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A.M. Weaver (1954–2018)

A.M. Weaver, a Philadelphia-based curator, artist, and art critic whose practice was rooted in multiculturalism, has died. In her writing and curation, Weaver sought to amplify the voices of the marginalized, and was known for organizing exhibitions accessible to all members of a community. Her criticism and interviews appeared in Frieze, Art in America, Art South Africa, Aperture, Artblog, and Bomb, among other publications. She was also a sculptor and printmaker who often addressed issues of exclusion and injustice in the art world through her work. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 27, from 11 AM to 2 PM at the George W. South Memorial Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia.

Weaver was born in Philadelphia in 1954, and received her BFA from the University of the Arts before earning her MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she researched African art and aesthetics in addition to painting and photography. Her curatorial projects reflected her wide-ranging interests in the visual arts. While she was director of visual arts at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, she curated a multimedia series titled “Whose Vanguard?” that led to a lesbian film festival in 1998. Other exhibitions produced by Weaver include “Convergence,” held at Morgan State University in 2002, and a photography-based project titled “Screenings: Public and Private” that was exhibited in 2004. She was the curator of exhibitions and collections at the Noyes Museum of Art in New Jersey from 2003 to 2006, and in 2009 was awarded the Leeway Transformation Award by the Leeway Foundation for her commitment to bettering the art community through social activism.    

Weaver’s ambition as a curator led her to take on bigger venues. For a project titled “Ceremonies of Dark Men,” initiated through Washington, DC’s Arts and Humanities 5x5 Project in 2014, Weaver installed five billboards throughout the capital, each one pairing a photograph and a poem by a different artist to counter negative portrayals of black men in the media.

The most recent show Weaver curated was “Gardens of the Mind: Echoes of the Feminine View” at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, which was on view from October 6, 2017 to January 16, 2018. The group exhibition highlighted five black women artists who explore history, nature, and memory in their art. In a review for Artblog, Andrea Kirsh wrote that the exhibition offered “a rich, visual experience to viewers who can approach it without specialized knowledge of art or feminist discourse.”