Please join us for a conversation on the Black Art Library in Detroit, featuring founder Asmaa Walton with Alexis Assam & Jasmine Weber.
In this talk
Please join us for our tenth installment of Common Ground for a conversation on the Black Art Library in Detroit, featuring founder & curator Asmaa Walton with curator Alexis Assam and art writer Jasmine Weber. They will discuss the evolution of the Black Art Library – a catalog of books on Black visual art and culture that began coming together earlier this year and which will become a public-facing archive, research library, and collection of art books, children’s books, exhibition catalogues, biographies, monographs, and ephemera on Black visual arts and artists. They will also touch on arts accessibility and arts education, on filling in the gaps where institutional libraries and museum collections have failed to substantially invest – and how to chart a course for shifting value and shifting resources back into our own communities.
The project is currently fundraising to expand its collection and acquire a brick-and-mortar space in Detroit, MI, and will be on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) in early 2021. Until then, peruse its stacks virtually via its viral Instagram page, read more on the Black Art Library’s fundraising page, and donate today. This conversation will be moderated by Malvika Jolly, and will close with a poetry reading by Karisma Price.
“The Black Art Library will be a space where people of all ages can come to spend time with these books and learn things that they did not have the opportunity to learn in school or at home. It will be a place local students can come to do research for a project, self-taught artists can come be inspired by images that they see between the pages, and art lovers can spend a day falling in love with the work of an artist they had never even heard about before.” –Asmaa Walton
Asmaa Walton is a Detroit native and founder of the Black Art Library, an ongoing collection of books on Black visual culture which will become a public-facing archive, research library, and collection of art books, children’s books, exhibition catalogues, biographies, and ephemera on Black visual arts and artists intended to be an educational resource for the Black community and beyond. The project started this year, and is currently fundraising to expand its collection and acquire a brick-and-mortar space that will act as a non-lending library based in Detroit, MI. Walton holds an MA in Arts Politics from the Department of Art & Public Policy at New York University, and a BFA in Arts Education from Michigan State University. She was previously the inaugural Keybank Fellow at The Toledo Museum of Art, and the 2019–2020 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Alexis Assam is an emerging curator with a dual focus on contemporary art and arts of the African diaspora. She was the 2018–2019 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum where she co-curated the 2019-2020 exhibition, The Shape of Abstractions: Selections from the Ollie Collection, which presented the work of five generations of Black artists who have revolutionized abstract art since the 1940s. She currently works for the Philadelphia Museum of Art in her second year as the Constance E. Clayton Curatorial Fellow, working within the contemporary art department on a number of current and upcoming exhibitions. These include Fault Lines: Contemporary Abstraction by Artists from South Asia and the Future Fields Commission in Time-based Media, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo featuring Martine Syms in 2021 and Lawrence Abu Hamdan in 2022.
Jasmine Weber is a writer, editor, and visual artist focused on Black art histories and visual culture. As Hyperallergic’s news editor, she reports on the challenging power dynamics of art workers in the arts sector and recent efforts to carve out a more equitable future for the creative industries and beyond.
The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poem, and
we’re fortunate to have
Karisma Price is a Cave Canem fellow. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, she is currently a visiting assistant professor at Tulane University.
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