National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C. to Host “Magnetic Fields” Exhibition on October 13; 1st in U.S. of Abstract Art by Intergenerational Black Women Artists

Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields, 1991; Oil on canvas, triptych, 70 1/2 x 150 in.; Courtesy of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

A landmark exhibition of abstract paintings, sculptures and works on paper by 21 black women artists will be on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) from Oct. 13, 2017–Jan. 21, 2018. Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today places the visual vocabularies of these artists in context with one another and within the larger history of abstraction. This exhibition celebrates those under-recognized artists who have been marginalized, and argues for their continuing contribution to the history and iconography of abstraction in the United States. Magnetic Fields is the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the formal and historical dialogue of abstraction by black women artists.

Chakaia Booker, El Gato, 2001; Rubber tire and wood, 48 x 42 x 42 in.; Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection,; (Photo by E. G. Schempf)

From the brilliant colors and energetic brushwork of Alma Woodsey Thomas’s paintings to shredded tire sculptures by Chakaia Booker, works featured in this exhibition testify to the enduring ability of abstraction to convey both personal iconography and universal themes. The exhibition underscores the diversity of abstract art, which lies in its material construction and conceptual underpinnings, as well as in its practitioners.

Magnetic Fields features a range of works, including early and later career examples, several exhibited for the first time, and the long-awaited reappearance of iconic works such as Mavis Pusey’s large-scale painting Dejyqea (1970), featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s landmark 1971 exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America.

“By highlighting each artist’s individual approach to materials, composition, color and content, Magnetic Fields creates a context for a lively and visual conversation among these artists,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “The project also vigorously expands the art-historical narrative on post-war American abstract art. This exhibition shifts our attention to key practitioners who have not received their due, fostering a deeper appreciation of their accomplishments and asserting a new parity of value for their work.”

Magnetic Fields also pays tribute to the lived experience of each of the featured artists who have come individually to pursue abstraction, disrupting the presumption that only figurative works can convey personal experience. Collectively, work by the select group of prolific creators, born between 1891 and 1981, represents a range of approaches rooted in Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting and Minimalism, with emphasis on process, materiality, innovation and experimentation. The artists in the exhibition are:

  • Alma Woodsey Thomas, Orion, 1973; Acrylic on canvas, 59 3/4 x 54 in.; Courtesy of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay (Photo by Lee Stalsworth)

    Candida Alvarez (b. 1955)

  • Chakaia Booker (b. 1953)
  • Betty Blayton (b. 1937, d. 2016)
  • Lilian Thomas Burwell (b. 1927)
  • Nanette Carter (b. 1954)
  • Barbara Chase-Riboud (b. 1939)
  • Deborah Dancy (b. 1949)
  • Abigail DeVille (b. 1981)
  • Maren Hassinger (b. 1947)
  • Jennie C. Jones (b. 1968)
  • Evangeline “EJ” Montgomery (b. 1930)
  • Mary Lovelace O’Neal (b. 1942)
  • Howardena Pindell (b. 1943)
  • Mavis Pusey (b. 1928)
  • Shinique Smith (b. 1971)
  • Gilda Snowden (b. 1954, d. 2014)
  • Sylvia Snowden (b. 1942)
  • Kianja Strobert (b. 1980)
  • Alma Woodsey Thomas (b. 1891, d. 1978)
  • Mildred Thompson (b. 1936, d. 2003)
  • Brenna Youngblood (b. 1979)

“As curators, we are honored to present this incredible, intergenerational group of artists,” stated co-curators Erin Dziedzic and Melissa Messina. “This exhibition is intended to be a platform to further their visibility, as well as to generate more inclusive conversations about the history of American abstraction that consider the accomplishments and contributions of women artists of color going forward.” Continue reading

Walker Art Center Opens “Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art” Exhibit Today

Nengudi_Senga_RSVP-at-CAMH_Performance_1-copy-1024x680

Senga Nengudi: RSVP at CAMH performance

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is set to present the groundbreaking survey “Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art.”

“Radical Presence” chronicles the development of Black performance in contemporary art beginning with fluxus and conceptual art in the 1960s and extending to the present. While this tradition has previously been contextualized from the perspective of theater and popular culture, its prevalence in visual art has gone largely unexamined until recently. Organized and first presented by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, “Radical Presence” was co-presented in New York City by The Studio Museum in Harlem and New York University’s Grey Art Gallery. The final opportunity to view the exhibition will be at the Walker. The showing opens July 24 and runs through Jan. 4, 2015 in the Target and Friedman galleries.

pope l costume at camh performance 2 photo max fields

Pope.L: Costume at CAMH performance (Photo by Max Fields)

The July 24 launch, a Target Free Thursday Night, with live performances at the Walker by contributing artists Senga Nengudi, Pope.L and Jacolby Satterwhite. Performances continue on Saturday, July 26 with Maren Hassinger and Jamal Cyrus, in addition to a panel discussion hosted by organizing curator Valerie Cassel Oliver from the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and contributing artists Adam Pendleton, Satterwhite, and Xaviera Simmons that addresses the role of performance in their larger artistic practice.

A range of performances and events continue beyond the opening weekend and throughout the run of the exhibition. Beginning in September, the Walker and The Bindery Projects will host Theaster Gates’ “See, Sit, Sup, Sip, Sing: Holding Court” (2012), while additional performances include Benjamin Patterson’s “Activation of Pond” (1962), a performance lecture by Coco Fusco, and Trenton Doyle Hancock’s “Devotion” (2013).

satterwhite jacolby orifice at camh performance photo max fields 3

Jacolby Satterwhite: Orifice at CAMH performance (Photo by Max Fields)

Featuring more than 100 works by some 36 artists, “Radical Presence” includes video and photo documentation of performances, scores and installations, interactive works and artworks created as a result of performance actions, presenting a rich and complex look at this important facet of contemporary art.

‘”Radical Presence’ is a risk-taking exhibition that looks at the vitality of performance-based works by Black artists from the United States and the Caribbean over several decades and across generations,” said Olga Viso, executive director of the Walker. “Engaging works where the performer is often the medium and subject, the exhibition is both provocative and captivating, as it addresses the limits of representation of the Black body and elicits timely reflection on American culture and identity.”

“From seminal works by such highly influential artists as Coco Fusco, Lorraine O’Grady, Pope.L and David Hammons to essential new voices like Theaster Gates, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Xaviera Simmons, ‘Radical Presence’ brings together artists from across generations that push the boundaries of performance,” said Fionn Meade, the Walker’s senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms. “Ranging from intimate acts done solely for the camera to participatory installations and the tracing of overtly public gestures of celebration and resistance, the Walker is thrilled to welcome such a dynamic and far-ranging exploration.”

hassinger maren diaries 3 photo adam avila

Maren Hassinger: Diaries (Photo by Adam Avila)

Works on view in “Radical Presence” include “Hopes and Dreams: Gestures of Demonstration” (2006-2007), a photographic series by Carrie Mae Weems, “Pond” (1962), a performance score conceived and activated by Benjamin Patterson, documentation of Lorraine O’Grady’s performance, “Mlle, Bourgeoise Noire” (1980-1983), “Eating the Wall Street Journal” (2000) by Pope.L, a sculpture and video installation, “Say It Loud” (2004) by Satch Hoyt, a participatory sculpture meant to be activated by gallery visitors and documentation of Jamal Cyrus’ performance “Texas Fried Tenor” from the series “Learning to Work the Saxophone” (2012).

article via insightnews.com