Wednesday, February 1, 2017

African American artists at Georgia Museum of Art

Georgia Museum of Art
January 28 to May 7, 2017
The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will show nearly 60 works by African American artists in the exhibition “Expanding Tradition: Selections from the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection,” on view January 28 to May 7, 2017.

The Thompsons donated 100 works of art by African Americans to the museum in 2012, on the heels of a traveling exhibition drawn from their collection, “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art.” “Expanding Tradition” is a second exhibition highlighting the couple’s commitment to collecting art over the last several decades through a new selection of works borrowed from their extensive private collection.

“Expanding Tradition” also serves as the inaugural exhibition for Shawnya Harris, the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art. Like the earlier exhibition, it offers a chance to expand scholarship on artists of color who, until recent years, have been overlooked. In addition, the Thompsons’ gift of the endowed curatorial position that Harris occupies furthers a larger mission of fostering inclusivity in American art history and the museum profession.

MILDRED THOMPSON (1936–2003), “Open Window Series V,” 1977 (serigraph). | Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection of African American Art, Courtesy Georgia Museum of Art
Harris asserts that both the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue, which will be published by the museum, “continue the unfolding narrative of this important collection of American art.” By presenting artists and themes central to the collection’s development it will examine the promise of inclusion being offered to visitors to the museum and broader audiences.

Freddie Styles (American, b. 1944), "Working Roots Series #10" (detail), 1987. Acrylic on canvas, 58 x 96 inches. Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Collection of African American Art.

Paintings and other works in the exhibition range from the late 19th century to the contemporary era, making for a comprehensive look at African American art history. Visitors will gain insight into the complex relationships among race, gender, class, politics and the economy through the works of art, the catalogue and related programming. Featured artists include contemporary artists Willie Cole, Whitfield Lovell, Kevin Cole and Kara Walker as well as historical artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Charles Sebree, Beauford Delaney and Benny Andrews.  The exhibition also includes rare Depression-era works by Norman Lewis, Charles White, Dox Thrash and Rose Piper.

Amalia Amaki
(American, b. 1959)
Purple Delight, 2005
Mixed media (buttons, beads, antique frame) Diameter: 12 inches

Willie Cole
(American, b. 1955)
Untitled (Chicken), 1995
Women's shoes and galvanized wire 14 3/4 x 22 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches 

Wilmer Jennings
(American, 1910–1990)
De Good Book Says (Church Scene), 1935 Oil on canvas
30 1/4 x 24 inches 

Hiram Malone (American, 1930–2011) 
The Stevedore, 1949 Oil on board
29 x 22 inches