During a recent visit to the nation’s capital, Graves + Mallett Art Solutions visited the awe-inspiring exhibition, Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art from the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Power couple Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida has collected work by African American artists since 1999 with a focus on abstraction. Their loan of 73 works by 28 artists of color from their collection is calculated to not only give the public a close up of art privately held, but to also reboot art history. In doing so, Joyner and Giuffrida are providing a platform for African American artists to gain entry into the permanent collections of museums and exhibitions. Joyner and Giuffrida further seek to expand the definition of American art by sharing the diversity and creativity of a range of African American artists. Historically, artists of color were discouraged from creating work outside of representational art. Crossing generations, the exhibition strategically places the work of post war abstractionists Ed Clark, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Alma Thomas and Jack Whitten alongside that of creative of the post-civil rights movement, Sam Gilliam, Al Loving, Howardina Pindell and Martin Puryear. Interspersed throughout the exhibition are the works of a new vanguard of abstractionists, Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Jennie C. Jones, Julie Mehretu, Lorna Simpson and Shinique Smith.
Powerfully presented, Generations provides the viewer with a significant missing link to American art history. Joyner and Giuffrida have created an opportunity for scholars to research the historical role of the Black abstract artists in the 20th and 21st centuries. Although the Generations exhibition closed at the Baltimore Museum of Art on January 19, 2020, the Perez Museum will feature the exhibition Solidary & Solitary, a smaller show of 30 works from the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection beginning April 24 through July 26, 2020.