Sadie Barnette’s multimedia practice explores her own family history as it mirrors a collective history of repression and resistance in the United States. Fascinated with the personal and political value of kin, her work highlights the love and humanity cultivated in familial spaces. Barnette reanimates an alternate history of Black America, one shaped by state-sanctioned terror but also by love, celebration, and the fullness of human relationships. Sadie Barnette: Family Business brings together a selection of photographs, drawings, and sculptures around a newly commissioned video, which consider the living room as a site of freedom.
Sadie Barnette: Family Business is a multi-sited exhibition, taking place at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz and SJMA, and co-organized by UCSC Professor Gina Dent, SJMA chief curator Lauren Schell Dickens, and Dr. Rachel Nelson, director of IAS. It is commissioned as part of Visualizing Abolition, an ongoing initiative exploring art, prisons, and justice, collaboratively organized by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz and San José Museum of Art. Sadie Barnette: Family Business opens at the IAS is on view April 28 through September 3, 2023.
Sadie Barnette is from Oakland, CA, where she currently lives and works. Barnette has a BFA from CalArts and an MFA from University of California, San Diego. She has been awarded grants and residencies by The Studio Museum in Harlem, Art Matters, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Carmago Foundation in France. She has enjoyed solo shows in the following public institutions: ICA Los Angeles; The Lab and the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; MCA San Diego; the Manetti Shrem Museum, UC Davis; the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College; and The Kitchen in New York. Her work is in many permanent collections, including the San José Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Pérez Art Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Oakland Museum of California, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Walker Art Center, as well as a permanent, site-specific commission at the Los Angeles International Airport forthcoming in 2024.
Visualizing Abolition is an ongoing initiative exploring art, prisons, and justice, with exhibitions collaboratively organized by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz and San José Museum of Art.
Letters from the Inside
Since 2019, a letter writing campaign has facilitated correspondence between Museum visitors and our incarcerated neighbors. The campaign—which has included letters mailed directly to Museum members—has expanded into an onsite letter-writing station. Learn more about the project in this page.
Sadie Barnette: Family Business is supported by the SJMA Exhibitions Fund, with generous contributions from the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and support from Jessica Silverman Gallery.
Operations and programs at the San José Museum of Art are made possible by generous support from SJMA’s Board of Trustees, a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José, the Lipman Family Foundation, the Adobe Foundation, the Richard A. Karp Charitable Foundation, Sally Lucas, Yvonne and Mike Nevens, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Yellow Chair Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Brook Hartzell and Tad Freese, the SJMA Director's Council and Council of 100, the San José Museum of Art Endowment Fund established by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
SJMA and IAS to Present Sadie Barnette: Family Business Opening March 10, Sugarcane Magazine
January 18, 2023
Silicon Valley 2023 Winter Arts Guide, Metro Silicon Valley
January 25, 2023
Local Museums and Galleries Host Thought-Provoking Exhibits, Metro Silicon Valley
February 1, 2023
Museum Highlights | Sadie Barnette: Family Business, SF/Arts
March 7, 2023
The Lexicon of Sadie Barnette, Juxtapoz
March 20, 2023
Visual arts bloom in the Bay Area this spring, SF Chronicle Datebook
March 21, 2023
The Family Saga of Sadie Barnette, Squarecylinder
April 5, 2023