California African American Museum Doesn’t Miss A Beat by Dominique Clayton

Above: Nina Chanel Abney. Untitled (Yo 123), 2015. Unique ultra chrome pigmented print, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas 56 × 56 in. Private collection, Image courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

When’s the last time you went to a museum show with a live DJ, soul food trucks, drinks, and show-stopping art? On September 26, 2018, the California African American Museum (CAAM) packed the house during its seasonal Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop party in celebration of the fall exhibition openings:

Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush

Robert Pruitt: Devotion

California Bound: Slavery on the New Frontier, 1848–1865

Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963
The Notion of Family

Each exhibition is rich with vibrant content that is worth a second and third trip to the museum. Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush offers a 10-year survey of the artist’s work which includes small and large-scale paintings highlighting topics such as race and identity, police brutality, and gender politics. In the next exhibition room, Robert Pruitt: Devotion includes sculptures and sizeable striking charcoal portraits of black subjects evoking urban nostalgia and Afrofuturism. For a great history lesson, viewers can check out the photography, ephemera, and historical documents in California Bound: Slavery on the New Frontier, 1848–1865 which explores California’s involvement in slavery during the 19th century. History and the arts collide again in the Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963 exhibit which showcases Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic celebrity packed rally in Los Angeles which took place just before his famous March on Washington. Lastly, The Notion of Family brings it all home with family-centered portraits from the museum’s permanent collection and includes works by Carrie Mae Weems, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, James Van Der Zee, Kadir Nelson, and Lyle Ashton Harris.


Above: Robert Pruitt. “Ascension,” 2017. Charcoal and Conté on paper. 84 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Seattle.

The Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop party at CAAM does an excellent job merging community, entertainment, art, family and fun and worth letting the kids stay up late on a school night. It also makes for a great date night or hang out with a friend. Most of the exhibitions are up until February and March 2019, so check the website for specific dates, details, programs, and events. All programs are free and open to the public.


Above: Guests dancing during Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop opening party – image courtesy of CAAM

For visitors to Los Angeles, CAAM should definitely be on your must-see list. The museum is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037 and easily accessible via public transportation. For updates and information be sure to follow CAAM on social media (@caaminla)

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