Swizz Beatz Teams Up With UTA Artist Space to Showcase Black Artists in Los Angeles

By Henri Neuendorf

The Grammy Award-winning hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz is teaming up with Los Angeles’s UTA Artist Space—owned by United Talent Agency—to showcase the work of more than 20 contemporary African American and African diaspora artists. The show, which coincides with Frieze Los Angeles, opens on February 13.

The show, titled “Dreamweavers,” features artists Kerry James MarshallDavid HammonsKehinde WileyNick Cave, Arthur Jafa, Deanna Lawson, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others. It was curated by Swizz Beatz’s art advisor Nicola Vassell, who has said she wanted to highlight the “black renaissance” in contemporary art. The works in the show address “the landscape in which we live, which we can all agree has very surreal attributes in which black visual artists have had a very interesting perspective,” Vassell told artnet News, adding that she chose “those artists who articulate this paradox in their work.”

The concept for the show was developed after the talent agency approached Swizz Beatz about collaborating on an exhibition in LA. “I think that Swizz is a tastemaker and he influences a lot of people,” said Lesley Silverman, an executive in UTA’s Fine Arts division. “Swizz and Nicola identified that there’s a need for additional platforms. Swizz is an incredible lighting rod for all the communities within which he sits and he uses his platform to help connect these two worlds and to tell this narrative.”

“This show had to happen here, right now,” Swizz Beatz told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a family gathering, Nicola is my longtime collaborator and UTA was passionate from the beginning. LA is always on my mind.”

The show includes painting, sculpture, and photography, and is drawn from private collections (including Swizz’s) and commercial galleries, and includes new works consigned directly from the artists. Among the works featured is a brand new painting by Kerry James Marshall and a new work by Arthur Jafa.

Everyone involved occupies a different space but we’re all interested in the same destination,” Silverman said. “It’s experimental territory but that’s what it takes to break new ground.”