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Whether in the form of drawing, photography or large-scale installation, Sadie Barnette’s work relishes in the abstraction of city space and the transcendence of the mundane to the imaginative. She creates visual compositions that engage a hybrid aesthetic of minimalism and density, using text, glitter, family Polaroids, subculture codes and found objects. Recent works engage as primary source material the 500-page FBI surveillance file kept on her father, Rodney Barnette, who founded the Compton, California, chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968. In the artist’s hands these repressive documents are reclaimed — splashed with pink spray paint and adorned with crystals — in an intergenerational assertion of the power of the personal as political. Barnette’s work deals in the currency of the real, in earthly acts of celebration and resistance, but is also tethered to the other-worldly, a speculative fiction, a galactic escape. As the artist says, “This is abstraction in service of everyday magic and survival in America.”


Sadie Barnette is from Oakland, California. She earned a BFA from CalArts and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally and is in the permanent collections of museums such as LACMA, Berkeley Art Museum, the California African American Museum, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, Studio Museum in Harlem (where she was also Artist-in-Residence), Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim. She is the recipient of Art Matters and Artadia awards and has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Artforum, and Vogue. She lives in Oakland, CA and is represented by Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles.




2012    Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego CA

2006    Bachelor of Fine Arts, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia CA


Grants and Fellowships:

2018    Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

            The Carmago Foundation, Cassis France

2017    Artadia Grant, San Francisco awardee

            Art Matters Grant awardee 

2016    Artist in Residence, The Hermitage, Englewood FL

2015    Artist in Residence, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York NY

2012    Vermont Studio Center residency fellowship, Johnson VT

2011    Thurgood Marshall College artist in residence, University of California, San Diego CA

2009    Diversity Fellowship Award, University of California, San Diego CA

2004    Undergraduate Multicultural Scholarship, Getty Center, Los Angeles CA

2002    Youth Catalyst Grant, City of Oakland, CA


Solo Exhibitions:

“The New Eagle Creek Saloon,” The Lab, San Francisco, CA (2019)

"PHONE HOME," MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora), San Francisco, CA (2019)

"Black Sky," Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2018)

"Dear 1968,..." Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA (2018)

"Dear 1968,..." Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Pennsylvania (2017)

"Compland," Fort Gansevoort, New York, NY (2017)

"Dear 1968,..." Manetti Shrem Museum, UC Davis (2017)

"Do Not Destroy," Baxter St at CCNY, New York, NY (2017)

"FROM HERE," Jenkins-Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2016)

"Superfecta," Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2016)

"Composed and Performed," Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2013)

"Everything, All The Time, Always," Double Break Gallery, San Diego, CA (2012)


Select Group Exhibitions:


“California Artists in the Marciano Collection,” Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA

"Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary," CAAM (California African American Museum), Los Angeles, CA

"Lost and Found in America," Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, FL

"Gold Standard," Evergold [Projects], San Francisco, CA


"A Recounting: Data, Disinformation & Black Experience," Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CA

"Redacted: Art for Human Rights," Berkeley Art Museum, CA

"Bay Area Now 8," Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

"Pussy, King of The Pirates," Maccarone Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

"Emory Douglas: Bold Visual Language," LACE, Los Angeles, CA

"Rise Up! Social Justice in Art from the Collection of J. Michael Bewley," San Jose Museum of Art, CA

"Way Bay 2," Berkeley Art Museum, CA

"Reclamation! Pan-African Works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection," Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA

"All Power: Visual Legacies of the Black Panther Party," Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA

"Manifesto: A Moderate Proposal," Pitzer College Art Galleries, CA

"Black is a Color," Antenna Gallery, New Orleans, LA


"Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance," MOCAD, Detroit  MI

"Evidentiary Realism," NOME Gallery, Berlin Germany

"Black is a Color," Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles CA

"Face to Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture," California African American Museum, Los Angeles CA

"Over The Rainbow," Praz-Delavallade, Los Angeles CA

"Museum of Capitalism," Oakland CA

"Excerpt," Studio Museum in Harlem, New York NY

"A New Look," Monique Meloche, Chicago IL

"Now More Than Always,” Gildar Gallery, Denver CO

"March Madness," Fort Gansevoort, New York NY

"A Mere Sum of Parts," Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles CA

"Humanity Today," Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco CA


"All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50," Oakland Museum of California

"Taking Place: Selections from the Permanent Collection," California African American Museum, Los Angeles CA

"Life During Wartime," Diane Rosentein Gallery, Los Angeles CA

"After Pop Life," curated by Glen Helfand, Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco CA

"Southland," Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles CA

"March Madness," Fort Gansevoort, New York NY  


“Young, Gifted and Black,” curated by Hank Willis Thomas, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Everything, Everyday,” Artist in Residence exhibition, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York NY

“That’s On Me,” curated by Lauren Halsey, Paris Blues, New York, NY

“American Survey Pt. 1,” Papillion, Los Angeles CA

“Incognito 2015,” Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica CA

“The Silence of Ordinary Things,” The Mistake Room, Los Angeles CA


“At Sixes and Sevens,” Pieter, Los Angeles CA

“Incognito,” Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica CA

“5 Year Anniversary,” Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco CA


“Present Tense Future Perfect,” curated by Teka Selman, Carol Jazzar Gallery, Miami FL

“Connection, Reflection,” curated by Nikki Pressley, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles CA

“Art Intersections,” Smithsonian Asian-Latino “pop-up” museum, Washington DC


“FORE,” Studio Museum in Harlem, New York NY

“Sueños Libres, West Coast Soñazos,” Self Help Graphics, East Los Angeles CA

“More Real Than Life,” Southwestern College Gallery, San Diego CA