As the artist Faith Ringgold once wrote, “You can’t sit around and wait for somebody to say who you are. You need to write it and paint it and do it.” In honor of those wise words, Phoenix Art Museum celebrates Black History Month with a selection of paintings, textile works, and more from the PhxArt collection that explores Black creativity. Plus, learn more about a recently acquired painting by the internationally acclaimed artist Derek Fordjour .
FROM THE VAULT
Qusuquzah Standing Sideways (2012) by Mickalene Thomas
Derek Fordjour, The Futility of Achievement (La futilidad de los logros), 2020. Acrylic, charcoal, cardboard, oil pastel, foil and glitter on newspaper mounted on canvas. Courtesy for the artist and Petzel, New York.
Phoenix Art Museum has recently added The Futility of Achievement (2020) by New York-based artist Derek Fordjour to its contemporary art collection. The Futility of Achievement is the third artwork purchased with funds from the Dawn and David Lenhardt Emerging Artist Acquisition Fund, a key component of the Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative.
Fordjour was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to parents of Ghanaian heritage. He earned his BA at Morehouse College, his MA in Art Education at Harvard University, and an MFA in Painting at Hunter College. He’s exhibited at notable institutions around the world and received commissions for public projects, including a permanent installation for Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City at 145th Street Subway Station and The Whitney Museum’s Billboard Project.
His large-scale painting The Futility of Achievement was recently featured in the exhibition SELF MUST DIE at Petzel Gallery in New York City, which contrasted the inevitability of actual death with the aspirational death of the artist’s ego. The acquisition of Fordjour’s work is part of the Museum’s continued efforts to prioritize the acquisition of works by contemporary artists of color, and the painting is the latest in a series of recent acquisitions in the past decade of works by Black artists, including Arcmanoro Niles, Erica Deeman, and Mickalene Thomas.