This traveling exhibition of works from the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem in partnership with the American Federation of Arts, filled several gallery spaces on two floors of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for the last 3 months and closed on December 8, 2019. Kalamazoo, Michigan was the only Midwest venue for this exhibition of over 100 works by 80 African American artists from the 1920’s to present. Every medium is featured in this major exhibition. Black Refractions is touring the country while the Studio Museum completes its new building.
Many of the featured artists in Black Refractions have the distinction of having completed the Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum. It was noteworthy that the artwork of former residency participants has become part of the permanent collection of the Studio Museum. To see the works of Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Barkley Hendricks, and Norman Lewis alongside those of Kerry James Marshall, Henry Taylor, Noah Davis, Mark Bradford, Titus Kaphar and Adia Millett is to witness the passing of the torch of the 19th and 20th century masters to the 21st century creative class.
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts has installed a companion exhibition, Resilience: African American Artists As Agents of Change that closes February 2, 2020. The artworks in Resilience, from the KIA’s permanent collection placed together, explore issues race, gender, triumph, endurance and spirituality. KIA’s distinguished permanent collection including the work of Robert Duncanson, Henry O. Tanner, Edmonia Lewis, Dawoud Bey, Frank Bowling, Richard Mayhew, Julie Mehretu, Lorna Simpson and Mickalene Thomas.
If you missed Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem, the next stop is Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, January 17 – April 12, 2020. The traveling exhibition will conclude at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, August 26 through December 13, 2020 before returning to the new and expanded Studio Museum in Harlem for the grand opening celebration of the new building forecast for completion in 2021.
*Painting is entitled Lawdy Mama, 1969, by Barkley Hendricks