Above: Deana Lawson, Binky & Tony Forever.
The Lehman College Art Gallery officially opens the 2020 season with a reception Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 5- 8 p.m. for Young, Gifted and Black, a trending exhibition featuring 50 contemporary artworks by Black artists that explore themes of race, class, politics and human dignity via various mediums, including painting, drawing, portraiture, sculpting, multimedia, metalworks and new materials.
The show is curated by writer and critic Antwaun Sargent and artist and curator Matt Wycoff from The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art.
“African American artists are enjoying a surge of unprecedented influence with their work being highly-sought after by both private collectors and museum curators around the world,” said Lehman College Art Gallery Executive Director Bartholomew Bland. “The show will help art lovers discover groundbreaking new artists and re-examine the early works of those more established, like Mickalene Thomas, Kerry James Marshall and Kara Walker; it captures a very exciting moment.”
Other featured Young, Gifted and Black artists include on-the-rise: Allison Janae Hamilton, Paul Sepuya, Cy Gavin; and still emerging: Wilmer Wilson IV, Arcmanoro Niles, Sable Elyse Smith.
Young, Gifted and Black is the first New York City stand-alone showing of the now-traveling exhibition. It runs through May 2 at the College’s Art Gallery at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West in the Bronx. The gallery’s hours are Tues-Sat, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bland and his staff are planning an array of free public-education programs – including two upcoming Sunday Family Days March 15 and April 28 from 1-4 p.m. – around the exhibition as well as expanding learning opportunities via show talks with the artists and other programs for Lehman students as well local K-12 students and schools.
“Education is an integral component of the Gallery’s programming and provides the basis of community outreach—from young students to senior citizens,” Bland said.
The 50 artworks featured in the exhibition are from the private art collection of Bernard Lumpkin and his husband, Carmine Boccuzzi. Lumpkin, whose father is Black and mother is Jewish, began building the collection nearly a decade ago after long talks with his ailing father about family history, identity and racial activism. The collection explores these themes from the perspective of new and emerging artists.
“My style of collecting grew out of my new focus and special attention to emerging artists,” said Lumpkin, a former producer at MTV News and a graduate of Harvard and Yale.
Today, Lumpkin is more than just a collector or patron; he is a change catalyst and champion for Black art and artists. He visits art schools and college campuses to find and support Black artists. He supports artist residency programs, art benefits and galas. He networks with curators and museum boards galvanizing them to diversity and to consider the work of emerging artists.
He sits on the Board of Trustees of the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, Mr. Lumpkin serves on the Education Committee and on the Painting & Sculpture Committee. At the Museum of Modern Art, he serves on the Media & Performance Art Committee and is also the Vice-Chair of the Friends of Education patron group.
“I develop relationships,” Lumpkin said. “I’ve had lots of conversations which take time to do, but it is important to do this work, for the benefit of both the artists and the institutions which represent them.”
Lumpkin also promotes emerging artists by loaning work to museums when not hosting shows in his Manhattan home. Young, Gifted and Blackallows the public to consider the collection as a whole now. After New York City, the exhibition will travel for several years to university galleries and small museums in Pennsylvania, Illinois, South Carolina, Texas and California.
Lumpkin said he chose Lehman College to show Young, Gifted and Black because of the school’s diverse student body and its reputation for social mobility among its graduates, most of whom come from the Bronx.
“The exhibition fits the mission of Lehman College,” Lumpkin said. “That’s what drew my attention to hosting the first New York City show at their gallery.”
Lumpkin hopes his collection might inspire non-artists to consider a business career in the arts too. “There are so many ways to participate in this field,” he said. “There are art dealers, advisors, collectors, non-profit organizations, art historians, critics, writers, curators. All of these areas need fresh faces and need new talent. Diversity is good for all of art.”
FEATURED ARTISTS in Young, Gifted and Black
Derrick Adams, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Sadie Barnette, Kevin Bealey, Nayland Blake, Jordan Casteel, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Caitlin Cherry, Bethany Collins, Cy Gavin, Alteronce Gumby, Allison Janae Hamilton, David Hammons, Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle, Lonnie Holley, Tomashi Jackson, Angie Jennings, Rashid Johnson, Deana Lawson, Glenn Ligon, Eric N. Mack, Kerry James Marshall, Troy Michie, Wardell Milan, Narcissister, Arcmanoro Niles, Clifford Owens, Jennifer Packer, Adam Pendleton, Christina Quarles, Andy Robert, Latoya Ruby-Frazier, Jacolby Satterwhite, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Gerald Sheffield, Lorna Simpson, Sable Elyse Smith, Vaughn Spann, Henry Taylor, Chiffon Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, William Villalongo, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, Wilmer Wilson IV and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.