Presented by the Helis Foundation.
Organised by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and The Baltimore Museum of Art.
Dorothy Wagner Wallis, Director, The Baltimore Museum of Art
Katy Siegel, Senio Programming and Research Curator, The Baltimore Museum of Art
The Hold Family Foundation
Ella West Freeman Foundation
Participating artists include:
Jennie C. Jones
Serge Alain Nitegeka
Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection offers a new perspective on the critical contribution African American and African diaspora artists have made to the evolution of visual art from the 1940s through to the present moment.
Co-organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Solidary & Solitary traces a movement beginning in the mid-twentieth century with Abstract Expressionist Norman Lewis through to some of the most celebrated artists working today including Glenn Ligon, Lynette Yiadom-Boayke, and Mark Bradford. Curated by noted art historians Christopher Bedford and Katy Siegel, Solidary & Solitary is the first large-scale public exhibition to bring together this vital lineage of visionary artists.
Ranging across 70 years, Solidary & Solitary reveals a rich and complex history woven from the threads of artistic debates about how to act as a Black artist. Told in a series of solos and duets, the exhibition plays on the tension between the “solitary”—being specifically, uniquely and only oneself—and the “solidary” of collective social identity. Placing a spotlight on individuals’ pursuit of creative freedom in different eras and geographical contexts, the exhibition features several artists’ careers in depth, including Norman Lewis, Sam Gilliam, Charles Gaines, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. The duets emphasize artistic affinity and resonance, often across generations, in pairings that include Melvin Edwards’s Lynch Fragments in dialogue with Leonardo Drew’s recent monumental wall sculptures, as well as large-scale paintings by Jack Whitten paintings together with the work of Mark Bradford.
Drawing on the Joyner/Giuffrida collection’s unparalleled holdings, a central theme of the exhibition is the power of abstract art as a profound political choice, rather than a stylistic preference for generations of African American artists. The exhibition will demonstrate how the freedoms of postwar abstraction took on specific urgency in resisting the imagery of racist mainstream culture on the one hand, and pressures to create prescribed, positive representations of black Americans on the other, in order to create new forms that proposed new ways of being. Highlights include large-scale works by artists that fuse the social and the abstract in visceral ways, including Kevin Beasley, Shinique Smith, and Serge Alain Nitegeka, among others.
Solidary & Solitary commenced at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans in September 2017, and will tour to venues across the United States including The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame; University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA); and The Baltimore Museum of Art, which will present an expanded version with additional new commissions.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art New Orleans | 30 September 2017 - 21 January 2018
Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina | 15 February - 15 July 2018
Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, Indiana | 20 August – 25 November, 2018
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland | March – July 2019
BAMPFA, California | August 2019 – January 2020