Exhibit showcases impact of 60 African-American artists
As one who grew up in the 1960s, attended the March on Washington, was a part of the civil rights movement and cognizant of the messages that society presented during the evolution of the Black Power movement, memories of the past embraced me as I stood amid what was one of the most amazing expressions of artistic talent one could experience — “Soul of a Nation: Art in The Age of Black Power,” presented by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Crystal Bridges was the first museum on this side of the pond to present 164 pieces of work by 60 African-American artists including Romare Bearden, Faith Raingold, Martin Puryear, Alma Thomas, Charles White, Melvin Edwards, Dana C. Chandler, Jr. and many who were hidden treasures in the art world.
The exhibit takes viewers on a historical journey from 1963-1983 and introduces them to the formation of Spiral, a group of New York artists, as well as a group like AfriCOBRA based in Chicago.
Both groups were committed to showing the world that Black artists have a special impact on society and their creative talent could be used in sculpture, painting, and photography — not to mention textiles — as major change was being made across the country.
As one moves from room to room, the intention in the development of the exhibition by Tate Modern in London became quite apparent: Each person can question what is relevant as expressed in the economic, political and psychological meaning of each piece of art.
“Soul of a Nation” connects the dots when it comes to understanding the past and helping people to understand the issues of today. The texture and color combination, and the messaging in stepping out of the box shows true creativity of some of the most accomplished artistic masters of all time.
The exhibit closes on April 23.