SPILLING THE TEA ON BLACK ART AT EXPO CHICAGO 2022
Pigment International and Team Pink — Celebrating Somoto in Pink Pants
The Pigment Team could not get enough of our cover artist REWA, who flew in from Lagos to EXPO. She is absolutely a class act, and we were all Team Pink for EXPO Chicago from the opening Vernissage to closing on Sunday. REWA met, she greeted she charmed, she mentored. She autographed copies of the Pigment Magazine featuring her work “Somoto in Pink Pants”. She is an amazing artist, but she is a totally engaged in the Black art ecosystem and is a believer in uplifting her fellow artists, especially Black women artists. Of the series she did for New York’s DeBuck Gallery she said, “This series proudly displays African women as we are today. Fashionable, intrepid, and with a zeal for life. And most importantly, unbothered about an external gaze, unbothered about how we are ‘seen’.”
Pigment wanted to see more of her work and told our booth visitors to make sure to stop by including appraiser Diane Dinkins Carr. One of her Kenwood neighbors had the gallery show her all of REWA’s collection and she is now an official collector of her work. DeBuck will be showcasing works by REWAduring a two person show later this spring in New York.
Our team wore pink all weekend, including a pink Basquiat sweatshirt I snagged at Old Navy for $24. A Japanese art lover stopped me to show me a crown inked on his ring finger in honor of the artistic legend. His family will be showing never before seen works of his during the exhibition King Pleasure, which opened April 9. Dometi Pongo and NBC 5’s LeeAnn Trotter are committed to join me in NYC in May.
Pigment International sold work by sculptor D. Lamar Preston to a South Carolina collector, Josette Bailey. The piece was titled After the Storm! Preston is the son of Sapphire and Crystals artist Felicia Grant Preston. Another alum of Sapphire and Crystals, artist Chlee, Candace Hunter, was also in the house for EXPO Chicago, as was Dana Easter and Faye Edwards, Faie African Art Gallery.
Richard Beavers Gallery from Brooklyn made its debut at Expo Chicago and when the doors closed on Sunday it was a sell-out. Works at his booth were by #PhyllisStephens #LynthiaEdwards #MelvinNesbittJr and #FrankMorrison. Nesbitt’s work The Great Ice Cream Chase, Painted Paper and Photo Collage on Canvas 72 X 72, 2022 has found a new home at the 21C Hotel.
Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (Chicago and Paris) debuted work of newly represented Chicago based artist, Carmen Neely. Other stunning new works on display were by Raphaël Barontini, Amoako Boafo, Jerrell Gibbs, Yukimasa Ida, Clotilde Jiménez, No Martins, Ian Micheal, Ian Mwesiga and Zohra Opoku. We particularly loved Barontini’s Capois la mort Cape, 2020 that greeted you as at the West entrance.
Jenkins Johnson Gallery showcased works by SydneyCain #LisaCorinneDavis #AlteronceGumby#AlexJackson #JaeJarrell #WadsworthJarrell #DonaldLocke#MaryLovelaceO’Neal #EnricoRiley #MingSmith #RaelisVasquezand #AubreyWilliams
REWA also joined us at Rivet360 to tape the fourth in our planned podcast Black Canvas, along with Milwaukee based artist Ariana Vaeth. Vaeth’s oil on board style depicts the inner lives of millennials. Intimate moments in intimate spaces, friendships, loves and losses. She learned oil painting in the Baltimore schools, and cheers to that. She is the studio artist at Ayzha Gallery in Milwaukee.
Pigment International has much love and respect for two of our founding artists who joined us in our booth. Dana Todd Pope’s series “Because Being Black in a White Space is a Real Thing” always engenders conversation. Pope is a grand example of how to build an art business that is also a thoughtful brand. The girl has got big business chops!
James Nelson did the cover art for Pigment Magazine’s premier issue and continues to take risks with his Afrofuturism work. James signed his magazine for visitors to the booth. All the works exhibited by Pigment International will be available on shop.pigmentintl.com
For Pigment International EXPO Chicago was also about hearing from artists, curators, and thought leaders in the art world. Thanks to Linda Nolan at Northern Trust for hosting us for some of EXPO’s most insightful talks. Northern Trust has been a presenting sponsor for EXPO for eight consecutive shows. The discussion with Mamadou-Abou Sarr, Co-founder and President, V-Square Quantitive Management, Rebecca McDade, Regional Wealth Advisor, Northern Trust, Eric T. McKissack Investment Executive and Independent Board Director, the session was moderated by Marguerite Griffin, Director of Philanthropic Advisory Services Northern Trust.
Additionally, the seventh annual Northern Trust Purchase Prize will go to support the acquisition of Reginald Sylvester II’s ‘Four Corners’ for the Pérez Art Museum in Miami (@pamm). The work was sold by Maximillian William out of London. According to Chloe Austin, Exhibitions and Research Manager with the gallery, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will be presenting Sylvester first solo American museum exhibition, Painter’s Refuge: A Way of Life — A Solo Exhibition of Recent Work by Reginald Sylvester II. It opens May 5, 2022 and will be on view through January 16, 2023.
Pleasure connecting with Milwaukee Art Grande Dame Sandee Robinson, Trustee at Large, Milwaukee Art Museum via Cynthia Henry, owner of Azyha Gallery. Also, Renée Brummel Franklin, Saint Louis Art Museum’s Chief Diversity Officer and Fellowship Director and Wendy Cleveland. I’m a big fan of HBO’s Gilded Age and these women possess all that charm and grace as torchbearers for African American art, specifically the inclusion of African art in mainstream institutions. You better bow down!
Some other boldface names we saw at EXPO Chicago included Michelle Boone at the Poetry Foundation. Silver Room owner and co-owner of the soon to be open Bronzeville Winery Eric Also, Steve and Patricia Blessman, Pigment Advisory Board Members joined Pigment at EXPO Chicago. They just returned from Maui and will be with Pigment in Martha’s Vineyard in August. Chicago’s own dapper photographer and bon vivant Richard Gray was at the show as well as Barbara Bowles and Merrill’s Lynch’s Lisa Pope (hey Soror). And hey to Joe Shanahan (The Metro) glad you’re enjoying the newsletter, we served on the Chicago Children’s Choir Board together. And of course, our favorite UChicago art lover Nadia Quarles was on the lookout for some new works. We discussed the Roux Collective’s Ann Johnson and Delita Martin.
Cynthia Hunt, Trustee, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), stopped by to talk about the upcoming experience by brothers Jack and Nick Cave which opens this May. Pigment snapped a shot with Nick on his way through the show on opening night.
We caught a glimpse of Everette Taylor at Artsy in the Northern Trust Lounge. Hope to see you in the Chi again soon.
Penultimate collector Darrell Walker was mentoring another collector and hanging out at the Maximillian William Gallery. Pastor Hannah graced us with his presence and shared some wisdom from his recent trip to Venice, wear comfortable shoes.
The #BlackNextGen culture keepers were loving on Pigment International at EXPO Chicago. Clinee Hedspeth, MTV journalist Dometi Pongo, the Kulture Museum’s Nicole Murray, Sherman Dilla Thomas, Martryce Roach (DC), who finally got to visit the Stony Island Art Bank, Tonika Lewis Johnson, Mali Simone Jeffers and Alan Bacon at GANG GANG Culture (Indy), collector and writer Jordan Woodruff,The Rouge Historian Kaila Austin, artists EDO and Blake Lenoir all stopped by the booth. Emeka, a PhD. candidate at Northwestern University Thanks to author and Pigment journalist Vee Harrison for working your program and also covering the Dialogue session with EXPO Chicago featured artist Derrick Adams. Pigment was also the sponsor of the Dialogue session with Kameelah Janan Rasheed, we are very fascinated with this Un-Artist.
The Other Art Fair kicks off April 21. Use code PIGMENT for 50% off your ticket. This year Pigment International is partnering with the Agape Collective. You can purchase work from some of the city’s most avant-garde and in demand artists and pick up a copy of our Pigment Magazine. Expect to see works by Robert Lewis Clark, James Nelson, and Roger Carter . Ceramicist Paola Gracida, who Pigment International covered during the Fall iteration of the OAF may be returning as well. Good to see her and her husband Jorge, an industrial designer, at the Pigment Booth during EXPO. The two live in St. Joe, Michigan but now have an apartment in Chicago.
Pamela J. Eatman is opening her Detroit based Blackbird Gallery this June 1. The Chicago native is opening her dream space there and has some amazing international artists including France based Frank Schroeder and Dutch artist Andra Daans. Sabrina Nelson and Pamella Allen, who we wrote about in the Winter 2021–22 Pigment Magazine, will also be part of a featured installation. Her son is also stepping into the gallery world, cheers to building multi-generational creative businesses.
Book publisher OSMOS — Cay Sophie Rabinowitz — we like talking publications with you. More to come.
Patric McCoy’s ears must have been burning as every broker and gallerist had his name on their lips.
Winner, was featured in the Black Creativity exhibition at EXPO by the Museum of Science and Industry. Her mom Wendy Smith is at Liberty Bank and we were in attendance when Gleatha Glispie first showed Raven’s work in her Oakwood Garden.
Life imitates art. Martryce Roach painted her version of the Stoney Island Art Bank before ever having visited, but this Expo she recreated her iconic scene in person. I’ve brought her limited edition print twice and my friends keep snatching it up. Martryce please send me two more.
Generative Multilouge founded by former NPR host Nari Safavi hosted Afghani artist Hashima Ahmadi virtually at their booth. She has been living in undisclosed locations since fleeing the country. Thanks to his team for capturing some video with us. We also had a sit down with Jhun Moon in the Northern Trust Lounge and our paparazzi Naywri ‘Pacino’ Wright stopped by.
Mayor Lightfoot where were you?
Chicago bred artist Kevin Williams was spotted, sorry we missed you. You need to meet Denver based artist Thomas Lockhart. You two have lots in common. The Peninsula Chicago and Kavi Gupta, in conjunction with EXPO CHICAGO, presented I Am Somebody, an exhibition of works by AFRICOBRA artists Sherman Beck, Jeff Donaldson, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, and Gerald Williams. Jae and Wadsworth continue in their practice and now live in Cleveland.
Festival Hall looks amazing during Expo Chicago because of Show Strategy helmed by Glenn Charles Jr. He also does the Armory Show in New York and possible Intersect later this Fall. If you don’t know about him you should ask somebody. And please follow Show Strategy on IG.
This is indeed a good trial run for the Venice Biennale and our team — Veronica Harrison, Dana Todd-Popeand Simon Woods head to Venice on this Sunday so no newsletters until we return. So excited for Myrtis Bedolla of Galerie Myrtis. She is being hosted by the European Cultural Centre-Italy (ECC) for the exhibition The Speculative Future of Blackness.
She was in town for EXPO and got to spend time with her mom, son, daughter-in-law and grandsons. We conferred on her exhibition which kicks off with a private reception on April 21; Opening Day of their show is April 23 and Bedolla will moderate a conversation with the artists joining her on April 24th. We’re hoping to see Delita Martin while there.
Thanks to our team for holding it down at EXPO — Joe, Allison, British, Nicole, Veronica, Dana, James, Danata, Richard, Myles, Johnny, Simone. We see you UChicago students at the Artform Booth. Austin, thanks for stepping in to take our photo when our photographer bailed and for buying one of EDO’s Infinite Titan pins. Hi to Ginny at Chicago Gallery News.
Here’s a quote from someone who stopped by our booth.
Everyone in the booth was fantastic! Very personable and knowledgeable. Thank you ladies! I can’t wait to listen to the PODCAST (Black Canvas) coming soon.
Thanks to our supporters Pamela, Don, Rodney, Patricia, Lisa — ACCL, Tiffany, Vicki, my son Richard.
Lots of info so please forgive errors and politely let me know about them. We’ll make it right.