August 16, 2020

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Extends “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”

Elizabeth Catlett’s cedar Black Unity, 1968, appears in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, through August 30. Photography by Edward C. Robison III/courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, and Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Talk about timely. It was 2018, long before the death of George Floyd and the worldwide demonstrations it incited, when “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” had been scheduled 
to appear at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, early this spring, after its run in the U.K., Arkansas, New York, and California. But due to another horror, the coronavirus, museums closed to the public. On May 23, however, the MFAH reopened to visitors and the exhibition, now more impactful than ever, has been extended through summer. 174 works by more than 60 Black artists, including the site-specific addition of over a dozen pieces by Texans, span eras—from the Civil Rights movement to the early ’80s—and mediums, organized into 13 sections, East Coast Abstraction, Black Heroes, and AfriCOBRA among them. The museum has also planned a series of panels with artists featured in the show, plus weekly films, all live-streamed from MFAH’s virtual museum experience.

Middle Passage, a 1970 mixed media on canvas by Frank Bowling. Photography by Adam Neese/courtesy of The Menil Collection, Houston, and Frank Bowling/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
The 1964 gelatin silver photograph Rhythmic Cigarettes, Greenwich Village, New York by Albert Fennar. Photography courtesy of Miya Fennar and The Estate of Albert R. Fennar.
Freedom Now, Reginald Adolphus Gammon’s 1963 acrylic paint on board. Photography courtesy of The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, and the Estate of Reginald Gammon/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

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