‘Young, Gifted, and Black’: Nationally traveling exhibition reopens UIC’s Gallery 400

Gallery 400 Art Opening - Tunji Adeniyi-Jones_Blue Dancer
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Blue Dancer, 2017, oil on canvas, 68 x 54 in. © Tunji Adeniyi-Jones

Gallery 400 on the University of Illinois Chicago campus proudly announces its reopening this fall with “Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art,” a cutting-edge exhibition of works by Black artists.

Gallery 400 Art Opening - Chiffon Thomas_A mother who had no mother
Chiffon Thomas, A mother who had no mother, 2017, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, and canvas on window screen, 57 x 44 1/2 in. © Chiffon Thomas

Including the work of 50 artists in two successive generations of Black artists, “Young, Gifted, and Black” is a timely exhibition of the lines of lineage and association in contemporary Black artists’ explorations of social relations, sexuality, gender, identity, abstraction and much more.

Showcasing works in a variety of media, the exhibition is drawn from the highly regarded private collection of Bernard I. Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi, and co-curated by writer and curator Antwaun Sargent, an authority on Black art and visual culture, and artist Matt Wycoff, who has worked closely with Lumpkin on the collection for years.

The exhibition, and its accompanying catalog “Young, Gifted, and Black: A New Generation of Artists,” edited by Antwaun Sargent, capture what it means—in the words of Lorraine Hansberry and Nina Simone—to be young, gifted and Black in contemporary art. At a moment when the country is wrestling anew with race and racism and debates about equality and inclusion in the art world have taken on greater urgency, “Young, Gifted, and Black” assesses how these artists are shaping the way we think about identity, art and art history.

“Gallery 400 is thrilled to be the Chicago stop of this exciting traveling exhibition that so brilliantly highlights the breadth of creativity that Black artists bring to expansively exploring representation and identity,” said Lorelei Stewart, director of Gallery 400. “The works on view span a range of approaches, media, and styles but cohesively assert the innovation and influence of contemporary artists of African descent.”

Gallery 400 Art Opening - Paul Sepuya_Dark Room Mirror Study
Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Dark Room Mirror Study (0x5A1531), 2017, archival pigment print, 51 x 34 in. © Paul Mpagi Sepuya, courtesy of the artist and team (gallery, inc.), New York

The show offers UIC students returning to campus an opportunity to explore and revel in works by some of today’s most significant art makers, said Stewart. Among those are works by Chicagoan Kerry James Marshall (who previously taught at UIC); Chicago-born artists Caitlin Cherry, Rashid Johnson, and Chiffon Thomas; and artists pushing the boundaries of figurative painting, such as Jennifer Packer, Christina Quarles and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Stewart said.

“The show is a joy to spend time in,” she said.

During the run of the exhibition, which opens Sept. 2 and runs through Dec. 11, Gallery 400 will convene multiple events featuring “Young, Gifted, and Black” artists in conversation with scholars and artists. September programs include:

• Bernard Lumpkin and Chicago-based Concerned Black Image Makers (UIC alum Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas O’neal, L’Soft Williams, Jamillah Hinson) in dialogue — Sept. 15, 5-6 p.m. on Zoom.
• “Young, Gifted, and Black” artist Jacolby Satterwhite in conversation with Kishonna Gray, scholar and author of “Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming” — Sept. 23, 5-6 p.m. on Zoom.

Please visit https://gallery400.uic.edu for a full list of artists included in the exhibition and for details on the “Young, Gifted, and Black” programs, which — though the exhibition will open for in-person­ visits — will also be presented virtually.

Gallery hours: UIC only: Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; General Public: Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 12-5 p.m.

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