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News Release

February 9, 2021

Public Artist Talk for Kumasi J. Barnett

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present a public artist talk with Kumasi J. Barnett to accompany his solo virtual exhibition “Kumasi J. Barnett: The Amazing Black-Man and Other American Stories,” at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 25.

The virtual exhibition will be on view from February 16 to April 2, 2021 on the gallery’s website.

The virtual presentation of recent works by Baltimore-based artist Kumasi J. Barnett highlights the artist’s ongoing exploration of race, class, gender, sexuality, politics and other contemporary issues in the United States. Drawing inspiration from the aesthetics of comic books, Barnett remakes those classic narratives into incisive commentary on contemporary culture. The comic books used for these paintings are sourced from Barnett’s own collection, which he started at a young age.

“I’m excited to be able to bring Kumasi J. Barnett and his artwork to our community—virtually that is,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Lewis. “He’s a vitally important artist engaging vitally important cultural issues through his work.”

Barnett alters the covers of old comic books to transform classic good versus evil stories into a reflection on the problems that plague society: systemic racism, police brutality, corporate greed, and political corruption. In Barnett’s paintings, beloved super heroes like The Hulk and Spider-Man are reimagined. The Hulk becomes The Media’s Thug. Spider-Man becomes The Amazing Black-Man, his super hero’s iconic red and blue mask and suit obliterated and replaced with carefully painted jeans, a brown face, and what has become an equally iconic garment since the murder of Trayvon Martin: a gray hoodie.

To attend Barnett’s free public artist talk via Zoom, please email

More About the Artist
Kumasi J. Barnett’s works have been exhibited both in the United States and abroad, including at Lowell Ryan Projects, BravinLee programs, the SPRING/BREAK Art, City Lore, Con-Artist Collective, The Arsenal Gallery, Sulphur Bath Studio, and The Brooklyn Public Library.

His museum exhibitions include the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa; The Boca Raton Museum of Art, and most recently the Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento.

Barnett presented a solo booth with Lowell Ryan Projects at The Armory Show in 2020, in the Focus section curated by Jamillah James.

Barnett currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his work has been featured in Artforum, Ammo, Vibe, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, Autre, Artnet News, and The Guardian, among others.