Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art offers a sweeping new perspective on the contributions black artists have made to the evolution of visual art from the 1940s to the present moment. Artists featured include pioneers of postwar abstraction once overlooked by history, such as Norman Lewis, Alma W. Thomas, and Jack Whitten, as well as artists from a younger generation such as Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Martin Puryear, Lorna Simpson, and many others.
A central theme of the exhibition is the power of abstract art as a political choice as well as a personal statement for generations of black artists. The freedoms of postwar abstraction took on specific urgency as these artists resisted both the imagery of racist mainstream culture and pressures to create prescribed, positive representations of black Americans. The exhibition draws on the Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection’s unparalleled holdings alongside highlights from the BMA’s growing collection of contemporary art and select loans.
Curated by Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director, and Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Research Curator and Thaw Chair at Stony Brook University
Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art is presented by The Helis Foundation and organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Contributing sponsorship is provided by The Lambent Foundation and The Holt Family Foundation.
The presentation in Baltimore is generously sponsored by The Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Ford Foundation, Suzanne F. Cohen Exhibition Fund, The Dorman/Mazaroff Contemporary Endowment Fund, Bank of America, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and Sotheby's.
Image Credit: Shinique Smith. Black, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink. 2015. The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection. © Shinique Smith, Courtesy David Castillo Gallery. Photography by John Schweikert