Press Room

Exhibition of First Comprehensive Survey of Faith Ringgold’s Politically Charged Paintings of the 1960s

Apr 11 2013

Exhibition represents an unprecedented artistic exploration of the intersections of race, gender and class made in direct response to social upheaval of the times.

WASHINGTON—Best known as the originator of the African American story quilt revival that began in the 1970s, Faith Ringgold’s pointed political paintings of the 1960s are the focus of American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s, an exhibition on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) June 21–November 10, 2013. The exhibition explores the emotional and at times contentious issues that were at the forefront of her experience of racial inequality in the United States during the 1960s. Ringgold created bold, provocative paintings in direct response to the Civil Rights and feminist movements. With only a few exceptions, these once influential paintings disappeared from view, omitted from critical art-historical discourse for more than 40 years. The exhibition includes 45 works from the landmark series American People (1963–67) and Black Light (1967–71), along with related murals and political posters.

“In this important anniversary year for the Civil Right movement, NMWA is proud to show these little known but important early paintings by Faith Ringgold. This engaging and challenging exhibition reflects the depth of Ringgold’s work and the compelling issues she addresses,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Art and activism in the 1960s broadened opportunities within the art world for women artists, a goal that we continue to strive for at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.”

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