The New York Times asked African-American art collectors to ‘show us your wall’

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From left to right, collectors Merele Williams-Adkins and Patrick McCoy.

PEOPLE ACCUMULATE ART in various ways. The stories behind the art in their homes are often as fascinating as the works themselves. In 2016, the New York Times began asking art collectors to “Show us your wall. “ Readers can see their art, how they display it, and learn a little more about collectors, their lives, and their relationship to the art they have acquired.

The feature is typically focused on New Yorkers who own top-notch artwork. Although this is not always the case. Collectors from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami and London were highlighted. A Brooklyn collector who focuses on the work of emerging African photographers was recently a subject. Others were devoted to women artists and Afro-Cuban art. Sometimes collectors are artists who acquire works through exchanges with other artists. Several collectors have been African-American, including Denise and Gary Gardner, main sponsors of “Charles White: A Retrospective” from the Art Institute of Chicago.

The playwright’s collections Lynn Nottage, artist Glenn Ligon, and the inimitable André Léon Talley were also shared.

In the Tribeca apartment in Ligon there is an eclectic selection of works he bought or acquired by trading with other artists over the years. However, he does not consider himself a collector. He has a photograph of dancers at the Savoy by Roy DeCarava, works by Bill Traylor and Eadweard Muybridge and a basketball design by David Hammons.

“What I loved is that it has two dates: 2004 and 2010. This is the year he added a little electric clock to the back of the frame. If we are silent, we will actually hear it ticking. It’s called ‘Time Out’ and a lot of David’s work for me is about language and puns, ”Ligon told The Times of Hammons’ work. “David is one of those artists who gave birth to the idea to come. This is the reason for having a work of art. In addition to visual pleasure, it gives you ideas.

“David [Hammons] is one of those artists who gave birth to the idea to come. This is the reason for having a work of art. In addition to visual pleasure, it gives you ideas. – Glenn Ligon

The artist, who is known for his textual paintings and neon works that explore issues of race and identity, said he traded works with Lorna Simpson, Byron Kim, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and fashion designer Duro Olowu.


Brooklyn collector Stephanie Baptist (left) has transformed her living room into a gallery. To the right, Nancy Lane owns a few works by Glenn Ligon and recently won a large-scale photograph of Yinka Shonibare at an auction to benefit the Studio Museum in Harlem. | Photos by Daniel Dorsa (2) via The New York Times

Earlier this year, Merele Williams-Adkins has been profiled. The Brooklyn-based collector is the widow of artist Terry Adkins. Her husband’s work is on display in her Clinton Hill brownstone, along with works by artists such as Simpson, Ligon and Charles Gaines, all friends of the family. The article was published in the last week of “Terry Adkins: the smooth, the cut and the assembly”, a study of Adkins’ work at the Lévy Gorvy Gallery in New York.

THREE AFRO-AMERICAN COLLECTORS were interviewed for the “Show us your wall” series this month. Stephanie Baptiste, is a cultural producer and publisher. While in London, she became interested in African photography and was looking for lesser known artists. After the purchase of her first image by Hamidou Maïga, she continued her research and collections.

Baptist had moved to London in 2009. She obtained an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, and was responsible for exhibitions and public programs at Tiwani Contemporary for three years, before returning to New York. in 2014.

Back in the United States, she transformed her living room in Brooklyn into a gallery called medium: Tings. Its objective is to connect experienced and novice collectors with emerging artists. The space is open on Sundays and by appointment. Recently, she has presented works by Marcus Leslie, Milo Matthieu, Austin Willis and Arielle Bobb-Willis.

“I want to continue to facilitate conversations around emerging art practice specifically for artists of color, and help individuals see themselves reflected,” Baptist told The Times.


In May, Nancy Lane bought Yinka Shonibare “Fake Death Picture (Le Suicide – Manet)”, 2011 (digital chromogenic print), at a Sotheby’s auction for the benefit of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Patrick mccoy said he owns over 1,300 works of art in his apartment on the south side of Chicago. He points out that anyone can collect art, you don’t have to be rich, and big names don’t need to be. If you like something, buy it, he says.

Anyone can collect art, you don’t have to be rich, and big names don’t need to be. If you like something, buy it, said Patrick McCoy.

A retired chemist, McCoy co-founded a group of art collectors called Diasporal Rhythms. In October, a selection of works from their collections will be on display at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Along with the exhibition, some of the contributors also open their homes for tours of their art collections.

Photographs of important cultural figures, including Gordon Parks, Judith Jamison, Katherine Dunham and Miles Davis, are among the 200 works of art in Nancy lane, which also includes paintings and sculptures. Works by Chakaia Booker, Awol Erizku, Sam Gilliam, Shinique Smith and Yinka Shonibare can also be found in her apartment in Greenwich Village, where a series of six photographs by Carrie Mae Weems hangs above her sofa.

A former government affairs executive at Johnson & Johnson, Lane has focused most of her time on the arts since her retirement in 2000. For over 40 years she was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Lane also owns a few paintings by Ligon. “I like him to take the words and then transform them, for me, into feelings. And with the repetition, it just seems to escalate. So you read the line, “I feel more colorful when I’m projected onto a crisp white background,” and then he repeats it, ”she told The Times. “In rehearsal what happens is you start to feel how disturbing it is to be in this circumstance. That’s what I get out of it. ” CT

LEARN MORE about the art collections of Bernard lumpkin and Ellen Stern.

TOP IMAGES: From left to right, Merele Williams-Adkins and Patrick McCoy. | Photos of Cole Wilson, Whitten Sabbatini via The New York Times

BOOKSHELF
“Glenn Ligon: AMERICA” documents Glenn Ligon’s 25-year investigative exhibition curated by the Whitney Museum of American Art. “David Hammons is on our minds” should be released at the end of this month. “David Hammons: Raise the rubble” explores two decades of work. Also consider “LA Object and David Hammons Body Impressions”. This revised and enlarged edition “Yinka Shonibare MBE” is described as “the most comprehensive resource available on Shonibare”. Another tome, “Yinka Shonibare: criminal ornamentation” is coming in November.

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