Soul of a Nation
Art in the Age of Black Power
February 3 - April 23, 2018
During the rise of the Black Power movement, many Black artists were asking fundamental questions about their role: Should a work of art communicate a direct political message? Could it be abstract? What audience should be addressed? Is there a ‘Black art’ or a ‘Black aesthetic’?
Soul of a Nation—organized by the Tate Modern, and debuting in the US at Crystal Bridges—is a look at how American culture was reshaped through the work of Black artists during the tumultuous 1960s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s. The exhibition features more than 150 artworks, beginning with works by the Spiral group, a New York-based collective who opened up questions of the role of artists in the Civil Rights movement. From there, the exhibition traces the impact of the growing Black Power movement on Black artists, and explores the many ways these artists worked to protest discrimination, rally people to their cause, and celebrate Black culture.
This landmark exhibition features artworks by more than 60 Black artists, including Romare Bearden, Melvin Edwards, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Charles White, Alvin Loving, Alma Thomas, and Lorraine O’Grady. Soul of a Nation opens a window onto the heart of the Black Power movement in all of its beauty, pride, power, and aspiration.
Crystal Bridges is one of only two American venues to host this important and eye-opening exhibition. Following its debut at Crystal Bridges, the exhibition travels to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
Exhibition is organized by Tate Modern in collaboration with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, and Brooklyn Museum, New York. Curated by Lauren Haynes, Curator, Crystal Bridges and Mark Godfrey, Senior Curator, International Art, and Zoe Whitley, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern
Soul of a Nation is sponsored in part by:
Hearne Fine Art , Philander Smith College, Esther Silver-Parker, Deborah Wright, James and Emily Bost
Barkley L. Hendricks, What’s Goin On, 1974, oil, acrylic, and magna on cotton canvas, 65 3/4 x 83 3/4 inches. © Estate of Barkley L. Hendricks. Courtesy of the artist’s estate and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.