Announcing: Spring 2017 Exhibitions and Summer of Love Public Programming

Todd Gray: My Life in the Bush with MJ & Iggy, The Ease of Fiction, Love or Confusion: Jimi Hendrix in 1967, and MoAD Emerging Artist Lili Bernard

On View April 26, 2017 through August 27, 2017


Todd Gray: My Life in the Bush with MJ and Iggy

TG Gang Star red 300dpi edit

MoAD presents the work of Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary artist, Todd Gray, who investigates the erasures and potentiality of imaging blackness through photography, sculpture and performance. Comprised of his most recent works in which Gray collages his archived photographs of Iggy Pop and Michael Jackson with his California Mission series, Todd Gray: My Life in the Bush with MJ and Iggy examines California as a site of new narratives and reflections of power. Interested in colonialism as both a psychic and material phenomenon, Gray explores blackness and labor within celebrity.

Todd Gray lives and works in Los Angeles and Ghana. He received both his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He is Professor Emeritus, School of Art, California State University, Long Beach. Recent solo and group exhibitions include the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Luckman Gallery, Cal State University, Los Angeles, Studio Museum, Harlem, NY, USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, Tucson Museum of Art, Detroit Museum of Art, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago among others. Performance works have been presented at institutions such as the Roy & Edna Disney Cal/Arts Theater, REDCAT, Los Angeles, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, and the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles. He was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Grant in 2016.

Image: Todd Gray, Gang Star – Red, 2016. Three archival pigment prints in artist’s frames and found frames, Courtesy the artist and Meliksetian Briggs.

July (date TBD)
$10 General Admission | $5 Student/Senior | Free MoAD Members

Todd Gray will discuss his current exhibition, My Life in the Bush with MJ & Iggy, which seeks to question notions of image making, the act of viewing, and the complicated engagement between image and viewer.


The Ease of Fiction

ruby onyinyechi amanze (I)

The Ease of Fiction, curated by Dexter Wimberly, presents the work of four African artists living in the United States as the foundation of a critical discussion about history, fact and fiction. The exhibiting artists, ruby onyinyechi amanze (b. 1982, Nigeria), Duhirwe Rushemeza (b. 1977, Rwanda), Sherin Guirguis (b. 1974, Egypt), and Meleko Mokgosi (b. 1981, Botswana), present recent paintings, drawings and sculptural works that explore issues of cultural identity, personal agency, and the very notion of “African art.”
The exhibition’s title evokes the idea that people are often more comfortable accepting or believing what is told to them by those in power, rather than challenging and investigating the authenticity of information presented as historical fact. Interweaving their personal experiences and memories into broader historical contexts, these artists create work that is in strident opposition to passive acceptance.
The artists’ cultural backgrounds, as well as geographic diversity, create an opportunity for a provocative examination of varied perspectives of the truth. Although these artists are from four different African countries, their work addresses universal issues that are relevant across all borders.

Image: ruby onyinyechi amanze, Kindred, 2014. Graphite, ink, pigment, enamel, photo transfers, glitter on paper, 80” x 78”, Photo courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary, London and the artist.

Curator-Artist Talk
Wednesday, April 26, 6:30-8pm
$10 General | $5 Student/Senior | Free MoAD Members

Join curator Dexter Wimberly and exhibiting artist Sherin Guirguis in conversation as they embark on a critical discussion about history, fact and fiction as explored in The Ease of Fiction. This program will include a wine reception.

Organized by the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh | CAM Raleigh.
The Ease of Fiction curated by Dexter Wimberly.

The Ease of Fiction is made possible by generous support from AV Metro, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Citrix, and The Betty Eichenberger Adams Society. CAM Raleigh is funded in part by the City of Raleigh based on recommendations of the Raleigh Arts Commission.


Love or Confusion: Jimi Hendrix in 1967

Jerry de Wilde, Hendrix on Fire, 1967. ©2016 Jerry de Wilde.

Jerry de Wilde. Hendrix on Fire, 1967 ©2016 Jerry de Wilde.

As Jimi Hendrix walked out onto the stage at Monterey Pop, he was also stepping out for his American Rock and Roll debut. Playing with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, he introduced himself to California at the festival before the U.S. release of his first album. Hendrix solidified himself as a music idol with a performance enlivened by rock theatrics, sexual flamboyance and magnetic guitar riffs. An integrated band with a black front man, The Jimi Hendrix Experience represented racial and sexual freedom as goals of the 1960s counterculture. Composed of photographs taken of Jimi Hendrix in 1967 by Gered Mankowitz, and Jerry de Wilde, this exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the infamous Summer of Love and the entrance of Jimi Hendrix as one the greatest guitarists of all time.
Free and open to the public in the first floor gallery of the Museum of the African Diaspora, April 26th- August 27th, 2017.

Love City Picture Show
Wednesdays, May 3-June 7, 6:30-9pm
$10 General | $5 Students/Seniors | Free MoAD Members

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, MoAD presents a six-part film series exploring the influence of Black culture on the counterculture of the time. Conjure up sights and sounds from San Francisco’s legendary 1967 Summer of Love and invariably it will be of long-haired, pot smoking young white people dancing to rock music in Golden Gate Park. They were “the hippies” who defined a youth culture and way of life that challenged and shocked the country’s established mores. The merits of the long-lasting impact on American institutions is still being hotly debated. However what is often unacknowledged is that Black musicians, writers and thinkers in California and beyond helped shape and enrich the cultural developments leading up to the Summer of Love as well as during and immediately afterwards.


This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit


MoAD Emerging Artist | Lili Bernard: Antebellum Appropriations

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Through large-scale oil paintings, Lili Bernard reconfigures the art historical cannon by turning classical European paintings into slave narratives in her series, Antebellum Appropriations. Bernard’s work exposes the post-colonial paradigm of suffering and resilience, through a collision of cruelty against compassion. The generational struggle of her Afro-Cuban immigrant family and Caribbean ancestors, coupled with her personal experiences as a rape survivor, informs Bernard’s visual exploration of the impact of trauma and the unconquerable nature of the human spirit.

Image: Lili Bernard, Carlota Leading the People (after Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, 1830), 2011. Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist.

Reception and Artist Talk with Lili Bernard
Thursday, May 18, 6:30-8pm
Free Admission — presented in conjunction with Third Thursdays in Yerba Buena

Lili Bernard is a Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based visual artist and actor. Primarily a painter, she has exhibited her artwork in numerous galleries and institutions. An arts activist and independent curator, Lili is the founder and organizer of the movement, BAILA (Black Artists in Los Angeles).

Lili received her MFA at Otis College of Art and Design, in the Public Practice Program, under the tutelage of Suzanne Lacy. Married to civil rights attorney, Franklin L. Ferguson, Jr., Lili gave birth to six children in a ten year span: Rafael, Isaiah, Elias, Uriel, Joshua and Zion.


Public Programming

Psychedelic Soul: Black Cultural Awakening during the Summer of Love in San Francisco – 1965-69

PsychSoul-FrontThe Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and the California Historical Society (CHS) present: Psychedelic Soul: Black Cultural Awakening during the Summer of Love in San Francisco – 1965-69.

A retrospective of the arts and activism that emanated from the Black Experience of San Francisco in the 1960s. From Black Psychedelia to Black Power, there was “Revolution in the Air” in the Sixties, and the artists and the activists were able to interpret and re-interpret their transforming world in ways never before known. We are all heirs to that work.

Psychedelic Soul will engage with the community over three encounters; panel discussions about the scope and breadth of the influence of the Summer of Love on the African American community culminating in a live musical performance.

All programs will be moderated by Rickey Vincent, author of Party Music and lecturer at UC Berkeley and California College of the Arts.

Thursday, June 8 | 6:30-8:30pm
This program will take place at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street
$10 General | Free for CHS and MoAD Members

Encounter #1: AWAKENINGS will explore the emerging elements of the Black psychedelic impulse, and how the Arts began to play an effective role in uprooting the presumptions of the institutions of the day. Panel will include Dr. Lewis Watts (UC Santa Cruz), R.G. Davis (co-creator of the SF Mime Troupe), and Rosa Lee Brooks (singer and music producer).

Thursday, July 13 | 6:30-8:30pm
This program will take place at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street
$10 General | Free for CHS and MoAD Members

Encounter #2: ASPIRATIONS OF 1967 examines the historical moment in 1967 and the explosion of activity – cultural, social, and political – that took place at the time. The many social strands of society that were being transformed and confronted could be thought of as a singular force of its own, a wave of consciousness and a sense that people collectively were creating something entirely new. Panel includes Avotcja Jiltonilro (poet, radio producer, playwright, musician and DJ) and more speakers to come!

Thursday, August 10 | 6:30-10pm
This program will take place at MoAD
685 Mission Street
$25 General | $15 CHS and MoAD Members

Encounter #3: OUTCOMES addresses the outcomes of the period of radical counter-culture, and how African American artists and free-thinkers applied their craft, and exercised their ideals, imbibed with the liberating lessons of the ‘Summer of Love.” The third panel will also feature a funky band, and offer an exciting finish to the series. Panel includes Linda Tillery (founder of the Cultural Heritage Choir), William Calhoun (founder of the Black Panther Party band The Lumpen) and Faye Carol (performer and educator). Join us for a party with live music on hand to bring the series to a raucous conclusion!

Community Voices: A Public Dialogue

Free Admission
Every Thursday at 5pm from June 29 – August 10, join us for Community Voices: A Public Dialogue, Bay Area Cave Canem poets reflect on themes of our current exhibition. Now on view, The Ease of Fiction presents the work of four African artists living in the United States as the foundation of a critical discussion about history, fact and fiction. The readings and discussion of original work will take place in the gallery for a maximum of 30 minutes. The series culminates with a reception and an evening of poetry by the participating poets on Thursday, August 17, 6:30-8pm.

Founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem Foundation is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.

June 29: Alyss Dixson
July 6: Charif Shanahan
July 13: DéLana R.A. Dameron
July 20: Raina Leon
July 27: Indigo Moor
August 3: George Higgins
August 10: devorah major
August 17: FINAL EVENT

About Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD)

MoAD invites everyone to engage in the cultural expression of the African Diaspora through contemporary art. Situated in the heart of the Yerba Buena Arts District in San Francisco, MoAD is actively engaged in building a community that inspires, educates and connects people of all ages and backgrounds.

MoAD seeks to build a deeper understanding of the African Diaspora through art, programs and events that cultivate wonder and excitement about the ways in which our personal histories are connected. As a nonprofit organization, the museum’s operations and programs are supported by grants and contributions from public and private sources.

As a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, MoAD has access to the Smithsonian Institution’s 136 million artifact collection for research, exhibits and programming. MoAD joins a network of more than 180 organizations in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama with a shared goal of creating lasting experiences that educate, inspire and broaden perspectives on science, history, world culture and the arts. To learn more and to support MoAD, visit

Categories:  Blog, Exhibitions & Events