The true beauty of art is that it’s subjective to the viewer. One’s life experiences determine perspective, which means that any portrait, painting, sculpture, and the like, can be open to interpretation depending on who is standing in front of it. This fall, there are many Black artists and galleries that are displaying new works of art that each contain a specific story, narrative, or message.
To round out September, Jonathan Carver Moore in San Francisco is highlighting the art of Adana Tillman until the 23rd. The following month Henry Taylor and Debbie Fleming Caffery both have solo surveys of their works, along with an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum titled Creative Sources, which pays homage to the life and career of award-winning director, actor, and screenwriter Spike Lee.
In addition to the aforementioned exhibitions, many other establishments will showcase collections from creatives of color during the coming months, so it’s only right to let you know where to find them. Here are some of the can’t-miss exhibitions and art shows to check out this fall.
In Atlanta-based artist Adana Tillman‘s solo show, I Am Everyday People, at Jonathan Carver Moore, we see the textile artist explore the journey of identity through her figurative portraits. Each piece incorporates found textiles acquired through the artist’s travels, which is amplified through Tillman’s practice’ hand dyeing. (Through Sept 23, 2023; Jonathan Carver Moore)
The first museum retrospective of Michael Richards’s visionary artworks, exhibiting the sculptures, drawings, installations, and video work he created during a prolific decade between 1990 and 2001. (Sep 8, 2023 – Jan 7, 2024; The Bronx Museum)
In Mickalene Thomas / Portrait of an Unlikely Space, the artist designs an entirely new multi-gallery installation, imagining domestic surroundings reminiscent of a moment in U.S. history that has never before been so explicitly represented in her work: the pre-Emancipation era. (Sep 8, 2023 – Jan 7, 2024; Yale University Art Gallery)
Featuring many works from the High’s extensive collection, A Long Arc presents photographs of the American Civil War, which transformed the practice of photography across the nation and established visual codes for articulating national identity and expressing collective trauma. (Sep 15 – Jan 14, 2024; High Museum of Art)
The first major museum exhibition devoted to the subject, Multiplicity presents over 80 major collage and collage-informed works that reflect the breadth and complexity of Black identity. Featuring an intergenerational group of 52 living artists, Multiplicity explores the varying ways collage is employed and how the technique suggests diverse conceptual concerns such as cultural hybridity, notions of beauty, gender fluidity, and historical memory. (Sep 15 – Dec 31, 2023; Frist Art Museum)
In the mid-1960s, Alma Thomas created a painting style distinctly her own, characterized by the dazzling interplay of pattern and vibrant color. Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas draws on these extensive holdings to offer an intimate view of Thomas’s evolving practice during her most prolific period, 1959 to 1978. (Sep 15, 2023 – Jun 2, 2024; Smithsonian American Art Museum)
Through a selection of some of Hendricks’s finest portraits displayed in the context of the Frick’s holdings, this exhibition celebrates and explores the remarkable work of this pioneering American painter with an unprecedented display of paintings drawn from private and public collections. (Sep 21 – Jan 7, 2024; The Frick Collection)
This is the first museum exhibition surveying the work of artist, critic, and curator Christian Walker Walker’s artworks, criticism, and exhibition-making addressed myriad subjects, including queer public sex, interracial desire, HIV/AIDS, censorship, drug use, and Blackness and whiteness in public and private image cultures. By contextualizing Walker within his artistic and activist communities in Boston and Atlanta, this exhibition situates his photographs, critical writings, and curatorial projects as vital contributions to the histories of art and photography. (Sep 22 – Jan 7, 2024; Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art)
SIGHTLINES on Peace, Power & Prestige: Metal Arts in Africa brings leading contemporary artists into conversation with historic African metal arts. Sculptures, photography, weavings, metal work, and multimedia installations by a list of talented artists. (Sep 29 – Dec 31, 2023; Bard Graduate Center Gallery)
This is the first exhibition to survey the career of leading contemporary artist Henry Taylor. Through painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation, this retrospective celebrates an artist widely appreciated for his unique aesthetic, social vision, and freewheeling experimentation. (Oct 4 – Jan 28, 2024; Whitney Museum of American Art)
Including nearly 100 dramatic black-and-white photographs installed in three distinct spaces of the museum, In Light of Everything is the first career retrospective for the important Louisiana-born photographer Debbie Fleming Caffery. The exhibition presents examples from her most important series made in the American South, Mexico, and France, from the 1970s to the present. (Oct 7 – Mar 3, 2024; New Orleans Museum of Art)
In Unity, as in Division, the fourth exhibition presented by Johnson Lowe Gallery in its inaugural year, unites seven emerging artists from within the Atlanta Metropolitan Area to present seven micro-exhibitions throughout the gallery’s 7,000 square foot space. The exhibition includes the work of Demetri Burke, Danielle Deadwyler, Leia Genis, Wihro Kim, Masela Nkolo, Sergio Suárez, and Ellex Swavoni. (Oct 6 – Nov 11, 2023; Johnson Lowe Gallery)
Take a rare glimpse into the world of Spike Lee, one of the most influential and prolific American filmmakers and directors. Through an immersive installation of objects drawn from Lee’s personal collection, visitors will discover the sources of inspiration that have fueled his creative output. (Oct 7 – Feb 4, 2024; Brooklyn Museum)
The first major exhibition to examine the complex connections between modern African artists and American patrons, artists, and cultural organizations in the postwar period. Featuring the work of 50 African and African American artists the exhibition reveals a transcontinental network of artists, curators, and scholars that challenged assumptions about African art in the United States, and thereby encouraged American engagement with African artists as contemporaries. (Oct. 7 – Jan 7, 2024; The Phillips Collection)
Frank Stewart’s Nexus: An American Photographer’s Journey, 1960s to the Present is a dynamic retrospective of Stewart’s photography that centers on his sensitive and spontaneous approach to portraying world cultures and Black life in many forms—including music, art, travel, food, and dance. His work over the years captured intimate and empathetic images of lives experienced and observed across subjects, cities, and countries. (Oct 14 – Jan 7, 2024; The Baker Museum)
Here, visitors can see more than 150 photographs that reveal the vital work undertaken by a broad coalition of young organizers and everyday people who fashioned a movement that changed America. The exhibition highlights the work of nine photographers primarily affiliated with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s. (Oct 21 – Feb 25, 2024; Skirball Cultural Center)
Africa & Byzantium sheds new light on the staggering artistic achievements of medieval Africa. This long-overdue exhibition highlights how the continent contributed to the development of the premodern world and offers a more complete history of the vibrant multiethnic societies of north and east Africa that shaped the artistic, economic, and cultural life of Byzantium and beyond. (Nov 9 – Mar 2024; The Walters Art Museum)
This exhibition offers a new window onto Black representation in a region that is often overlooked in narratives of early African American history. Through 125 remarkable works including paintings, needlework, and photographs, this exhibition invites visitors to focus on figures who appear in—or are omitted from—early American images and will challenge conventional narratives that have minimized early Black histories in the North, revealing the complexities and contradictions of the region’s history between the late 1600s and early 1800s. (Nov 15 – Mar 24, 2024; American Folk Art Museum)
A new survey of acclaimed artist Charles Gaines opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) this November, tracing the evolution of the second half of his influential practice. Charles Gaines: 1992–2023 brings together for the first time more than 70 works from 1992 to the present day including two monumental works, one of which the artist is recreating for the first time in nearly two decades. (Nov 15 – Mar 17, 2024; ICA Miami)
This exhibition showcases Kehinde Wiley’s new, monumental body of work created against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The exhibition premiered earlier this year at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the MFAH is the first stop on the tour. (Nov 19, 2023 – Jun 19, 2024; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)