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Rice University exhibits African-American art for centennial
Carl Christian, Here Comes the Sun, 1993. Photo: Greg Staley © Carl Christian.

By: Jeff Falk

HOUSTON, TX.- African-American art is being exhibited at the Rice University Art Gallery this fall as part of the school’s celebration of its 100th anniversary. “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African-American Art” is on view Sept. 13 through Nov. 18.

Larry and Brenda Thompson, parents of 1998 Rice alumnus Larry Thompson Jr., have collected works by acknowledged masters and by emerging and regional artists.

“Rice University is deeply grateful to Larry and Brenda Thompson for the opportunity to host this nationally recognized collection of 19th and 20th-century African-American art during our centennial year,” university President David Leebron said. “Art is one of the important ways we seek to understand our society and express the human experience, and this exhibition is part of Rice’s increasing commitment to bringing important works of art to our campus. We welcome the Houston community to Rice to enjoy this unique and remarkable collection, along with all our other public art.”

“Tradition Redefined” was first curated by Childs for the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts at University of Maryland, College Park, and presents the breadth of the Thompsons’ art collection, which spans the 1890s to 2007.

Featuring 72 works by 67 artists, the exhibition seeks to redefine the canon of African-American art by offering a more in-depth, inclusive presentation of the artists and their aesthetic and social concerns, according to the Driskell Center. Among the artists represented are Romare Bearden, Thelma Johnson Streat, Henry O. Tanner, Radcliffe Bailey, Howardena Pindell and William T. Williams, as well as other artists identified by the Thompsons, including Stefanie Jackson, Preston Sampson and Joyce Wellman.

All of the artists in the exhibition have strong ties to Atlanta, the center of a long-thriving African-American arts community, where the Thompsons have resided for several decades.





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