Celebrating Black Culture in Art – WLAC to Offer Art from MCLM Collection

In conjunction with the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM), the West Los Angeles College Gallery will host a special exhibit throughout February in honor of Black History Month. Artifacts from the MCLM collection as well as works by 10 prominent artists will be on display. Artists include Shepard Fairey, Charles Mingus III, Mark Greenfield, Pamela Smith Hudson and Betye Saar.

A public reception will be held on Thursday, January 30 in the gallery from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Many of the artists will be present for discussion. Admission is free. Parking is available directly adjacent to the gallery in the parking structure for $2.00 (exact change will be needed).


Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM): The MCLM collection of rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts, and works of art related to the history and culture of African Americans, with a special focus on Southern California and the American West, has been described as the largest of its kind on the West Coast. For 13 years, the collection was housed in Culver City at the former county courthouse. When MCLM’s lease was not renewed in summer 2019, West offered to store the pieces until a permanent home can be found.

Mark Greenfield is a native Californian who studied under the renowned Charles White and John Riddle, at Otis Art Institute. His work deals primarily with the African American experience, and in recent years, he has focused on the effects of stereotypes on American culture stimulating much-needed and long-overdue dialog on issues of race. Greenfield’s art has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States, most notably at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, and the California African American Museum. He was also a visiting professor at CalArts and currently teaches at Los Angeles City College.

Betye Saar is known for her work in the medium of assemblage. She is a visual storyteller and an accomplished printmaker who was part of the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s. Throughout her career, she has challenged negative ideas about African Americans by appropriating characters such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, and other stereotypes from folk culture and advertising into her works. Saar holds honorary doctorates from CalArts and Otis College of Art & Design. In 2019, the 93-year-old artist had concurrent solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and LACMA.

Shepard Fairey is an influential street artist, graphic designer and muralist best known for founding OBEY clothing and his HOPE poster of Barack Obama which drew national attention. He has also created art for activist movements including Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, and the Women’s March. His art combines elements of graffiti, pop art, business art, and Marxist theory and is included in the collections of The Smithsonian, LACMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Charles Mingus III is the son of the legendary bassist and composer. He is known for his work in film, animation, and art. His work has been featured in the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (S.C.L.C.). Mingus’ pieces have enjoyed numerous solo and group exhibitions across the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also a teacher and lecturer in art and multimedia at the School of Visual Arts, New York, Towson State University, Maryland, and S.U.N.Y./Empire State College, New York.

Other featured artists include: Chelle Barbour, Charles Dickson, June Edmonds, George Evans, Suzanne Jackson

The exhibit is curated by Molly Barnes and MLCM Interim-Executive Director Steven Fisher. Barnes is an art dealer, curator, radio personality, and Artist-in-Residence at West Los Angeles College. In addition to sharing her wealth of experience and knowledge with the college’s aspiring artists, she coordinates free exhibits and lectures, which are open to the public.

West Los Angeles College is located at 9000 Overland Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230. The college is a ACCJC-accredited community college providing full-time, part-time and online paths to university transfer and career preparation.

Graphic – House of Tarot by Betye Saar, from the MOMA Collection

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