The Cooper Gallery

The Cooper Gallery We are a university gallery featuring African and African American contemporary art. The Cooper Gallery is free and open to the Public.
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Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @coopergalleryhc We feature contemporary African and African American art in exhibitions and installations imagined by curators, faculty, artists, and guests; in conversation with diverse cultures, art archives, and historical traditions. Within our new gallery space designed by David Adjaye, our programming offers a myriad of events ranging from: local engagements, workshops, and artist talks; to symposia and lectures. We are a Harvard University Gallery and a part of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Hoping to embark on a lifetime of anti-racist learning and dismantle the white supremacist state? The Cooper Gallery is ...
06/15/2020

Hoping to embark on a lifetime of anti-racist learning and dismantle the white supremacist state? The Cooper Gallery is collecting anti-racist resources specifically relating to the arts. We must perpetuate a change in American culture through the enduring celebration of Black art, music, history, children, women, men, mothers, fathers, LGBTQ+ people, businesses, and communities. If you have any resources to add, please feel free to email us. Follow link: https://buff.ly/2B8uGvd

06/05/2020

The following is a joint statement from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute, William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University Center for African Studies, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Department of African & African American Studies, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, the Harvard University Asia Center, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Center for Public Leadership, and the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness.

“We strongly condemn the Minneapolis Police Department’s vicious and brutal murder of George Floyd. This and other recent events highlight the lethal impact of the racist criminalization of Americans of African descent and the need to explicitly name and unequivocally fight against the racism and violence that has been woven into the fabric of the United States since its founding.

It is understandable that this longstanding, flagrant disregard for the human rights of African Americans has led to outrage across the country. We call on law enforcement officers responding to demonstrations to exercise utmost restraint and work closely with community leaders to avoid escalating the situation further.

The murders of African Americans at the hands of police and vigilantes must stop and perpetrators must be charged and brought to justice. As research centers at Harvard University committed to human rights, we affirm the values of racial equity, justice, and non-violence. For the future of the United States, our public leaders must urgently do the same.”

Along with the statement co-released with other Harvard University institutions via our weekly newsletter, the Cooper Ga...
06/05/2020

Along with the statement co-released with other Harvard University institutions via our weekly newsletter, the Cooper Gallery has this to say about the current revolution underway in the United States and the world in the form of protests for the end of police brutality and systemic racism:

Anti-racism is not an identity or a check-box, but a lifelong journey in introspection, behavior modification, and effective action. In addition to immediately dismantling racist systems of power created to protect white supremacy, we must perpetuate a change in American culture through the enduring celebration of Black art, music, history, children, women, men, mothers, fathers, LGBTQ+ people, businesses, and communities.

For those who would like to use this time of nation-wide protest and mourning to educate themselves about elements of Black culture in addition to the anti-racist activist resources that are already widely circulating the web, artist and curator Dell M. Hamilton compiled a reading list for her 2018 exhibition, Nine Moments for Now, featured below.

The Cooper Gallery was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of writer, curator, and historian Maurice Berger, who die...
03/25/2020

The Cooper Gallery was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of writer, curator, and historian Maurice Berger, who died on March 22 at the age of 63 due to complications related to COVID-19.

Berger served as the consulting curator for “Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection” in the spring of 2019. Parks’s images and Berger’s words told a story of what America was, what it is, and what it can be. He was present at the opening of the exhibition, as part of Vision & Justice: A Convening. It was a pleasure and an education to watch him engage in what he called “talk backs,” one-on-one conversations with visitors as they took in the exhibition. We are so grateful to the Gordon Parks Foundation for introducing us to Maurice Berger, and for collaborating with us to exhibit "Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection."

03/12/2020

Harvard University museums are closing to the public at the end of business on Thursday, March 12, until further notice. This includes the Cooper Gallery. This is in alignment with the closing of many other Boston-area public museums. Thank you for your understanding at this time!

03/02/2020

Thanks again to MullenLowe and M.I.N.D for hosting 'The Connect', a community-based panel discussion at The Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art last Friday. It was a phenomenal event that highlighted the perspectives of black creatives in our local community! In celebration of Black History Month, it was an honor for us to be part of an event that created space for networking, gaining insight on creative industries, and conversations on developing networks to better support black creatives in Boston.

Join us at the Cooper Gallery tomorrow for a discussion of the issues that impact black creatives in the Boston area, ho...
02/26/2020

Join us at the Cooper Gallery tomorrow for a discussion of the issues that impact black creatives in the Boston area, hosted by MullenLowe, The Cooper Gallery, and M.I.N.D. The panel discussion will be followed by a creative mixer featuring music from DJ Mvgic along with drinks, refreshments, and giveaways.

. . .

Register Here: https://buff.ly/392ZXf2

“The series touches on beauty and relates to historical incidents, giving affirmation to those who doubt whenever they s...
02/25/2020

“The series touches on beauty and relates to historical incidents, giving affirmation to those who doubt whenever they speak to themselves, whenever they look in the mirror, to say, ‘You are worthy. You count. Nobody has the right to undermine you—because of your being, because of your race, because of your gender expression, because of your sexuality, because of all that you are.’” - Zanele Muholi

. . .

Zanele Muholi, Bona, Charlottesville, 2015

Visit the Cooper Gallery from now until June 1st to see our current exhibition, Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, featuring the works of Zanele Muholi. Curated by Renée Mussai.

REGISTER HERE: https://bit.ly/32fWfw7 In celebration of Black History Month, Mullen Lowe is hosting a community based pa...
02/19/2020

REGISTER HERE: https://bit.ly/32fWfw7

In celebration of Black History Month, Mullen Lowe is hosting a community based panel discussion called 'The Connect' at the Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art. We will explore a variety of issues that we face as black creatives through our panelists. How can we can best utilize our creative skills/talents to empower our community? By having a space where we can share our experiences and develop solutions, we hope to not only to create a network and share resources but ultimately foster/support the black creative community here in Boston. Register now and join us next Thursday for this spectacular event!

02/14/2020

The Cooper Gallery will be closed Monday, February 17th for President's Day. Thank you for your understanding!

02/07/2020

The Cooper Gallery will be closed for maintenance on Monday, February 10th through Thursday, Friday 13th. We will reopen with regular hours on Friday, February 14th. Thank you for understanding!

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the opening reception and 'Playing in the Dark', a round table in-conversat...
02/06/2020

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the opening reception and 'Playing in the Dark', a round table in-conversation featuring artist Zanele Muholi, curator Renée Mussai, and scholar Hlonipha Mokoena. We had a wonderful time and hope you did, too!

Stay tuned for events at the Cooper Gallery in the upcoming weeks, and be sure to stop by and explore the captivating exhibit, 'Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail The Dark Lioness'.

Image Credit: Zanele Muholi, Bester VII, Newington Green, London, 2017

Photo Credit: Melissa Blackall

Tonight is the last night of our programming series, Concert and Conversation, hosted by Ingrid Monson. Come join us to ...
12/13/2019

Tonight is the last night of our programming series, Concert and Conversation, hosted by Ingrid Monson. Come join us to hear the sounds of Charles Overton and enjoy the stunning art of Frank Stewart on the final day of our exhibition, The Sound of My Soul: Frank Stewart's Life in Jazz!
. . .
Tickets are currently sold out. Please email [email protected], with the names of attendees, in order to join the waitlist.

Coming to the Cooper Gallery January 31st, 2020, please welcome Zanele Muholi's Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness...
11/26/2019

Coming to the Cooper Gallery January 31st, 2020, please welcome Zanele Muholi's Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lioness. A traveling Autograph exhibition curated by Renée Mussai.

In more than 80 self-portraits, celebrated visual activist Zanele Muholi(South African, b. 1972), uses their body as a canvas to confront the deeply personal politics of race and representation in the visual archive. In Somnyama Ngonyama, which translates to ‘Hail The Dark Lioness’ from isiZulu, Muholi playfully employs the conventions of classical painting, fashion photography, and the familiar tropes of ethnographic imagery to rearticulate contemporary identity politics.

"Music washes away the dust of everyday life from your feet" - Art Blakey. . . Wash away the dust this evening and join ...
11/15/2019

"Music washes away the dust of everyday life from your feet" - Art Blakey
. . .
Wash away the dust this evening and join us for the second installation of our Concert and Conversation series, featuring musical guest, Ron Reid's Liberty Quartet, and guest speaker, Christopher Lydon, host of NPR's Open Source.

Update: Tickets are currently SOLD OUT. Please email [email protected] with names of attendees, in order to join the waitlist.

Shots of Robyn Edges performing to Sade's "Is it a Crime" and Anya Nuttz performing to Ariana Grande's "Greedy" during o...
11/13/2019

Shots of Robyn Edges performing to Sade's "Is it a Crime" and Anya Nuttz performing to Ariana Grande's "Greedy" during our Celebration of Black Queer Art with the Association of Black Harvard Women.

We felt honored to be in conversation with Anya and Robyn and watch the phenomenal performances of two talented drag queens from the Boston area. Both Anya and Robyn highlighted the lack of racial diversity in drag, despite the innumerable ways in which black members of the LGBTQ+ community have defined the art form. From artistic creations of the Harlem Renaissance to the current day conceptions of drag, the artistic landscape of drag performance would be unrecognizable without the black LGBTQ+ individuals at the forefront of its development.

Photos by Hakeem Angulu

Join us TONIGHT for a Celebration of Black Queer Art in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month! Featuring local Drag Queen perfor...
10/28/2019

Join us TONIGHT for a Celebration of Black Queer Art in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month! Featuring local Drag Queen performances and a special performance from BlackCAST, this event centers the experiences of Black Queer Artists and provides a space for creative expression. All identities are welcome.
. . .
Organized by the Association of Black Harvard Women
Monday, October 28th 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

“Jazz photography was different; it was a way to document cats that never got documented. You know, the cats that were o...
10/09/2019

“Jazz photography was different; it was a way to document cats that never got documented. You know, the cats that were on the periphery that you never see but needed to be documented because they were on the scene too” - Frank Stewart

Frank Stewart, Stomping the Blues, 1966
https://buff.ly/2mYSyua

The inaugural night of our new programming series, Concert & Conversation at the Cooper Gallery was an incredible succes...
10/03/2019

The inaugural night of our new programming series, Concert & Conversation at the Cooper Gallery was an incredible success. Thank you to musician, Gregory Groover Jr., for the fantastic performance, and to all who were a part of this fantastic event! Our next installment in the series facilitated by composer, performer, and author Bill Banfield, will be held on Friday, October 18th at 7pm. This opportunity to engage with the future of Jazz and celebrate its lasting impact on the fabric of American culture is something that shouldn’t be missed!
https://buff.ly/2IkDq28

Frank Stewart’s work, on display now at the Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, encapsulates the multi-gen...
10/02/2019

Frank Stewart’s work, on display now at the Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, encapsulates the multi-generational impact of Jazz felt around the world. Through the art of photographic documentation, Stewart acutely offers an in-depth look into the personal and performative lives of prolific musicians that many would not ordinarily have the chance to explore.

Frank Stewart, Stacey, 2016

Tomorrow marks the inaugural night of our new programming series, Concert & Conversation at the Cooper Gallery featuring...
09/26/2019

Tomorrow marks the inaugural night of our new programming series, Concert & Conversation at the Cooper Gallery featuring musician, Gregory Groover Jr!

This monthly series at the Cooper Art Gallery aims to connect contemporary jazz arts performances with noted guest speakers, surrounded by stunning and provocative art installations in the Gallery. Conversations are facilitated by composer, performer, author Bill Banfield, and his JazzUrbane label collection of artists, followed by stellar performances for this compelling interdisciplinary weaving of image, sound, and ideas.

The Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art is proud to announce a thorough retrospective of the photography of...
08/07/2019

The Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art is proud to announce a thorough retrospective of the photography of Frank Stewart for our Fall exhibition, curated by Ruth Fine. Frank Stewart’s deep investigation of his African American roots through music, coupled with his intimate back- and on-stage access, offer a rich view of the jazz world via a post-modern vision that is firmly rooted in diverse artistic traditions. Jazz legends and younger stars -- Miles Davis, Ellis Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Etienne Charles, and Cécile McLorin Salvant among them -- are featured in eighty photographs.

Opening Reception: September 16th, 2019. 6-8 pm.

Tomorrow, July 19th, is the last day to see Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection at the Cooper Gallery! Com...
07/18/2019

Tomorrow, July 19th, is the last day to see Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection at the Cooper Gallery! Come experience the world through the eyes of Gordon Parks, as he used his camera to combat the social injustices he saw in the world. Our exhibition will close at 6 pm, Friday.

Photo Courtesy of Melissa Blakall

“These images serve as a testament to the collective resilience of African-American people and are integral to the large...
07/15/2019

“These images serve as a testament to the collective resilience of African-American people and are integral to the larger narrative of the African-American experience.”

Thank you, Jewels Dodson, for your review on “Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection”, co-organized by The Gordon Parks Foundation. Your review provides valuable insight into how the Dean Collection is changing the world of art collecting by being a “gatekeeper of the African-American experience”.

Invisible Man Retreat, Harlem, New York, 1952
Gelatin Silver Print

In 1956, Gordon Parks published a photo essay for LIFE Magazine, entitled, “The Restraints: Open and Hidden.” Parks’ pho...
07/01/2019

In 1956, Gordon Parks published a photo essay for LIFE Magazine, entitled, “The Restraints: Open and Hidden.” Parks’ photos documented the day to day experiences of the Thornton family living in Alabama under Jim Crow segregation. In this photo, young members of the family observe a playground reserved for white children through the holes of a chain link fence. This photo and others from Gordon Parks’ photo essay document the implicit and explicit marks of racism that were present in the segregated South. These photographs and others are on display now as part of our Gordon Parks exhibit until July 19th.

Outside Looking In, Mobile, Alabama, 1956
Archival Pigment Print
Photo Courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation.

Thank you to Hyperallergic for this wonderful consideration of how the Dean Collection is re-engaging with art and colle...
06/28/2019
Hyperallergic

Thank you to Hyperallergic for this wonderful consideration of how the Dean Collection is re-engaging with art and collecting. Our exhibition is co-organized by the Gordon Parks Foundation.

Gordon Parks’ images, from the collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, serve as a testament to the collective resilience of African-American people and are integral to the larger narrative of the African-American experience.

"I’ve seen Parks’s work before, and often. I’ve been struck by his humanity, his precision, the way his eye could shift ...
06/10/2019
The uncommon power of Gordon Parks - The Boston Globe

"I’ve seen Parks’s work before, and often. I’ve been struck by his humanity, his precision, the way his eye could shift from gaudy drama to intimate, stolen moments. But I’ve never seen this."

Thank you, Murray Whyte, for your stellar review of Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection, co-organized by The Gordon Parks Foundation!

A key sampling of the famed African-American photojournalist’s work is on view at Harvard University.

Our #FeatureFriday this week highlights Gordon Parks's 1966-1970 photographs of Muhammad Ali. Parks first began photogra...
05/31/2019

Our #FeatureFriday this week highlights Gordon Parks's 1966-1970 photographs of Muhammad Ali. Parks first began photographing Ali on assignment for Life Magazine, and the two maintained a friendship thereafter. Parks' photographs were published at a time when Ali was criticized heavily for not serving in the Vietnam War due to conscientious objection via religious beliefs. Parks is often praised for capturing the boxer's grace and humanity in his photographs.

Image description: Left: Gordon Parks. "Untitled, London, England, 1966." Courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation.
Center: Gordon Parks. "Muhammad Ali, Miami, Florida, 1966." Courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation.
Right: Gordon Parks. "Untitled, London, England, 1966." Courtesy of Getty Images.

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102 Mount Auburn St
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02138

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Tuesday 11:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 18:00
Thursday 11:00 - 18:00
Friday 11:00 - 18:00

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