Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement

Exhibition Website

Jul 23 2017 - Oct 22 2017

As part of a city-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, the DIA presents Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement.

Explore powerful artworks by African American artists who formed collectives during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. These collectives, made up of artists working together in distinct groups, created art specifically for African American audiences that asserted black identity and racial justice.

This exhibition includes 34 paintings, sculptures, installations and photographs produced by artists working both collectively and independently to address social and political issues surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and today. Situated within the story of these collectives is the Detroit Rebellion of 1967. [...]

Art of Rebellion also includes work by artists who did not belong to a collective but who were also reacting to civil rights and social justice issues. Some examples are Black Attack by Allie McGhee (1967), which is about Detroit’s 1967 rebellion and Selma to Montgomery, Alabama March, Cover of May, 1965 Issue of Ebony Magazine by photographer Moneta Sleet Jr., which shows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading protesters on the famous march in the title of the work.

Many African American artists working in the 1980s to the present were inspired by artists in the collectives, who were virtually unknown and unrecognized in their own time. Among them are Rita Dickerson, whose 2017 painting 1967: Death in the Algiers Motel and Beyond is about the 1967 Detroit rebellion; Elizabeth Catlett’s Homage to Black Women Poets (1984) and David Hammons African American Flag (1990).

The exhibition is co-organized by the DIA and Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which is hosting a complementary exhibition, Say it Loud: Art, History, Rebellion. Both are part of a community-wide reflection on the Detroit rebellion of 1967 that involves about 100 local institutions led by the Detroit Historical Museum.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

  • Various Media
  • American
  • 20th Century
  • Ethnic / Gender
  • Romare Bearden
  • Louis Draper
  • Ademola Olugebefola
  • Amiri Baraka
  • Jeffrey Donaldson
  • Allie McGhee
  • Moneta Sleet Jr.
  • Rita Dickerson
  • Elizabeth Catlett
  • David Hammons
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates