The Norton Museum of Art is tapping into its permanent collection for the exhibition “Say it Loud! Art by African and African-American Artists in the Collection,” on display from December 27 through March 3, 2013. Dozens of works of art, from an array of genres, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and works on paper, make up the exhibition that spans a multitude of artist movements throughout the twentieth century. Featuring works from James Van Der Zee and his studio photography chronicle of the Harlem Renaissance and Al Loving’s bright and bold abstract canvases—one of the first best known African-American abstract artists of his generation—to Nick Cave’s bombastic and loud Soundsuits, “Say it Loud!” is a study of the evolution of art in the African and African-American community over the century, showing the parallels with the overarching art world’s growth, as well as highlighting what made these artists so unique.
“Say it Loud!” is a tangible history lesson, displaying works that stem from the Harlem Renaissance, both World War I and II, the Civil Right Movement and onto today. The works speak not just to an aesthetic disposition but also to the rumblings of community as a whole. Says Nick Cave of his Soundsuits, “They hide identity, gender, race and class; you are forced to reckon with the unfamiliar, the fantastic in a sense, without judgment.” This mirrors a more universal and global acceptance in modern society, a striking discord from the strife of the Civil Rights, of which Charles Alston was heavily influenced, as seen in his painting Walking, inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott. These eras, often stark and isolated, when displayed congruently, help paint a timeline of continuous artistic growth, each lending themselves to the next generation while maintaining a sense of tradition and legacy.
“Say it Loud!” is not just a look into artistic evolution, but “celebrates the diversity of the museum’s collection,” says Norton’s Executive Director Hope Alswang. With more than 20 artists work on display, the exhibition highlights just a fraction of the overall collection, which now stands at about 7,000 works. The museum has targeted five major areas of art: American art, European art, Chinese art, contemporary art and photography, many of which are on permanent and rotating display throughout the museum galleries.
- In connection with “Say it Loud!,” internationally renowned and exhibited artist Faith Ringgold will be on hand January 20 at 3 p.m. for a discussion of her work throughout her career. “More than 50 Years” follows Ringgold’s career from the early 1960s and the tumult of the Civil Rights to the turn of the century and her millennial works. Free with admission to museum, limited seating.
- For more information about “Say it Loud!” call 561-832-5196 or visit norton.org.