Installation View #museumshutdown

Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition

Hundreds of independent art and museums spaces were forced to close due to the Corona-Crisis. In this series we are celebrating all the fantastic artistic events that are right now sitting behind closed doors. This time it is Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition curated by Dr. Adrienne L. Childs at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.

WAM3Faith Ringgold, Picasso’s Studio (Detail), 1991. Acrylic on canvas with printed and tie-dyed fabric 73 x 68 in. Worcester Art Museum, MA, Charlotte E. W. Buffington Fund 716226

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Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition presents works by African American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries together with examples by the early 20th century European artists with whom they engaged. This exhibition explores the connections and frictions around modernism in the work of artists such as Romare Bearden, Robert Colescott, Renee Cox, Wassily Kandinsky, Norman Lewis, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Faith Ringgold, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others.

European modernist art has been an important, yet complicated influence on black artists for more than a century. The powerful push and pull of this relationship constitutes a distinct tradition for many African American artists who have mined the narratives of art history, whether to find inspiration, mount a critique, or claim their own space. Riffs and Relations examines these cross-cultural conversations and presents the divergent works that reflect these complex dialogues.

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Carrie Mae Weems, After Manet, 2002 (printed 2015). Chromogenic print
31 x 31 in. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Carrie Mae Weems

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Ayana V. Jackson, Judgment of Paris, 2018. Archival pigment print on German etching paper 60 x 40 in. Courtesy of the artist and Mariana Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago

Titus Kaphar, Pushing Back the Light, 2012. Oil and tar on canvas, 107 x 77 x 6 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist and the photographer, Christopher Gardner

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Elizabeth Catlett, Ife, 2002. Mahogany, 19 1/2 x 18 x 38 in. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., by exchange, in honor of Andrew S. Fine in recognition of his outstanding service as a Museum Trustee and as Board Chairman, 1999–2002 © 2020 Catlett Mora Family Trust / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Sanford Biggers, Negerplastik, 2016. Repurposed antique quilt, cotton fabric fragments, tar, and glitter, 81 × 76 3/4 in. Courtesy of Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong, photo: Todd-White Art Photography.

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

William H. Johnson, Nude, 1939. Oil on burlap, 29 3/4 x 38 1/4 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, Gift of the Harmon Foundation

Henri Matisse, Interior with Egyptian Curtain, 1948. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1950

Janet Taylor Pickett, And She was Born, 2017. Acrylic on canvas with collage 30 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Mequitta Ahuja, Xpect, 2018. Oil on canvas, 84 x 72 in. Collection of the artist. Riffs and Relations Exhibition

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963. Acrylic on canvas, 47 5/8 x 44 1/4 in. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Vincent Melzac, 1976

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Hank Willis Thomas, Icarus, 2016; from Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal (Aperture/Portland Art Museum, 2018). Mixed media, including sports jerseys. Original artwork by Henri Matisse, 1944.

Riffs and Relations Exhibition @ The Phillips Collection Wasington DC.

Martin Puryear, Face Down, 2008. White bronze, 14 x 28 x 11 in. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery © Martin Puryear

 

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