Want to Learn More About Black Artists During Black History Month? Here’s a List of Resources to Get You Started

If you can't visit a museum, you can still learn plenty from home.

Works by Barry Yusufu on view in
Works by Barry Yusufu on view in "The Medium Is the Message" at the Unit London Gallery. Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images.

In honor of Black History Month, we put together a list of what social media accounts to follow, videos and films to watch, and books to read to catch yourself up on Black art history. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and of course there are many other ways to learn. But for those looking for a way in, here are some suggestions on where you can begin.

 

Follow

Social media accounts are not the only way to learn, but they can be an amazing resource. Here are some great ones to follow.

@supportblackart
Support Black Art highlights contemporary Black artists worldwide through Instagram posts and stories. The organization also offers memberships, using the funds it brings in to support the work of Black creatives.

@blackhistory
As the account’s bio states, there is more to Black history than Egypt and slavery. Learn about historical figures like sculptor Hortense Burke and Stagecoach Mary, the first black woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service, as well as events such as Fred Hampton’s funeral.

@blackcraftspeopleda
The Black Craftspeople Digital Archive aims to tell the stories of overlooked craftspeople in America. Its Instagram account looks at notable objects in museum collections across the US with the hashtag #ObjectOfTheDay.

@peter_brathwaite
The Getty Challenge asked social media users to post their best recreations of famous artworks using household items. Opera singer Peter Brathwaite took that challenge to another level, and has since created an ongoing series of images reimagining the history of Black portraiture.

@sunujournal
The Instagram account associated with the SUNU Journal of African Affairs, Critical Thought, and Aesthetics, which publishes original works that explore African and Afro-diasporic themes, highlights moments from Black history through photography, art, and video.

@blackartlibrary
Founded by Asmaa Walton, the Black Art Library chronicles a collection of books on art by Black creatives. Walton’s goal is for the collection to be a public-facing archive, research library, and resource.

@notyourmommashistory
Historian and performance artist Cheyney McKnight started Not Your Momma’s History to help administrators at historical sites develop specialized programming about slavery and the African experience in early America.

@ablackhistoryofart
Alayo Akinkugbe, an art history student at the University of Cambridge, created this account to provide information and perspectives on overlooked Black artists, curators, and others.

@blackarchives.co
Founded by Renata Cherlise, Black Archives is a multimedia platform that publishes videos and images centered on Black experiences.

 

Watch

YouTube remains a great resource for arts education. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, check out some of these videos to begin your research.

Colored Frames (2007) is a documentary about art from the 1960s to the early 2000s featuring Benny Andrews, Howardena Pindell, Wangechi Mutu, and others.

TedX has a couple of gems. “Can Art Amend History?” features the artist Titus Kaphar giving a demonstration of how art can contain unspoken truths. And Pamela Joyner’s “Reframing Art History” offers a collector’s perspective on overlooked histories.

The ‘Art’ of Black Visual Archives” is a recorded panel discussion between five of the nation’s top art museum directors on the role of institutions like the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Schomburg Library in debates on race and history.

For a longer playlist of videos, check out this one compiled by the people behind Support Black Art. It includes archival interviews with iconic artists like Jacob Lawrence and Faith Ringgold, as well as a lecture on the origins of Black art from the New School.

 

Read

In June, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture released its Black Liberation reading list, which includes 95 titles by authors including Colson Whitehead, Zora Neale Hurston, and Roxane Gay. JSTOR has recently released an extensive open library as a companion to that list.

For an extensive book list specific to visual art, check out this one by Alayo Akinkugbe. Curator Milly Cai has also recently put out her own list related to art and race theory.

Google’s Black History and Culture is a partnership with over 70 institutions, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, and includes guided tours of artworks by artists such as Nick Cave, Kerry James Marshall, and others.


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