Newsletter

Imani Roach at Center for African and African Diasporic Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Plus, WHYY Summit, Future Fair, Henry Bermudez

We are so happy to hear the news of our friend and former Managing Editor, Imani Roach's appointment as Inaugural Curatorial Director of the new African and African Diasporic Art Center at the Philadelphia Museum of Art! Imani is a great thinker and writer, a visionary, and a leader, who will bring excellence to this new Center. We wish her all the best in her new role! In other news, we have a thumbnail review of Henry Bermudez's exhibit at Woodmere Art Museum, and notice about a wonderful free and open to the public, "Civic Dialog" summit at WHYY this Friday and Saturday. Artblog will be there! Come and talk with us and with the WHYY journalists, who are eager for your stories. Enjoy the News! And check out the Midweek News podcast for more!

NEWS

Head and shoulders of a young Black woman with long braided hair worn loose, wearing a pale pink silky shirt and glasses smiles and looks out from a peach-colored background.
Imani Roach, Curatorial Director, Center for African and African Diasporic Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Naomieh Jovin

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Imani Roach as Curatorial Director for Newly Established Center for African and African Diasporic Art. Imani Roach joins the PMA from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to become the Center’s Inaugural Director
Philadelphia, April 30, 2024 — The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) is thrilled to announce the appointment of Imani Roach as its inaugural director and curator of the newly created Brind Center for African and African Diasporic Art. Announced in 2022, the Brind Center is endowed by Trustee Ira Brind and will focus on expanding the scope and reach of the museum’s collection of art from across Africa, the Americas and the wider African diaspora.

In her role as curatorial director, Roach will lead the acquisition of artworks, focus on special exhibitions and gallery installations as well as publications and symposia and promote career development in the field of African and African diasporic art. She will work closely with the PMA’s Learning and Engagement Division and with the curatorial team across the museum. Roach will also partner with institutions of similar missions regionally, nationally, and internationally.

“We are excited to have Imani’s passion and expertise for the arts of Africa and its diaspora at the PMA,” said Sasha Suda, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “This marks a new chapter for us and reflects our commitment to reimagining the future of the museum.”

“I am humbled to have been entrusted with building a home for African and Afro-Diasporic art at the PMA and energized by the work ahead,” said Roach. “This is a transformative moment for the institution and its relationship to the city of Philadelphia. As a longtime Philly cultural worker, I look forward to contributing to the city’s profound legacy of nurturing and celebrating the ties between Africans on the continent and around the world.” Read more at the PMA website.

[Ed. Note – Artblog is proud to have been part of Imani’s curatorial history in Philadelphia. She was Artblog’s inaugural Managing Editor. Listen to podcasts hosted by Imani Roach on Artblog]

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NOTABLE EVENTS

A bright-colored poster with a picture of people sitting around tables actively engaged in talking. The poster announces a summit about journalism and democracy.

Civic Dialogue Summit: Journalism Drives Democracy on May 3rd and 4th
Friday and Saturday, May 3rd and 4th
WHYY, 150 N 6th Street
Philadelphia PA 19106
9 AM – 4 PM

This summit will explore best practices for newsrooms to engage their communities in the practice of civic journalism and support community members with developing the tools to step outside of echo chambers and develop brave spaces for civic dialogue. Attendees will learn about the impact of Bridging Blocks, a civic dialogue program made possible by Fred and Barbara Sutherland and in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia. WHYY News staff will demonstrate civic debate and discuss how centering community members helps fill news and information gaps. The conference features panel discussions and resources designed to foster healthy dialogue, build community connections and strengthen democracy.

A separate Registration is required for each day.
Day 1: Friday, May 3rd
Day 2: Saturday, May 4th
Learn more about the conference here.

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Future Fair (New York) features Bertrand Productions, Blah Blah Gallery and Susanna Gold’s curated booth
CHELSEA INDUSTRIAL
538 W 28TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
THU, MAY 2, 2024 | 12 PM – 7:30 PM
FRI, MAY 3, 2024 | 12 PM – 7:30 PM
SAT, MAY 4, 2024 | 12 PM – 6PM
Tickets
Note: Special $25 tickets for artists, students and educators – purchase on site at the Fair

List of exhibitors
Blah Blah Gallery website
Bertrand Productions website
Susanna Gold – with Agathe Bouton, John Dowell and Antonio Puri

More at Future Fair website
Read Pete Sparber’s interview with Megan Galardi, Director of Blah Blah Gallery

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NOTABLE EXHIBITION

An ornate, map-like painting in cut paper on canvas suggests a magic world inhabited by strange creatures, here frozen into a golden screen covering and obscuring a landscape behind it.
Henry Bermudez, “What Mr. von Humboldt Saw when he Visited the Orinoco,” 2008. Acrylic on cut paper reassembled on canvas. Photo by Roberta Fallon

Artblog Henry Bermudez Coyote IMG 1913
Henry Bermudez in Philadelphia
Woodmere Art Museum
to May 19, 2024

I am happy to say I saw the Henry Bermudez show at Woodmere Art Museum last weekend. My thumbnail review follows.

Henry is a fantastic draftsman. He’s taken over the entire museum rotunda, upstairs and down, and his work glows, literally and figuratively. Bermudez uses glitter, faux fur, plastic flowers, gold and bright-colored paint to create exquisite environments, fantastical creatures, and fierce humans. The works come at you big and fast. His subject is colonialism, the immigrant experience, the “other,” and his use of mythological animal hybrids is a call to let your mind go with him to an alternate universe, to experience and learn. While not classically religious in nature, several paintings concern religions — and the intertwining of stories from Western and native cultures that make up religious storytelling. These icon-rich paintings compel respect and awe in the same way religious icons do, while raising issues of dominance and submission — one culture to another. Finally, I applaud Bermudez’s unabashed and iconoclastic use of craft materials, which dare you to go there, to love the high and low of the art, in the same breath. Brilliant.

Henry Bermudez in Philadelphia, Woodmere Art Museum, closes May 19, 2024.

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