Posted May 26, 2017 by Editorial Staff in Art+Culture
 
 

[Press Release] Revelations: Art from the African American South

Ralph Griffin (1952-1992), "Noah's Ark," ca. 1980. Found wood and paint, 18.75 x 68.75 x 14.5
Ralph Griffin (1952-1992), "Noah's Ark," ca. 1980. Found wood and paint, 18.75 x 68.75 x 14.5

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Lonnie Holley (b. 1950 ), "Him and Her Hold the Root," 1994. Rocking chairs, pillow, root. 45.5 x 73 x 30.5 in. Ron Lee/The Silver Factory © Lonnie Holley.

Lonnie Holley (b. 1950 ), “Him and Her Hold the Root,” 1994. Rocking chairs, pillow, root. 45.5 x 73 x 30.5 in. Ron Lee/The Silver Factory © Lonnie Holley.

SAN FRANCISCO (May 3, 2017) — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are proud to present Revelations: Art from the African American South, an original exhibition celebrating the historic acquisition of 62 works of art by 22 contemporary African American artists. Works include paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by acclaimed artists such as Thornton Dial (1928-2016), Ralph Griffin (1925-1992), Bessie Harvey (1929-1994), Lonnie Holley (b. 1950), Joe Light (1934-2005), Ronald Lockett (1965-1998), Joe Minter (b. 1943), Jessie T. Pettway (b. 1929), Mary T. Smith (1904-1995), Mose Tolliver (1919-2006), Annie Mae Young (1928-2012), and Purvis Young (1943-2010). These pieces join the Fine Arts Museums’ renowned collection of American art, adding an essential chapter.

“The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco house one of the world’s greatest 350-year survey collections of American art,” says Max Hollein, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums. “Accordingly, we feel a special responsibility to take the lead in expanding the representation of artists who reflect the historical diversity and complexity of American culture. This exhibition celebrates our groundbreaking acquisition and allows us to introduce this work and these artists to what may be a completely new audience.”

These objects are powerful testaments to the continuity and survival of African American culture. Born in the era of Jim Crow segregation—and with slavery in their inherited memory—the majority of these artists were self-taught. The works in this collection embody the promise and progress of freedom in the civil rights era, and address some of the most profound and persistent issues in American society, such as race, class, gender, identity, and spirituality. Historically marginalized, patronized, or promoted with reductive terms such as folk, naive, or outsider, these artists have only recently garnered new exhibition opportunities, museum representation, and foundation and collector support, as well as critical and popular acclaim.

Displayed in galleries usually reserved for the permanent collection of American art, Revelations: Art from the African American South will showcase the entire acquisition alongside relevant works drawn from the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, including prints by Kara Walker and sculptures by British artist Cornelia Parker and Ghanaian artist El Anatsui.

“While all these objects embody universal human values, they are also powerful testaments to African American cultural resilience and survival,” notes Timothy Anglin Burgard, curator-in-charge of American Art at the Fine Arts Museums. “Originally created as expressions of personal identity and communal solidarity in the South, they will now serve as catalysts to transform global art history.”

Revelations: Art from the African American South is curated by Timothy Anglin Burgard and will be on view at the de Young from June 3, 2017, through April 1, 2018.

PRESS RELEASE CONT’D VISIT WEBSITE


Exhibition Preview

RELATED EXHIBITION | Coming Together

Drawn entirely from the recently acquired Paulson Fontaine Press Archive, Coming Together will accompany Revelations: Art from the African American South. Featuring prints by Lonnie Holley, as well as quilters centered on Gee’s Bend, including Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph, Loretta Bennett, and Loretta Pettway. Bendolph’s quilt from the recent acquisition, Strips and Strings (2003), also figures in this gallery. Coming Together is curated by Karin Breuer, curator-in-charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Due to light-exposure issues, the prints will appear in two rotations, the first from June to December 2017 and the second from January to May 2018.

Image Credits

(Above left to right)
Jessie T. Pettway, “Bars and String-Pieced Columns,” 1950s. Cotton, 95 x 76 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © 2017 Jessie T. Pettway / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Joe Light (1934-2005), “Dawn,” 1988. Enamel and spray paint on wood, 48 x 96 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork:© Estate of Joe Light. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Joe Minter (b. 1943) , “Camel at the Water Hole,” 1995. Welded found metal, 56 x 47 x 51 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © 2017 Joe Minter / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Lonnie Holley (b. 1950 ), “Him and Her Hold the Root,” 1994. Rocking chairs, pillow, root. 45.5 x 73 x 30.5 in. Ron Lee/The Silver Factory © Lonnie Holley. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Mary T. Smith (1904-1955), “Untitled,” 1987. Paint on wood, 32 x 24 in.Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Mary T. Smith. Photo: Gamma One Conversions. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Mose Tolliver (1919-2006), “Rainy Sunshine, Cats and Dog, Drum Beater,” 1967. Housepaint on wood, 26.75 x 29 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Mose Tolliver. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Purvis Young (1943-2010), “Talking to the System,” ca. 1975. Paint on board, 32 x 43.5 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Purvis Young. Photo: Gamma One Conversions. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Ralph Griffin (1952-1992), “Noah’s Ark,” ca. 1980. Found wood and paint, 18.75 x 68.75 x 14.5 in.Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Ralph Griffin. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Ronald Lockett (1965-1998), “England’s Rose,” 1997. Tin and paint on wood, 48.25 x 48.25 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Ronald Lockett / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Thornton Dial, “Lost Cows,” 2000-2001. Cow skeletons, steel, golf bag, golf ball, mirrors, enamel, and Splash Zone compound, 76.5 x 91 x 52 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

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