Accolades Art

Two Decades of Atlanta’s National Black Arts Festival

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Atlanta’s National Black Arts Festival, which begins Friday and ends July 27. More than five million people have attended the festival since it began in 1988.

“That’s the beauty of culture,” executive producer Stephanie Hughley told the AP. “It’s always being influenced and is influencing. I think the festival offers a safe environment to examine cultural connections and influences, provoking and inspiring self-reflection.”

This year’s festival, which is themed, “Our Gift of Creativity to You,” will include performances by Oprah Winfrey’s production of The Color Purple, and conversations with authors Alice Walker and Pearl Cleage.

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Art Europe

Who Is Banksy?

You probably heard the name Banksy in passing, maybe even passed by some of his art. But you probably still don’t know who he is, really. Well, you’re not alone. The identity of the artist is a closely guarded secret, but now UK papers are revealing that Banksy is Robin Gunningham, a 34 year-old Bristol, England native.

Banksy is the pseudonym given to the anonymous artist who leaves political, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment artwork in public spaces around the world.

His work seems to crop up overnight and some consider him a vandal or even a trickster as his stunts have included: creating fake British £10 notes, substituting the picture of the Queen’s head with Princess Diana’s head and changing the text from “Bank of England” to “Banksy of England”; leaving the message ‘I want out. This place is too cold. Keeper smells. Boring, boring, boring.’ in the elephant area at a zoo in England; and hanging a painting of the likeness of Mona Lisa with a yellow smiley face in the Louvre.

Photographer Steve Lazarides acts as Banksy’s agent, selling the artist’s work out of his gallery Laz inc. in London’s Soho district.

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Art Fashion Music

MUST SEE: The Supreme’s Costume Exhibit

More than 50 outfits (in addition to a collection of photos, album covers, and live footage) are on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum until October.

In a much-deserving exhibit, “The Story of the Supremes,” tracks the Motown trio as the epitome of glamour that set a groundbreaking standard for future girl group molds. Not only did they set an example for En Vogue and Destiny’s Child, but The Supremes changed the world’s perception of African-Americans, proving that black is beautiful!

“When I saw the Supremes on TV…it was magical to me because I had never seen black women on television or anywhere for that matter who conveyed such glamour and such grace,” Oprah Winfrey said of seeing The Supremes for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

O.G. Supreme Mary Wilson said before the opening last May, “I have kept these dresses in storage for over 30 years, it was my dream that one day I could share them with the world.”

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Art Race Matters

Architects Needed for Nation’s Black History Museum in D.C.

The Smithsonian Institution is searching for an architect for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in 2015 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., according to the AP.

“It tells the quintessential American story,” museum director Lonnie Bunch said of the project which will be the Smithsonian’s first new museum to be certified as green. “After all, when one speaks of the core values like resiliency, hope and spirituality, where better to look than the African American experience?”

Officials hope to name an architectural team by next spring.

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Art Race Matters

She’s So Articulate: Black Women Artists Reclaim the Narrative

Liberation of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben\"

Eleven emerging and established African American artists showcase their work in the exhibit “She’s So Articulate” at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia.

Curated by Henry Thaggert, the show seeks to “expand how gallery-goers think about the relation of narrative to contemporary art by African-American women,” and continue the discussions of issues raised by artist Kara Walker’s racially charged cut-outs.

The exhibit runs until July 19th and features works from the artists: Maya Asante, Renee Cox, Stephanie Dinkins, Djakarta, Nekisha Durrett, Torkwase Dyson, Faith Ringgold, Erika Ranee, Nadine Robinson, Renee Stout, and Lauren Woods.

PHOTO: “Liberation of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben” by Renee Cox.

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