In the period of radical change that was 1963-1983, young black artists at the beginning of their careers confronted difficult questions about art, politics, and racial identity. How to make art that would stand as innovative, original, formally and materially complex, while also making work that reflected their concerns and experience as black Americans? Soul of a Nation surveys this crucial period in American art history, bringing to light previously neglected histories of 20th-century black artists, including Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Barkley Hendricks, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and North Carolinian Romare Bearden. The book explores art-historical and social contexts with subjects ranging from black feminism, AfriCOBRA and other artist-run groups, to the role of museums in the debates of the period, and visual art’s relation to the Black Arts Movement.
Moderated by Kristi McMillan, adult programs manager.