Academy Museum's Black Cinema Show Will Include Contemporary Art

Gary Simmons, Balcony Seating Only, 2017

The Academy of Museum's "Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971" will include a substantial component of contemporary art. On view will be pieces by Theaster Gates, Glenn Ligon, Gary Simmons, Kara Walker, and Carrie Mae Weems. There will also be a three-channel installation by multimedia artist Isaac Julien.

Museums are still figuring out when, and how, to show film alongside other forms of art (LACMA's current "City of Cinema" is one example). The Academy Museum press release says the contemporary art will "address the continuing impact of the legacy of Black filmmaking and its interplay with other traditions in visual art." That describes Simmons' Balcony Seating Only, a pointed comment on the race film era covered by the exhibition. 

Other announced pieces have little discernible connection to Black film. That includes Ligon's much-exhibited Double America 2 (2014); an early Walker silhouette, The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven (1995); and Gates' Some Remember Sock Hops, Others Remember Riots (2020). The latter is a fire hose piece, referencing the use of fire hoses against 1960s civil rights protestors (as well as minimalist painting of the period). It is conceptual and contemplative, and not the most obvious match for moving images. 

"Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971" runs Aug. 21, 2022–Apr. 9, 2023.

Theaster Gates, Some Remember Sock Hops, Others Remember Riots, 2020