After months and months of keeping things under wraps, we are very proud - and excited - to be able to announce that the “Whitney and Lee Kaplan African American Visual Culture Collection” of printed materials documenting the visual culture and representation of African Americans and the African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere has found a fantastic “forever home” at the Getty Research Institute!
I began this journey in 1989 with the purchase of the now incredibly-coveted Charles White Brown Pharmaceutical print portfolio and a self-imposed challenge to amass as many books on African American artists in my book-buying forays as I could. By 2020, this archive had grown to 3500 exhibition catalogues, periodicals, posters, announcements, and bits of ephemera including much material on a vibrant Post-War Los Angeles art scene with the likes of Betye Saar, Samella Lewis, David Hammons, Senga Nengudi, Ed Bereal, Bernie Casey, John Outterbridge, and Kerry James Marshall up through Charles Gaines, Henry Taylor, Mark Bradford, Martine Syms, Devin Troy Strother, Senon Williams, and Devin Reynolds. And so many others.
Now, over thirty years later, we are overjoyed that this archive has been acquired by the Getty and will remain a vital resource in the city we love.
We owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to all of the artists, photographers, booksellers, curators, gallerists, collectors, and individuals that helped make this possible. We are particularly indebted to Simone Fujita and Kathleen Salomon at the Getty Research Institute for making our wish of placing this collection in the best possible hands come true. – Lee Kaplan
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