Details of Portrait of a Sailor (Paul Cuffe?), United States, circa 1800, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Purchased with funds provided by Cecile Bartman, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

‘Black American Portraits’ at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), USA

To complement the presentation of The Obama Portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald on tour from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG), LACMA presents ‘Black American Portraits’. Remembering ‘Two Centuries of Black American Art’guest curated by David Driskell at LACMA 45 years ago, this exhibition reframes portraiture to center Black American subjects, sitters, and spaces. Spanning over two centuries from c. 1800 to the present day, this selection of approximately 150 works draws primarily from LACMA’s permanent collection and highlights emancipation and early studio photography, scenes from the Harlem Renaissance, portraits from the Civil Rights and Black Power eras, and multiculturalism of the 1990s. ‘Black American Portraits’ chronicles the ways in which Black Americans have used portraiture to envision themselves in their own eyes. Countering a visual culture that often demonises Blackness and fetishises the spectacle of Black pain, these images center love, abundance, family, community, and exuberance.

‘Black American Portraits’ is presented in conjunction with The Obama Portraits Tour. The exhibitions are presented in adjacent galleries and both are included in General Admission. The exhibition will be on view from the 7th of November until the 17th of April 2022. For more information, please visit lacma.org

FEATURED IMAGE: Detail of Portrait of a Sailor (Paul Cuffe?), United States, circa 1800, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Purchased with funds provided by Cecile Bartman, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA