Summer Series

Contemporary Black American Artists: An Introduction

Our Town by Kerry James Marshall, 1995

Please scroll to the bottom of the page to register.

When: Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00 pm, July 8, 15, 29, and August 12, 2020
Where: Meet us on Zoom!
Member Price: $35 per session, $125 for full series
Non-Member Price: $40 per session, $150 for full series*
*Reduced fee option is available. Please see the registration form below.

Black artists have had a major impact on American art in the 21st century. Join us this summer for a four-week online series as we spotlight and explore the work of some of today’s most prominent and inventive Black American artists. Discover how these artists employ novel visual approaches through imaginative use of materials and images as they address issues of social justice, history and culture. 

Before each live session, we will have the opportunity to hear directly from the voices of the artists, as well as Black curators and art historians, through videos, interviews, and articles. During our weekly live Zoom sessions, Artistic Director Joanna Pinsky will lead lively, interactive conversations with participants. We will look together at slides of paintings, collages, installations and prints by these groundbreaking artists: Kara Walker, Glen Ligon, Robert Colescott, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, Kerry James Marshall , Barkley Hendricks, Kehinde Wiley, and Amy Sherrald.

Each Zoom session will be recorded and shared as a private link with participants who are unavailable to participate live.

For more information, please email our Art Tours and Travel Manager, Sarah Packer, at

July 8, 2020: Addressing History
Kara Walker, Glen Ligon, and Robert Colescott
Discover work by Kara Walker, Robert Colescott, and Glen Ligon, who each use very different visual approaches to depict images of slavery and its aftermath, from collage, sculpture, and vibrant paintings to prints and mixed media.

July 15, 2020: Black Female Identity
Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Mickalene Thomas
See how Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Mickalene Thomas address culture, history, and gender in works that incorporate, photography, text, and collage.

July 29, 2020: Discovering a Chicago Titan
Kerry James Marshall
Explore works by Chicago’s premier artist, who combines the experience of being Black in America with extensive knowledge of art history and Black folk art in his rigorously formal paintings, drawings, installations, and videos. 

August 12, 2020: Rethinking Portraiture
Barkley Hendricks, Kehinde Wiley, and Amy Sherrald
Delve into painted portraits by Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherrald, and Barkley Hendricks, who portray Black subjects in novel ways, from the famous Barack and Michelle Obama portraits (by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherrald, respectively) to paintings of everyday people.

Tell Me What You’re Thinking by Mickalene Thomas, 2016