This exhibition examines some of the ways artists have represented personal, cultural, and racial identity, within the context of western art history. The twenty-four figurative works—primarily by artists of the African Diaspora—were made over the last fifty years by influential 20th century artists as well as internationally recognized contemporary artists.
The artists challenge stereotypes, revise histories, retell stories, and draw attention to people who have been ignored by or erased from history. Some of them confront the art historical canon head-on, question the dominant narratives and suggest alternate views. They rework established themes and genres—mother and child, saint, biblical and historical scenes, family and self-portraits—positioning people of color in the foreground. A few artists appropriate specific paintings and restage them with new characters, energizing old images in unexpected ways. Additionally, several of the artists borrow fashions, objects and ideas from popular culture to address issues of race, class and gender. By recharging all of these images, the artists in this show spark deeper conversations on race, art, and representation, and invite us to consider a more inclusive and authentic group portrait of ourselves.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website