An Eye-Opening Exhibition Looks at How Black Artists Have Dissected and Rearranged the History of European Modernism

An Eye-Opening Exhibition Looks at How Black Artists Have Dissected and Rearranged the History of European Modernism

While museums are closed to the public, we are spotlighting an inspiring exhibition somewhere around the globe each day. Even if you can’t see it in person, allow us to give you a virtual look.

Caroline Goldstein for Artnet 

Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition
Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

What the museum says: The show organized by guest curator Dr. Adrienne Childs, “presents works by African American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries together with examples by the early 20th-century European artists with whom they engaged.

“European modernist art has been an important, yet complicated influence on black artists for more than a century. The powerful push and pull of this relationship constitutes a distinct tradition for many African American artists who have mined the narratives of art history, whether to find inspiration, mount a critique, or claim their own space. ‘Riffs and Relations’ examines these cross-cultural conversations and presents the divergent works that reflect these complex dialogues.”

Why it’s worth a look: In the jewel-box museum that is the Phillips Collection, which includes so many gems of European modernism, a show that tackles the myth of the genius white male artist is especially powerful. The contemporary African American artists in this show include luminaries and lesser-known practitioners, many of them directly riffing on European examples that came before them to offer an expanded view of what tradition, transformation, and critique can mean in an era when influence is a complicated and thorny subject.

Link to full article

Source: 
Artnet