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Boca Raton Museum of Art Commemorates Black History Month

Boca Raton Museum of Art Commemorates Black History Month

The Boca Raton Museum of Art's online initiatives have become a mainstay for art lovers to enjoy from the comfort and safety of their homes during the pandemic.

New for Black History Month, the museum will present a virtual art to enjoy online by Renee Cox and Benjamin Patterson. Their compelling works are currently on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

The Founding Director of the FMU Social Justice Institute, Dr. Tameka Hobbs, presents an educational webinar about the history of racism in Florida.

The Boca Raton Museum of Art's new online video shines a light on "The Signing," an artwork by Renee Cox (pictured above) that is making its museum premiere with this exhibition. Her work glamorously re-imagines the signing of the U.S. Constitution with women and men of color in place of the founding fathers. The Museum will exhibit this artwork for several months, through September of 2021.

The new art video for Black History Month also showcases "My 13 Presidents" by Benjamin Patterson (above), the only Black member of the Fluxus Art Movement and its only Black member.

Patterson was also a symphony musician and had to emigrate to Europe in 1960 because at that time no orchestras in the U.S. would hire Black musicians. In his wry series, the artist humorously depicts the13 U.S. presidents that served during his lifetime (1934 - 2016) and ends with President Obama. Patterson died in June of the election year 2016, leaving us to wonder how his ironic presidential depictions might have evolved during present times.

Strange Fruit in Florida - Online Webinar

The story of Florida’s painful history of racial violence

The Boca Raton Museum of Art invited Dr. Tameka Hobbs, the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Founding Director of the FMU Social Justice Institute at Florida Memorial University, to present an online lecture for Black History Month. This online lecture for Museum members is now available for the public to also view, with free access until March 4th.

Dr. Tamika Hobbs, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Founding Director of the Social Justice Institute at Florida Memorial University gives a video lecture. 

In the video lecture, Dr. Hobbs shares the story of Florida’s painful history of racial violence (the video lecture includes graphic historic images that may not be suitable for children). Dr. Hobbs highlights civil rights activist Harry T. Moore’s fight against lynching and the Ku Klux Klan that led to the murder of Moore and his wife, in a bombing of their Brevard County home.

Her presentation is titled Strange Fruit in Florida (referring to the 1937 song Strange Fruit made famous by singer Billie Holiday about the lynching of African Americans). The lecture was moderated by Duane Smith, the Adult & Community Programs Coordinator at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Black History Month Online Arts Programs from the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Black History Month is celebrated annually during the month of February to recognize the achievements by African Americans, the history of Black Americans and their central role in U.S. history, and is also known as African American History Month.

In the United States, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.

During Black History Month, as detailed in this article in Ebony Magazine by Dr. Gregory Carr, Associate Professor and Chair of Howard University’s Department of Afro American Studies, America is ". . . challenged to contemplate the global and national journey and achievements of its African-descended residents. The ritual was born and driven by the single-minded devotion and sacrifice of Carter Godwin Woodson (1875–1950), a son of formerly enslaved parents who defied American apartheid to acquire a Harvard Ph.D., using it with remarkable efficiency to create organizations and rituals that continue to shape our struggle for intellectual liberation."

Signing by Renee Cox

The Signing, by Renee Cox

New video online for virtual viewing. Her artwork is exhibited at the Museum through September of 2021.

"The imagery of The Signing, by Renee Cox, brings to light that although people of color did not participate in the signing of the Constitution, they have most certainly played important roles and made vital contributions to the building of this country," says Kathleen Goncharov, Senior Curator of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. "Museum visitors are encouraged to acknowledge that people of color have been largely left out of history books,"

Her contemporary and glamorous twist of the historic painting, her 12-foot long photograph re-imagines women and men of color in the place of the Founding Fathers. Her subjects are all decked out -- some in current fashions, others in 1700s period clothing, and some wear dazzling African garb.

Describing her photography, Renee Cox states: "This work aims to unleash the potential of the ordinary and bring it into a new realm of possibilities. It's about time we re-imagine our own constitutions," says Renee Cox.

 

My 13 Presidents, by Benjamin Patterson

New video online for virtual viewing. His artwork is currently on view this season at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Benjamin Patterson was a founding member of the Fluxus art movement, and the only Black member of Fluxus. His wry presidential portraits strike a curious chord during contemporary election cycles.

In his series My Thirteen Presidents, Patterson juxtaposes the presidents that served during his lifetime (from Roosevelt to Obama) in typical Fluxus fashion: exposing the convergence of their circumstances and the decisions they each made during their presidency. 

He draws the foundation of each president’s character through popular astrology, extending to the cosmos and nature

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