, 1979

Second Wave Institutions

Desable Museum of African American History (Chicago)

International African Museum of Detroit (IAM)

Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (Detroit)

Second Wave Artists

Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, Jacob Laurence, Sam Gilliam, Richard Hunt, Tom Lloyd, William T. Williams , Al Loving, Melvin Edwards Fredrick Eversley, Malcolm Bailey, Frank Bowling, Alan W. Thomas, Joseph E. Yoakum, Marvin Brown, Richard Mayhew, Jack Whitten, Robert Reed, Mahler Ryder , Chase Riboud, Richard Hunt, Betye Saar.


Third Wave: 3rd Wave 1980s-Present: "Post-Blackness" 

The struggle for recognition of independent achievements beyond racial bias.

The desire for equality of inclusion in canonnization, representation, and public recognition.

Intersectional relations between race, gender, history, politics, and personal narratives as having equal importance. 

Third Wave Exhibitions

MoMA, Primitivism in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, 1984

National Museum of American History, After the Revolution: Everyday Life in America, 1985

Bellevue Arts Museum, Hidden Heritage: Afro-Ameican Art, 1800-1950, 1985

National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Sharing Traditions: Five Black Artists in Nineteenth Century America, 1985

Dallas Museum of Art, Black Art – Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art, 1989

The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s, The New Museum, 1990.

Museum of Confedercy, Before Freedom Came, 1991

The Whitney Biennial, 1993

The Whitney, Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art, 1994

Studio Museum in Harlem, Frequency, 2001.

Museum of Fine Art Houston, The Quilt’s of Gee’s Bend, 2002.


Third Wave Instituions:


Third Wave Artists

Jean Michel Basquiat, Chris Oflili, Karen Walker




STUDY GUIDE: Curating and Race in relation to Ego Development


Era's Politics Stages
I-3/4 Primitivist Era: Negro Art / Afro-American Art Civil Rights and Gradualism Conformist / Conscious Conformist
I-4/5 Equality Era: African American Art / Black Art Black Power and Activism Conscientious Objector / Individual
I-5/6 Post-Identity Politics: Blackness / Post-Blackness Black Lives Matter and Equality before the Law

Autonomous / Integrated



Loevinger's Stages of Ego Development




Code Impulse Contol, Character Development Interpersonal Style  Conscious Preoccupations Cognitive Style
Presocial, Symbiotic I-1 -- Autistic, Symbiotic Self vs. Non-Self --
Impulsive I-2 Impulsive, fear of retaliation Receiving, dependent, exploitative Bodily Feelings, especially sexaul and agressive Stereotyping, conceptual confusion


Fear of being caught, externalizing blame, opportunistic Wary, Manipulative, exploitative Self-protection, trouble, wishes, things, advantage, control  ---
Conformist I-3 Conformity to external rules, shame, guilt for breaking the rules Belonging, superficial niceness Appearance, social acceptability, banal feelings, behavior Conceptual simplicity, stereotypes, cliches
Conscious-Conformist I-3/4 Differentiation of norms, goals Aware of self in relation to group, helping Adjustment, problems, reasons, opportunities (vague) Multipicity
Conscientious I-4 Self-evaluated standards, self-criticism, guilt for consequences, long-term goals and ideas Intensive, responsible, mutual, concern for communication Differentiated feelings, motives for behavior, self-respect, achievements, traits, expression Conceptual complexity, idea of patterning
Individualistic I-4/5 Add: Respect for individuality Add: Dependence as an emotional problem Add: Development, social problems, differentiation of inner life from outer Add: Distinction of process and outcome
Autonomous I-5 Add: Coping with conflicting inner needs, toleration Add: Respect for autonomy, interdependence Vividly conveyed feelings, integration of physiological and psychological, psychological caution of behavior, role conception, self-fulfillment, self in social context Increased conceptual complexity, complex patterns, toleration for ambiguity, broad scope, objectivity
Integrated I-6 Add: Reconciling inner conflicts, renunciation of unattainable  Add: Cherishing of individuality Add: Identity ---





Week 1

Thinking About Exhibitions

By Reesa Greenberg, Bruce Ferguson and Sandy Nairne

[  ] Chapter 16: Free Fall – Freeze Frame: Africa, Exhibitions, Artists. By Clementine Deliss


Week 2

Museums, Equality and Social Justice.

Edited by Richard Sandell and Eithne Nightingale

[  ] Chapter 21: Museums, African Collections and Social Justice. By Helen Mears and Wayne Modest


Week 3

Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture

Edited by Ivan Karp, Christine Mullen Kreamer and Steven D. Lavine

[  ] Mythos, Memory and History: African American Preservation Efforts 1820-1990. By Faith Davis Ruffins


Week 4

From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement (Public History in Historical Perspective).

By Andrea A. Burns.

[  ] Introduction: Museums on the Front Lines: Confronting the “Conspiracy of Silence.

[  ] Chapter 1: When “Civil Rights Are Not Enough”: Building the Clack Museum Movement.

[  ] Chapter 2: “Not in My Backyard”: The Contested Origins of the African American Museum.

[  ] Chapter 6: A Museum for the Future: The National Museum of African American History and Culture


Week 5

Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum.

By Bridget R. Cooks.

[  ] Introduction: African Americans Enter the Art Museum

[  ] Chapter 1: Negro Art in the Modern Art Museum

[  ] Chapter 2: Black Artists and Activism: Harlem on My Mind, 1969

[  ] Chapter 3: Filling the Void: Two Centuries of Black American Art, 1967


Week 6

Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power

[  ] Chapter 2: Harlem on My Mind at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

[  ] Chapter 3: Contemporary Black Artists in America at the Whitney  Museum of American Art


Week 7

Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America.

By Huey Copeland.

[  ] Introduction: The Blackness of Things


Week 8

Global Studies: Mapping Contemporary Art and Culture

Edited by Hans Belting, Jacob Birken, Andrea Buddensieg and Peter Weibel

[  ] Chapter 7: Whither the Postcolonial? By Anthony Gardner.


Week 9

Return to Postcolony: Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art.

By T.J. Demos.

[  ] Conclusion: Living with Ghosts, Justly.


Week 10

Antimonies of Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity.

Edited by Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor and Nancy Condee

[  ] The Postcolonial Constellation: Contemporary Art in a State of Permanent Transition. By Okwui Enwezor


Week 11

Globalization and Contemporary Art

Edited by Jonathan Harris

[  ] Art and Postcolonial Society


Week 12

Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World.

By Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene and Laura Koloski.

[  ] Paticipatory Design and the Future of Museums. By Nina Simon

[  ] Whose Questions? Whose Conversations? By Kathleen McLEan

[  ] Peering Behind the Curtian: Artist Questioning and Historial Authority. By Melissa Rachlef


Week 13

CASE STUDY: Magiciens de la Terra

Making Art Global (Part 2): ‘Magiciens de la Terra’ (Exhibition Histories).

By Thomas McEvilley, Benjamin Buchloh, Rasheed Araeen and Pablo LaFuente.

[  ] Introduction: From the Outside In: ‘Magiciens de la Terra’ and Two Histories of Exhbitions. By Pablo LaFuente

[  ] ‘Magiciens de la Terra’ and the Development of Transnational Project-Based Curating. By Lucy Steeds

[  ] Review of the Paradigms and Interpretative Machine, or, The Critical Development of ‘Magiciens de la Terra’. By Jean Poinsot

[  ] The Death of Art – Long Live Art. By Jean-Hubert Martin

[  ] The Whole Earth Show: An Interview with Jean-Hubert Martin. By Benjamin Buchloh

[  ] Our Bauhaus Others’ Mudhouse. By Rasheed Araeen


Week 14

Making Art Global (Part 2): ‘Magiciens de la Terra’ (Exhibition Histories).

By Thomas McEvilley, Benjamin Buchloh, Rasheed Araeen and Pablo LaFuente.

[  ] Fictional Histories: ‘Magiciens de la Terra’: The Invisible Labyrinth. By Jean Fisher

[  ] Looking at Others. By Gayatri Chakavorty Spivak

[  ] Marinalia: Thomas McEvilley on The Global Issue. By Thomas McEvilley

[  ] Responses from Exhbiting Artists:

            Statement on ‘Magiciens de la Terra’ by Frederic Bruly Bouabre

            Interview with Alfredo Jaar by Francisco Godoy Vega

            Statement on ‘Magiciens de la Terra’ by Barbra Kruger


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