Work by Black artists abounds in Atlanta galleries

Galleries and museums around the city highlight an array of Black visual artists this February.
Photographer Renee Cox will be featured at UTA Artist Space this February. Shown here: "Miss Thang" 2008.
(Courtesy of UTA Artist Space)

Credit: Renee Cox

Credit: Renee Cox

Photographer Renee Cox will be featured at UTA Artist Space this February. Shown here: "Miss Thang" 2008. (Courtesy of UTA Artist Space)

One of the many pleasures of living in the cradle of the civil rights movement is that Atlanta does February right. It’s not just about chocolate-dipped strawberries and supermarket roses in a city where Black achievement and creativity are paramount. Every Black History Month is also a chance to survey Atlanta’s past and present and the many ways Black life and culture have impacted the city.

The visual arts in Atlanta are a catalogue of Black artistic excellence from Larry Walker and Radcliffe Bailey to Shanequa Gay and Yanique Norman. Galleries like Arnika Dawkins, September Gray, ZuCot and Johnson Lowe have made highlighting Black artists an integral part of their programming. And in February there are several galleries spotlighting Black contributions to the visual arts.

Some of our favorite venues and exhibitions to celebrate Black History Month follow.

Louisiana Bendolph's "Housetop variation with half-squares blocks" (2003).
(Courtesy of Spelman College Museum of Fine Art)

Credit: Erin Croxton

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Credit: Erin Croxton

“Threaded,” through May 24. Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 350 Spelman Lane SW, Atlanta. 404-270-5607, museum.spelman.edu.

The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is an Atlanta treasure with world-class exhibitions all year long celebrating Black women artists both emerging and established. This February the Spelman Museum features “Threaded” a group show focused on textiles by Black women artists. The exhibition features seven new quilts (now held in the Spelman collection) from the celebrated Gee’s Bend, Alabama, community of artists. Those historic works are displayed alongside more conceptual fabric pieces by contemporary artists like Bisa Butler and 2023 Driskell Prize winner Ebony G. Patterson.

“Renee Cox by Renee Cox,” Feb. 23-March 23. UTA Artist Space, 1401 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 336-317-4656, utaartistspace.com

In March 2023, the Los Angeles talent agency UTA opened a satellite gallery space in Atlanta, UTA Artist Space. UTA exhibitions in Atlanta often highlight work by global and national Black artists including Lonnie Holley, Ariel Dannielle, Antonio Scott Nichols and James Williams II. This February UTA features an art world legend, artist and photographer Renee Cox. Centered on disrupting stereotypes about Black people and especially Black women, Cox’s work is often gleefully tongue-in-cheek in its approach. Often placing herself front and center in her images, Cox creates positive visions of the Black female body and has never shied away from controversy as in the 2001 kerfuffle over her photograph “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” displayed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, a wry take on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper with Cox in the role of Jesus Christ. The UTA show is Cox’s first solo show in Atlanta and celebrates 30 years of the artist’s work including some of her seminal works like “Miss Thang” from 2008.

“Small Works, Big Gems” and “Travel Memoirs,” through Feb. 24. Black Art in America, 1802 Connally Drive, East Point. 404-565-1493, blackartinamerica.com

A hidden gem on Atlanta’s art scene, Black Art in America in the East Point neighborhood is a lot of creativity all rolled into one: a contemporary art gallery, a gift shop, a sculpture garden and arts foundation. The vision of Atlanta artist Najee Dorsey, the gallery features work in many media by Black artists. In February the gallery is featuring a small works show “Small Works, Big Gems” of more affordably priced works sized 16″ x 20″ and under. Also on view, “Travel Memoirs” a survey of international artists whose work is inspired by their travels.

Artist Helen McBride Richter's "...aint studdin' you" is part of the Spelman College of Fine Art's "Threaded" an exhibition of textile works by contemporary Black women artists. 
(Courtesy of Spelman College Museum of Fine Art)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

“Davion Alston: Moments from an Interrupted Dream,” through April 27. ACP Project Lab, 546 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta. atlantacenterforphotography.org/

Longtime Atlanta artist and photographer Davion Alston recently completed his MFA at Yale and returns to Atlanta as the second exhibiting artist at Atlanta Center for Photography’s new ACP Project Space. Expect dreamy, fragmented images examining longing and loss at this jewel box gallery.

“Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina,” Feb. 16-May 12. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4400, high.org

The High Museum has made a concerted effort in recent years to embrace Atlanta’s diversity with a roster of shows past and present that speak to the city’s multiplicity. This February the museum is featuring an exhibition of pottery created by enslaved African Americans in South Carolina after stops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Those utilitarian and artful vessels speak to the artistry and skill set of these 19th century craftspeople and will be paired with contemporary works by Theaster Gates, Simone Leigh, Robert Pruitt and Woody De Othello that offer a call and response to those relics of the past.

Hapeville celebrates Black History Month with a juried group exhibition "Multitudes: Celebrating the Depth, Breadth and Diversity of the African American Experience" with work exhibited in Historic Downtown Hapeville at the Hapeville Depot Museum and the Academy Theatre.
(Courtesy of City of Hapeville)

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

“Multitudes: Celebrating the Depth, Breadth and Diversity of the African American Experience,” Feb. 17-March 9. The Hapeville Depot Museum 620 South Central Ave., Hapeville; and the Academy Theatre, 599 North Central Ave., Hapeville. 404-474-8332, academytheatre.org

The southside city of Hapeville has distinguished itself as an arts destination with theater, the visual arts and music all on offer at venues around the city. This February Hapeville has created a showcase of work by local artists called “Multitudes: Celebrating the Depth, Breadth and Diversity of the African American Experience.” The opening celebration Feb. 17 at 2-6 p.m. will feature live performances and local artists.

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