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Monday June 27th

Stepping into the past and facing the future with 'Solidary and Solitary'

"Afternoon" by Norman Lewis is featured in the Nasher Museum of Art's exhibit "Solidary & Solitary."
Buy Photos "Afternoon" by Norman Lewis is featured in the Nasher Museum of Art's exhibit "Solidary & Solitary."

"Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection" will challenge viewers to question their expectations and celebrate their differences. 

The exhibit, currently available at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University through July 15, showcases a lineage of artists of African descent from the 1940s to present. The show is comprised of 60 pieces of art from 13 different artists. The collection was organized by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

The show is traveling around the country and the Nasher is the second museum to feature the collection. 

“It fits beautifully with our collection strategy and exhibition program, which has a very strong focus on global artists of color, especially artists of African descent,” said Wendy Hower, director of engagement and marketing at the Nasher Museum. “We have works by many of these artists in our permanent collection.”

Marshall N. Price, the museum's Nancy Hanks curator of modern and contemporary art, said the exhibit is important for recognizing the potentially forgotten history of different artists of color. 

“(Black artists) have historically been underrepresented,” Price said. “The show offers an opportunity for us to look again and revisit maybe a history that has been underrepresented and hopefully expand our knowledge of that area.”

The exhibition allows viewers to step into the past and appreciate what they’re viewing in a historical sense.

“The show I think helps to expand the lenses through which we see the history of art and particularly the history of art by artists of color, and that there are sort of intergenerational affinities,” Price said. 

The collectors of the show, Christopher Bedford, Katy Siegel and Courtney Martin, made sure that they featured artists of African descent and abstract art. 

“Abstract expressionism came about after World War II,” Hower said. “Artists found that the atrocities of World War II were just impossible to convey in representational art, and also these artists were using abstraction as a form of protest. They were protesting against the conventions of mainstream fine art.”

The show features 13 artists, some of which include Norman Lewis, Mark Bradford, Sam Gilliam, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Leonardo Drew.  

“It was important to begin with Norman Lewis because he is the most historic artist in the show and was also a great inspiration for all of the successive generations that came after him,” Price said. 

Charles R. Loving, the director at the Snite Museum of Art at The University of Notre Dame, said the exhibit is allowing African-American artists to receive recognition for their work. 

“I’m also very sympathetic to the theme of the exhibition which is to celebrate these artists,” Loving said. “Many of these artists have been left out of the canon of American art history through neglect or more bluntly – racism. (The exhibition is an) opportunity for (these) artists and historic artists to get their due as well.”

The Snite Museum will be receiving “Solidary and Solitary” in fall 2018.

“Solidary and Solitary” is a learning tool and discussion piece in addition to its role as an aesthetic journey.

“The topic is so timely that African-American artists and all African-American people and the associated history and culture is something that should be celebrated, understood and discussed in our contemporary culture, and that’s why it’s such a wonderful opportunity,” Loving said. 

Viewers of the exhibition will experience pieces of art both large in size and in meaning.

“I hope that the visitor would not only find the visit to the show educational but also engaging and enjoyable,” Price said. “Beyond the kind of intellectual component of the exhibition, it’s an exhibition that’s an aesthetic pleasure.”


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