Black Artists Engagement Project

Season of Warhol Black Artists Engagement Project

Phase Two

The Season of the Black Vanguard exhibition features the work of artists Lavonne Barfield, Martin Hawk, Erica Jae, Cocoa Rae, Narada Riley, and Brittany Williams, which was created for the Season of Warhol Black Artists Engagement Project. The exhibition opens its doors at noon on July 29 at The Black House on Tremont Street.

There is an associated special event at the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) on July 31 – from 1 to 5 pm. The Season of the Black Vanguard first Friday exhibition reception is on August 6, from 4 to 9 pm. The exhibition at The Black House and the event at MAG are free and open to the public.


Phase One

Saturday, March 13, 2021 | 2–4 pm | FREE

In partnership with Rachel DeGuzman of 21st Century Arts Inc., MAG invited six Rochester-based Black artists in their 20s and 30s to respond to the current suite of Andy Warhol exhibitions and installations on view at MAG through March 28th, and in particular, to the limited-edition print Birmingham Race Riot (1964). This idea developed out of a desire to animate the legacy of Andy Warhol in the context of the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement.

The six artists—Lavonne Barfield, Martin Hawk, Erica Jae, Cocoa Rae, Narada Riley, and Brittany Williams—participated in an adapted and deconstructed Long Table conversational format by Zoom with DeGuzman and MAG’s Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director, Jonathan P. Binstock, on the art and career of Andy Warhol.

Birmingham Race Riot by Andy Warhol

Special attention was paid to Warhol’s “Death and Disaster” series, which includes Birmingham Race Riot. The program culminates on Saturday, March 13, from 2 to 4 pm, with a public Long Table conversation lead by the artists as they share their responses—through their visual art, written and spoken words—to the provocation of Andy Warhol.

shown: Andy Warhol, Birmingham Race Riot, 1964.


21st Century Art Inc.’s virtual Long Table model was reimagined for “Season of Warhol” to foster a progressive dialogue – centering the perspectives of six Rochester, NY-based Black artists. The cohort of artists includes Lavonne Barfield, Martin Hawk, Erica Jae, Cocoa Rae, Narada Riley, and Brittany Williams.

January 19, 2021: Part I
At the reconvening, the cohort had a robust conversation about Warhol and his artwork. The recording of this conversation is available here. What do we mean by a progressive dialogue? This Long Table Conversation was provoked by “Season of Warhol” as well as the presentations and conversation from the first convening. Think of this as a 2-episode public presentation, and this is Part I.


March 13, 2021: Part II
Part 2 is the culminating event that includes showing the cohort’s artwork and the final Long Table conversation.


About Rachel DeGuzman and 21st Century Arts Inc.
Rachel Deguzman

Rachel Y. DeGuzman is the award-winning founder and executive director of 21st Century Arts Inc., which is based in The Black House, where she serves as managing curator. The focus of DeGuzman’s work is decentering whiteness in arts/culture by centering the art, narratives, and voices of people of color—especially women and marginalized LGBTQ+ communities. To help fulfill that vision, she established the “At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice Long Table Conversation and Installation initiative,” first presented by 21st Century Arts in 2017. Her current work grew out of a traditional career in professional arts with the intent to produce work more rooted in both art and community that values experimentation, innovation, and creativity in all its forms, as well as social justice and equity.

Building on more than seven years of programming as 21st Century Arts, 21st Century Arts Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Launched in July 2020, it is a producer, presenter, and convener that centers BIPOC culture and fosters equity and racial justice in the arts sector.

21st Century Arts is located in and produces work at a multi-faceted arts space, The Black House, which is located in Rochester, NY.

shown: Photo of Rachel DeGuzman (detail) by Cocoa Rae – October 2020.