Four years in the making, the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art opens its doors this week.
Part of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the gallery, which was designed by Harvard’s David Adjaye, the John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture, repurposes a commercial space behind Peet’s Coffee, complete with a modern and eye-catching façade.
In a tour on Monday, Cooper Gallery Director Vera Grant expressed her enthusiasm for the gallery and its inaugural installation, “Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy: From the Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection,” curated by Adjaye and Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, the founder and curator of Seattle’s M.I.A. Gallery.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Grant. “The gallery is stunning, it’s beautiful. We’ve been tracking this for four years, and here it is.”
Cooper Gallery visitors will be greeted by “Manhattan,” a large mural by Philip Kwame Apagya, which they’re encouraged to photograph. It’s the only photographable work in the collection, and gallery-goers can use the hashtag “luminos” when they Tweet to @coopergalleryhc.
To kick off the public opening this evening, Hutchins Center Director Henry Louis Gates Jr. spoke with Adjaye and Ibrahim-Lenhardt at the Harvard Faculty Club.