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Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power June 27–August 30, 2020


Lorraine O’Grady - Girlfriends Times Two

Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is … (Girlfriends Times Two), 1983/2009, c-print in 40 parts, edition of 8 + 1 AP, courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates, New York. © Lorraine O’Grady / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Installation view of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

Elizabeth Catlett, Black Unity, 1968, cedar, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, photography by Edward C. Robison III. © Catlett Mora Family Trust / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Installation view of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

Betye Saar, Eye, 1972, acrylic paint on leather, collection of Sheila Silber and David Limburger. © Betye Saar, courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles / photo: Robert Wedemeyer

John Biggers, The Stream Crosses the Path, 1961, oil and tempera on panel, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Mandell. © 2020 John T. Biggers Estate / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Estate Represented by Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Installation view of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

Carroll Harris Simms, Vase, c. 1965, stoneware with Albany slip and Bristol glaze, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Susan Garwood in memory of Susan McAshan. © Estate of Carroll Harris Simms

Kermit Oliver, Self-Portrait, 1978, pen and ink on paperboard, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Eleanor Freed. © Kermit Oliver

Installation view of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

Wadsworth Jarrell, Revolutionary (Angela Davis), 1971, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, Brooklyn Museum, gift of R.M. Atwater, Anna Wolfrom Dove, Alice Fiebiger, Joseph Fiebiger, Belle Campbell Harriss, and Emma L. Hyde, by exchange, Designated Purchase Fund, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, and Carli H. de Silver Fund. © Wadsworth Jarrell

Roy DeCarava, Four Men, New York, 1956, printed 1991, photogravure, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Joan Morgenstern in honor of Ray Carrington and the students at Yates High School. © Sherry DeCarava, courtesy the DeCarava Archives www.decarava.org

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, featuring work by more than 60 Black artists that was created over two revolutionary decades in American history. 

The exhibition, organized by Tate Modern in London, was slated to open at the MFAH in April, but it was delayed because of the pandemic lockdown at the previous venue in San Francisco, the de Young Museum. Soul of a Nation is on view in Houston from June 27 through August 30 as the final presentation of the three-year tour.

Soul of a Nation explores what it meant to be a Black artist in America during two revolutionary decades, from the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement to the early 1980s and the emergence of identity politics. The story unfolds in thematic sections, with a special emphasis on aligned groups in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and another focus on the work of artist Betye Saar. Among the many other artists featured are Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Roy DeCarava, David Hammons, Lorraine O’Grady, and Faith Ringgold.

The MFAH presentation adds a section with a number of works from the Museum’s collections to spotlight the legacy of Black American art made in Houston and Texas during this period. Artists represented in this gallery include John Biggers, Kermit Oliver, and Carroll Harris Simms, all of whom contributed to the dynamic local arts scene.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power | June 27–August 30, 2020

► Virtual Programs
Accompanying the exhibition is a dynamic lineup of virtual programming: artist talks, discussions, films, and more. See the virtual programs.

Artists
See video highlights about a selection of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibition. 

► On the MFAH Blog
“Body and Soul” looks at the sociopolitical context around the Elizabeth Catlett sculpture Black Unity.

► Publication
The illustrated exhibition catalogue is available through the MFA Shop (713.639.7360) and the Museum’s Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).

► Admission
Entry is included with general admission. Advance timed tickets are recommended. We welcome all visitors at any time. See new visiting protocols, including requirements for face masks and social distancing.


This exhibition is organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Broad, Los Angeles; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Major support provided by:

     

Additional generous support provided by:
The African American Art Advisory Association (5A) at the MFAH

Location

Audrey Jones Beck Building
5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005
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