Exhibition: Revelations: Art from the African American South

From de Young museum:

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Ronald Lockett (1965-1998), “England’s Rose,” 1997. Tin and paint on wood, 48.25 x 48.25 in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection. Artwork: © Estate of Ronald Lockett / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio, Rockford, IL / Art Resource, NY. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are proud to present Revelations: Art from the African American South, an original exhibition celebrating the historic acquisition of 62 works of art by 22 contemporary African American artists. Works include paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by acclaimed artists such as Thornton Dial (1928-2016), Ralph Griffin (1925-1992), Bessie Harvey (1929-1994), Lonnie Holley (b. 1950), Joe Light (1934-2005), Ronald Lockett (1965-1998), Joe Minter (b. 1943), Jessie T. Pettway (b. 1929), Mary T. Smith (1904-1995), Mose Tolliver (1919-2006), Annie Mae Young (1928-2012), and Purvis Young (1943-2010). These pieces join the Fine Arts Museums’ renowned collection of American art, adding an essential chapter.

“The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco house one of the world’s greatest 350-year survey collections of American art,” says Max Hollein, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums. “Accordingly, we feel a special responsibility to take the lead in expanding the representation of artists who reflect the historical diversity and complexity of American culture. This exhibition celebrates our groundbreaking acquisition and allows us to introduce this work and these artists to what may be a completely new audience.”

These objects are powerful testaments to the continuity and survival of African American culture. Born in the era of Jim Crow segregation—and with slavery in their inherited memory—the majority of these artists were self-taught. The works in this collection embody the promise and progress of freedom in the civil rights era, and address some of the most profound and persistent issues in American society, such as race, class, gender, identity, and spirituality. Historically marginalized, patronized, or promoted with reductive terms such as folknaive, or outsider, these artists have only recently garnered new exhibition opportunities, museum representation, and foundation and collector support, as well as critical and popular acclaim.

Displayed in galleries usually reserved for the permanent collection of American art, Revelations: Art from the African American South will showcase the entire acquisition alongside relevant works drawn from the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, including prints by Kara Walker and sculptures by British artist Cornelia Parker and Ghanaian artist El Anatsui.

“While all these objects embody universal human values, they are also powerful testaments to African American cultural resilience and survival,” notes Timothy Anglin Burgard, curator-in-charge of American Art at the Fine Arts Museums. “Originally created as expressions of personal identity and communal solidarity in the South, they will now serve as catalysts to transform global art history.”

Revelations: Art from the African American South is curated by Timothy Anglin Burgard and will be on view at the de Young through April 1, 2018.

Exhibition Details

Visiting | de Young
Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco. Open 9:30 am–5:15 pm. Tuesdays– Sundays. Open select holidays; closed most Mondays.

Ticketing
Entry to Revelations: Art from the African American South is included with purchase of general admission ticket. For adults, general admission is $15; for seniors 65+, $10; and for college students with valid ID, $6. Members and children 17 and under receive free general admission. More information can be found at deyoung.famsf.org/visit.

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