MOCAD Exhibits Showcase Black Art Library and Detroit Narrative Agency

The museum’s new exhibitions debut on Feb. 5
Black Art Library - MOCAD
Instill & Inspire is among the books in Black Art Library’s collection. // Photograph courtesy Black Art Library.

On Feb. 5, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit debuts two new exhibits, Black Art Library and Detroit Narrative Agency: Radical Remedies. The exhibits, which run until April 18, focus on rare publications that highlight Black artists and short videos that explore resilience in the time we’re living in.

Founded by Detroit arts educator Asmaa Walton in February 2020, Black Art Library is an initiative that aims to encourage conversations about achievements by Black artists in historical and contemporary art. The self-titled exhibition will bring the library’s collection of publications, exhibition catalogues, and theoretical texts about Black art and visual culture — which are sourced from a variety of online sales and donors, including Black-owned bookstores — to the public.

To coincide with the exhibit, Black Art Library is hosting a virtual book club and readings from the collection. These events are expected to take place online and in person with social distancing measures in place.

Detroit Narrative Agency - MOCAD
Production still with Detroit Narrative Agency artist fellows courtesy of Detroit Narrative Agency.

“I am pleased that the library will be on view at MOCAD because it’s an opportunity to begin to share this project with the community,” says Walton, who is raising funds to secure a brick-and-mortar space for the Black Art Library in the city​. “These books don’t belong to me; they belong to all of us. They are a tool for us to continue to learn and spread joy through arts education while attempting to share the full breadth of Black visual art history.”​

Meanwhile, Detroit Narrative Agency: Radical Remedies will include short films, videos, and moving image works that feature locals from the city and throughout Michigan. DNA — a community media organization that supports Black, Brown, and Indigenous Detroiters — asked subjects to reflect on what resilience, resistance, joy, grief, and collective care look like as we’re living through a time when COVID-19 and racism are at the forefront.

Along with the exhibit, DNA will also offer content on Daily Rush, MOCAD’s new online platform that features works by visual artist and film makers. Visitors can head to dailyrush.us to explore the organization’s first five years of projects.

For more information about these exhibits, visit mocadetroit.org.

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