The Artists

In Los Angeles, from left: Ulysses Jenkins, Charles Dickson, Barbara Mccullough, Senga Nengudi and the Brockman Gallery co-founder Dale Brockman Davis. Photographed at Smashbox Studios on Oct. 30, 2019. (PC: Wayne Lawrence/NY Times Style Magazine))

By M.H. Miller for New York Times Style Magazine

"For decades, the art world ignored artists of color — an institutional neglect it’s now trying to correct. But in the 1960s and ’70s, in Los Angeles and New York, three galleries led the way in showing the work of black artists, many of whom are now among the most influential of our time...

The first major gallery run by and for black artists was Brockman Gallery, founded in 1967 by two artist brothers, Alonzo Davis and Dale Brockman Davis, in Los Angeles’s Leimert Park neighborhood. As the historian Kellie Jones notes in her 2017 study, “South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s,” storefront space was easy to come by in the wake of the Watts rebellion, a series of riots that took place in August 1965 in predominantly black Los Angeles communities. The Davis brothers overcame difficult odds to run their own business, having grown up in the Jim Crow South, where being an artist, not to mention a black artist, was unheard-of. Over the next 23 years, Brockman — which was named for the brothers’ maternal grandmother — helped cultivate a roster of young, mostly unknown artists who are now familiar names, among them Dan Concholar, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Ulysses Jenkins, Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge and Noah Purifoy."