previews

  • Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball, 1930–31, plaster, metal, 23 7/8 × 14 × 14 1/4". © Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York.

    ALBERTO GIACOMETTI

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    May 10 - September 10

    Curated by Frances Morris and Catherine Grenier

    The crucial place of Alberto Giacometti in the history of modern sculpture was confirmed at the Venice Biennale in 1956, where he showed six tall female bronzes called Femmes de Venise, after the city of their first exhibition. The fragile plasters for these instantly famed figures will be seen together for the first time in sixty years at Tate Modern’s immense survey of more than 250 works of sculpture, drawing, and book illustration. The Femmes de Venise were first executed in clay, then cast in plaster and further reworked with knives, brushes, and paint (often as thin red and black lines dug into the surface), leading to a further skein of structure (traceries lost in their final bronze incarnations). Still, Giacometti’s scraped and scratched graphic addenda (present in other works) were seen as a new strategy for depicting a realistic world while honoring what was then deemed most philosophically pertinent—the Existential.

  • William T. Williams, Trane, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 108 × 84". From “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.”

    “SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER”

    Tate Modern
    Bankside
    July 12 - October 22

    Curated by Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley

    A little more than a decade ago, curators began exploring the legacy of the 1960s and ’70s Black Arts Movement in the US; in 2005, “Back to Black: Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary” at London’s Whitechapel Gallery linked contemporaneous African-diasporic connections between the US, the UK, and Jamaica. In 2006, Kellie Jones curated the first of three important exhibitions that unearthed key yet underacknowledged abstract and figurative artists with “Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980” at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem. The groundwork laid, “Soul of a Nation” will present more than 150 works by over sixty artists, grappling with the period from 1963 to 1983, during which artists responded to political enfranchisement in the US with bold aesthetic transformation. Archival materials will be showcased alongside paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, and time-based media, including performance. This exhibition will highlight the radical tactics and growing consciousness of artists during the Black Arts and Black Power Movements, demonstrating how their voices (and those of their progeny) are so much needed today. 

  • Arthur Jafa, Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death, 2016, digital video, color and black-and-white, sound, 7 minutes 25 seconds. Arthur Jafa.

    ARTHUR JAFA

    Serpentine Galleries
    Kensington Gardens
    June 8 - September 10

    Curated by Amira Gad

    The first London solo show of influential African American cinematographer, experimental filmmaker, and artist Arthur Jafa opens at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and elsewhere throughout the city in June. Though Jafa is legendary as the cinematographer behind the stunning visuals of Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust, he is also a formidable artist in his own right, currently working at the height of his talents. His recent output explores the contours of and potential for African American politics and creative expression in an audiovisual field saturated with sounds and images of “Blackness.” Often taking jazz and other Black musical forms as inspiration, Jafa’s work with the moving image is deeply creative and philosophical, attuned to patterns in Black expressive culture over time and to the senses of loss and plenitude they evince.