No shade to some of the very fine sports-themed art exhibits we’ve seen in museums and major sports venues over the years, or to the myriad of artists for whom athletics has been a muse – but the landmark’s SoFi Stadium facility Kinsey’s Collection of African American Art and History and its increase with the extensive contemporary survey organized by the Residency Art Gallery continuum transcends gender. Institutional in scope and scale, the pairing of a world-renowned collection of art and cultural artifacts from Black history spanning the 16th century to the present day, with a survey of contemporary art from great Los Angeles – and especially the artists of Inglewood color – is nothing short of inspired. And its location in the all-new site is as important to the community as it is meaningful to the Kinseys themselves.
In the early 1970s, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey were a young professional couple with a passion for travel and art. Fifty years later, their museum library has become known worldwide as The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection, generating traveling exhibits touching 35 cities across the United States and around the world. Today, after 15 years on the road, the collection is literally homecoming; its installation inside SoFi Stadium in Hollywood Park is less than a mile from the Kinseys’ first family home. “It’s a looping moment for us,” Shirley Kinsey said during a tour of the exhibit, and that’s how a lot of people feel.
It may come full circle for the Kinsey family, but it’s the first of its kind for a venue like SoFi Stadium. Taking full advantage of the curved passageways of the mezzanine architecture and the two-wing division of a central gathering area, the historical collection and contemporary study occupy their own rooms. Curated by Khalil Kinsey and historian Larry Earl, and encompassing everything from portraits, photographs, sculptures and civic records to uniforms, medals, awards and achievements of historic firsts documenting the African-American experience and illuminating stories of excellence black through US history, the collection begins to reach the contemporary era at the midpoint of the building, with fulcrums like the work of Charles White, Romare Bearden, and Ernie Barnes holding the center.
For the purposes of this installation, and as a thoughtful response to the venue, Residency Art Gallery in Inglewood is resuming its curation – ably adopted by Khalil Kinsey (Chief Curator, The Kinsey Collection) and Rick Garzon (Founder/Director, Residency Art Gallery) – just at this cusp, with the aptly named continuum illuminating the mirror side of the space with a vibrant and eclectic look at recent art history and current practices in salient visual art whose roots are firmly in the story viewers have come to see from the other side of the path. Together, the show fills around 100,000 square feet – and also fills centuries of another kind of space.
Featuring exciting works by over 20 artists of color including Genevieve Gaignard, Patrick Martinez, Jaimie Milner, Lyndon Barrois Sr, Texas Isaiah, Samuel Levi Jones, Sharon Louise Barnes, Yasmine Nasser Diaz, Ever Velasquez, Halli Francis, Daniela Garcia Hamilton, Rashaun Rucker, Glenn Hardy Jr., and more, continuum more than true to its intent to contextualize the current moment in Los Angeles communities of color and the visual culture of the African Diaspora in the stories that preceded it.
“Understanding our history and seeing our own reflections in art inspires and empowers us all, and is essential to our shared experience and progress. Bringing the exhibition to Inglewood is hugely important to us as it invites the community to connect with their own stories of strength, brilliance and beauty,” the Kinsey family said in a statement. And to that end, in addition to extended viewing hours and tour package inclusions, outreach programs include field trips, school tours, arts education, teacher workshops, and guest lectures.The collection also benefits the Hollywood Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization that develops education-focused youth programs , health and well-being STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).
But beyond those kinds of targeted outreach plans, the hope here is that the exhibition will not only bring new audiences to engage with this slice of art and culture by taking them outside of traditional venues focused on art, but will also encourage Inglewood stakeholders to feel more connected to their gigantic new neighbour. Already on display in the commercial space of Hollywood Park – the “largest mixed-use urban development under construction in the western United States”, according to press materials – are murals by three Los Angeles artists: Calida Rawles, Geoff McFetridge and Eve Fowler, with more on the way, featuring a pair of bronze sculptures by Alison Saar, and a permanent space on site for Residence Gallery.
With support from the Kroenke Family Foundation, the Kinseys’ own Foundation for the Arts and Education, and the Hollywood Park Foundation/JPMorgan Chase, the two-part exhibit will occupy the large, light-filled hallways of the second-level mezzanine. until march. If you want to see the art without a game or concert ticket, it’s included in SoFi Stadium tourist packagesalso for separately scheduled group tours. Or just be ready to impress your sports/rocker friends with your in-depth knowledge of the arts at the next big show.
Visit TheKinseyCollection.com; SoFiStadium.com/kinsey; and Residencyart.com for more information.
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