Black Art, White Cube

Black Art, White Cube:  An experiential engagement with contemporary art and its audiences

Black Art, White Cube offers an immersive, engaged experience for students interested in learning about the work of contemporary African and diasporic African artists and how such work is represented in exhibitionary spaces. “White Cube,” a term coined in the 1970s for the quintessential modernist exhibit space, is an open gallery with four white walls. Our course is situated in such a space, the new Gallery DAAS, located on the ground floor of Haven Hall. Two major exhibitions are installed in Gallery DAAS each year, one dedicated to a contemporary continental artist, the other to an artist of African descent living in Europe or the Americas. During the winter semester each year, Black Art, White Cube will offer students an opportunity to curate one of these exhibitions.

As an experiential learning opportunity, Black Art, White Cube will immerse students in the process of engaging people and ideas in producing something of substance. Students will leave the class having made something that is “real,” something that has value not only for themselves but also for their peers and other audiences. As such, the experience will empower students to take themselves seriously, to engage in a complex, multifaceted project that yields a tangible contribution for multiple communities. It is not uncommon for students having had such an experience to seek further work in a range of arts-related fields. This career path is particularly significant for the museum and gallery professions, where African Americans are poorly represented. Black Art, White Cube offers an important transformative experience that will produce exhibitions that impact UM students and faculty as well as members of broader communities.

Project Team:

Raymond Silverman, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Valencia Grice, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, Stamps School of Art and Design
Marianetta Porter, Stamps School of Art and Design
Stephen Ward, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), College of Literature, Science and the Arts