Brooklyn Museum Acquires 44 Works From the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and ’70s

On Friday the Brooklyn Museum announced the acquisition of 44 pieces from the Black Arts Movement of the late-1960s and early-’70s from the Chicago-based former art dealers David Lusenhop and Melissa Azzi. The gallerists spent a decade amassing the collection, purchasing many of the works from the artists themselves, and Museum’s acquisitions include pieces by Wadsworth Jarrell, Kay Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, and more.

“This remarkable acquisition, which represents a pivotal moment in American art and culture, adds a new breadth and dimension to the late twentieth-century American holdings of the Brooklyn Museum,” Brooklyn Museum director Arnold Lehman said in a statement Friday, “and continues to proudly distinguish the Museum in its long-term commitment to African American art.”

The Black Arts Movement, which grew out of and in tandem with the Black Power Movement in the ’60s, was especially strong in Chicago, and Lusenhop and Azzi’s collection is particularly rich in artists from there. At least five pieces from the group of 44 works acquired will be included in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum next year titled “Art, Activisim, and Civil Rights in the 1960s,” which will run March 7-July 6, 2014. Another newly acquired piece, Nelson Stevens’s print “Uhuru” (1971), will be hung in the Museum in March in its “American Identities” gallery.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Detail from Jeff Donaldson, “Wives of Shango,” 1969. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of R.M. Atwater, Anna Wolfrom Dove, Alice Fiebiger, Joseph Fiebiger, Belle Campbell Harriss, and Emma L. Hyde, by exchange; Designated Purchase Fund, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, and Carll H. de Silver Fund, 2012.80.13)