The DART Board: 01.05.2022

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday January 5, 2022


In 1972, artist Faith Ringgold dedicated a painting to the women incarcerated at Rikers Island, the notorious jail complex in New York City. Titled “For the Women’s House,” the work is a message of possibility and perseverance, depicting women of different ages and ethnicities in diverse roles inspired by Ringgold’s interviews with detainees. It was conceived, in the artist’s words, to “broaden women’s image of themselves … and to show women’s universality.” 

After five decades at Rikers, as reported by Hyperallergic, the eight-by-eight foot canvas may now be headed to the Brooklyn Museum. The mural is Ringgold’s first public commission and a veritable piece of human rights advocacy history, dovetailing the early years of prison reform and feminist activism. Ringgold, a leading figure of the Black Arts Movement best known for her painted “story quilts,” had received a $3,000 grant from the city to create a public artwork. 

The work was initially destined for Ringgold’s alma mater, City College. When the school reportedly turned down the offer, the artist, inspired in part by Davis’s plight, pitched the project to the Correctional Institution for Women at Rikers — where the inmates previously held at the Women’s House were transferred when it closed that same year. more




Opening January 7: Looking Back: Soho Photo’s First 50 Years 

Soho Photo Gallery celebrates its50th anniversary as one of America’s oldest, most respected member-run photography galleries with works by 109 current and past members. Info  Below: Patricia Beary, Helianthus, 2021

In 1971, Soho Photo Gallery was founded by a group of freelance  photographers, including Lee Romero of The New York Times, Harvey Stein, David Chalk, Catherine Ursillo, and Jill Freedman. They wanted a place where photographers could share their images, their techniques, and their stories. From its first days in a fourth-floor loft on Prince Street, Soho Photo has drawn together photographers with a passion to create and share their vision. In five decades, the gallery has been home to over a thousand members and has exhibited tens of thousands of images.

In addition to our guest exhibitors and speakers, Soho Photo has helped expand the boundaries of photography by creating international photo events, including our Krappy Kamera Competition, now in its 24th year, and the Alternative Processes Competition, now in its 17th year.

Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, NY, NY Info



Closing January 10: Etel Adnan | Light’s New Measure, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Beirut-born novelist, poet, and visual artist Etel Adnan died this past November at the age of 96. Her first New York City museum survey, which opened prior to her passing, presents leporellos (accordion-folded books), tapestries, and paintings spanning from the 1960s, mere years after she first picked up a paintbrush in California, to the present day. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, Adnan’s vibrant, lucid celebrations of nature’s sublimity — mountains made from blocks of bold color, a glowing circle suspended above a horizon line — are like a shot of pure joy.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY Info Audio Guide

Closing January 16: Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South, at the Morgan Library &  Museum

In 2018, the Morgan acquired 11 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the work of Black artists from the Southern United States. Built around the recent acquisition along with several loans, this predominantly drawing-focused exhibition presents work by eight artists including Thornton Dial and Sister Gertrude Morgan. Among the highlights are a mixed media work by Nellie Mae Rowe that depicts the artist with her “Playhouse,” and a found book that Purvis Young illustrated with basketball and football players, a facsimile of which is viewable hereRight: Nellie Mae Rowe, Untitled (Woman Talking to Animals), 1981

The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, NY, NY Info




Opening January 20: Toni Morrison’s Black Book, at David Zwirner

Organized by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author, critic, and curator Hilton Als, who wrote Toni Morrison’s New Yorker obituary in 2019,  the exhibition will focus on the enormous output and cultural significance of Toni Morrison (1931–2019., As Als notes, the show  “will add visual components that italicize the beauty and audacity of her work.” Included will be selected archival materials as well as work by artists Garrett Bradley, Beverly Buchanan, Robert Gober, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Walter Price, Amy Sillman, Bob Thompson, and James Van Der Zee, among others, some of which have been commissioned for the exhibition and were made in direct response to Morrison’s writings.
Above: Photographer unknown, Toni Morrison in China, 1984. Courtesy Princeton University Library (Toni Morrison Papers, Manuscripts Division, Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

David Zwirner, 525 & 533 West 19th Street, NY, NY


On January 26 US Postal Service will release a new stamp honoring Edmonia Lewis, known as the first internationally recognized Black American sculptor. The stamp will be debuted in a dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.  The stamp features a portrait of Lewis based on a photograph taken by Augustus Marshall in Boston between 1864 and 1871, reports Hyperallergic. It is the 45th stamp in the USPS’s Black Heritage series, which dates back to 1978.

Lewis was born in Greenbush, NY, in 1844 to a free Black father and an Obijwe mother. Orphaned at the age of five, she lived with her mother’s nomadic family until she was 12, and was named Wildfire. In 1859, she moved to Ohio to attend Oberlin College, becoming one of only 30 enrolled students of color at the time. It’s there that she changed her name to Mary Edmonia Lewis. But Lewis’s time at Oberlin took a bleak turn in 1862 when two white female classmates falsely accused her of poisoning their drinks. Lewis was acquitted of the crime but had to endure severe beating by white vigilantes and a highly publicized trial. The following year, she was also accused of stealing art supplies. Although she was acquitted again, Lewis was not permitted to finish her studies at Oberlin.

More about how East Greenbush town historian  and childrens book artist Bobbie Reno organized funded that successfully restored Lewis’s unmarked grave in London here


Continuing through March 12 at the Wallach Art Gallery [re-opens January 19]

Three simultaneous exhibitions at the Wallach Art Gallery present upwards of 150 rarely seen artworks and objects of cultural heritage amassed over the past two centuries from Columbia’s Collection of Art Properties, which comprises over 13,000 items from antiquity to the present day. The shows cover vastly different terrain. What is the Use of Buddhist Art? considers the social lives and ritual uses of a variety of Buddhist objects; Time and Face thematically groups photographs ranging from daguerreotypes to contemporary archival pigment prints; and Object Relations pairs Indigenous cultural objects related to children and the future with the work of contemporary Indigenous artists Wendy Red Star, Skawennati, Dakota Mace, and Sonya Kelliher-Combs. Below: Photographer unknown, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1882–85  (courtesy of the Wallach Art Gallery)

Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University Lenfest Center for the Arts reopens on January 19th, 615 West 129th Street, NY, NY Info