Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz Will Showcase Their Landmark Art Collection at the Brooklyn Museum

An exhibition will bring together the couple's vast collection of works by African American artists.

Derrick Adams, Woman in Grayscale (Alicia) (2017). Photo courtesy of The Dean Collection, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys and her husband Kasseem Dean, the rapper and producer known by his stage name Swizz Beatz, will exhibit their landmark collection of works by Black artists at the Brooklyn Museum. The show, Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, will run from February 10 to July 7, 2024.

“Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys have been among the most vocal advocates for Black creatives to support Black artists through their collecting, advocacy, and partnerships. In the process, they have created one of the most important collections of contemporary art,” museum director Anne Pasternak said.

The exhibition will bring together works by around 40 artists in the couple’s collection. Known as the Dean Collection, the trove boasts artworks by the likes of Arthur Jafa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Amy Sherald, Lorna Simpson, Kehinde Wiley, and Esther Mahlangu, as well as the largest number of works by Gordon Parks in private hands.

The show will open with an introduction to the creative lives of the Deans, with sections on different aspects of their collection, such as “On the Shoulders of Giants,” highlighting artists who “have left an indelible mark on the world.” Another section, “Giant Conversations,” will explore Black social issues, while “Giant Presence” will show monumental artworks such as Abney’s Catfish (2017).

Kwame Brathwaite, Untitled (Model who embraced natural hairstyles at AJASS photoshoot) (c. 1970, printed 2018). Photo courtesy of the Dean Collection, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

The Fallin’ crooner and her husband, both born and raised in New York, have long been vocal about their support of African American creatives, not least with their art collection.

Speaking to Artnet News in 2019, Dean characterized growing his collection of African American artworks as “building a family I didn’t even have in music, where there’s a little bit of a disconnect sometimes because of competition and wanting to be the best. I felt something different with the artists.”

Dean was on the board of the Brooklyn Museum from at least 2019 until just last month. In an email, the museum confirmed that the couple is “not funding the exhibition,” clarifying that the show is “being produced by the Brooklyn Museum.” The exhibition is organized by the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art Kimberli Gant and curatorial assistant Indira A. Abiskaroon.

“You have to understand that this is a different game than buying a piece of jewelry or buying a car,” Dean said in 2019 about his collecting strategy. “This is actually adding to the conversation.”

See more works in the exhibition below.

Derrick Adams, Man in Grayscale (Swizz) (2017). Photo courtesy of The Dean Collection, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

Deana Lawson, Soweto Queen (2017). Photo courtesy of the Dean Collection, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

Ebony G. Patterson, . . they were just hanging out . . . you know . . . talking about . . . ( . . . when they grow up . . .) (2016). Photo courtesy of the Dean Collection, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

Tschabalala Self, Father (2019). Photo courtesy of The Dean Collection, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

 

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