Art At Noon

Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence & the Mbari Club

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General Public
Lori Waselchuk
Image of a color serigraph by Jacob Lawrence (1917 - 2000), "Revolt on the Amistad", Abstract figures of many colors, arms tangled together .

In 1964 African American artist Jacob Lawrence and his wife Gwendolyn Knight embarked on a 9-month research trip to Nigeria, connecting with their peers on the African continent. They met modernist artists, who were a part of nascent organization and salon, the Mbari Club, through their affiliation with the American Society of African Culture. Mbari Club members had their works published in their journal Black Orpheus, presenting hybrid art forms based in the artist's cultural practices, while also being connected to Western contemporary styles. Learn about this dynamic moment of transcontinental travel and alliance with curator Kimberli Gant, the Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Image: Jacob Lawrence (1917 - 2000), Revolt on the Amistad, 1989, Color serigraph, 35 x 25 3/4 in. (88.9 x 65.405 cm.), The Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art. © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Art At Noon lectures are supported by the Lefkoe family, in memory of a beloved member of the docent corps, Mildred T. Lefkoe.  

Bio photo of Kimberli Gant, brown woman with hair pulled back and wearing a blue with white flower print summer dress.

Kimberli Gant is the Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She was previously the McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA, and has also worked as the Mellon Doctoral Fellow at the Newark Museum, and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA).  

She has curated numerous exhibitions and gallery reinstallations including Spike Lee: Creative Sources (2023), Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz & Alicia Keys (2024), Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence & the Mbari Club (2022), Journey’s Across the Border: U.S. & Mexico (2021-22), Tuan Andrew Nguyen: The Boat People (2021), Brendan Fernandes: Bodily Forms (2020), and John Akomfrah: Tropikos (2019). Gant received her PhD in Art History from the University of Texas Austin (2017), and holds both a MA and BA in Art History from Columbia University (2009) and Pitzer College (2002).  

Gant has published scholarly work  in academic books, such as Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond (2015), art publications such as NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Art Lies and African Arts, and exhibition catalogues for The Chrysler Museum, The Newark Museum, The Contemporary Austin, the Studio Museum of Harlem, MoCADA, Paris Photo, and the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos.