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L.A. Summer Guide: Check Out These Black Art Spaces, Galleries, And Museums
Los Angeles has been a haven for creatives of all stripes, and not just in Hollywood. If you’re going to be in town at some point this summer, consider visiting galleries, museums, and spaces showcasing Black art or Black figures.
Let’s be honest, the art world could do with some diversity. One study revealed that “artists in 18 major museums are 85% white and 97% male.” If you go to world-renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Louvre, you’ll see some art and artifacts from Black and brown cultures. However, the vast majority of what’s on display is linked to Europe.
Visit the following places in Los Angeles, where Black creativity and history are centered.
California African-American Museum (CAAM)
CAAM’s chief purpose is to educate visitors not just about Black art made in California, but across the African diaspora.
You’ll find over 5,000 objects in its permanent collection, including artifacts, photographs, paintings, drawings, and more. The eras also vary, from the 1800s to the modern day.
According to the website, “CAAM’s deepest holdings include art made or connected to African Americans in California and the western United States. However, the Museum also has significant works of contemporary art from the African diaspora (including Haiti, Brazil, and Jamaica), as well as traditional African art from Western, Central, and Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Conceptual artist Chloë Bass will have a solo show at CAAM called #sky #nofilter: Hindsight for a Future America. As noted by Berlin Rosen, “Chloë’s upcoming show opens June 21, the summer solstice, and will feature an interactive 16-panel sundial public sculpture engraved with contemplative phrases that appear on the ground below in shadow form.”
Cosmo Whyte At Anat Ebgi Gallery
The Anat Ebgi Gallery has three locations in Los Angeles: Wilshire Boulevard, Fountain Avenue, and La Cienega Boulevard.
Jamaican artist Cosmo Whyte is based in Los Angeles, and has a show opening at Anat Ebgi on July 29.
His work encompasses photography, drawing, and most recently, sculpture. When his architect father passed, he left behind several incomplete projects, and Cosmo decided to finish them. Visitors will be able to view the structures behind beaded curtains. They offer commentary on racism, colonialism, police brutality, and a better future for the Black diaspora.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby At David Zwirner Gallery
Head to the David Zwirner Gallery’s flagship location on 616 N Western Avenue. Artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria and moved to Los Angeles in 1999. Crosby has been represented by the David Zwirner Gallery since 2018.
Her solo show, Coming Back To See Through, Again opened on May 23, and continues until July 29. The gallery describes her work as “visual tapestries that vivify the personal and social dimensions of contemporary life, while evocatively expressing the intricacies of African diasporic identity.”
Murals Around The City
You’ll find more murals centering Black figures than you can count in Los Angeles.
Following Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, murals of the basketball star popped up not just in Los Angeles, but Spain, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere. There was a similar outpouring of grief after the death of Nipsey Hussle, and there are several murals of him in Los Angeles as well.
On Crenshaw Boulevard, there’s a two-block-long mural called Our Mighty Contribution. It includes images of Black Panther members, as well as prominent figures from the past like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass.