SAN DIEGO, CA.-
Two special exhibitions opened at The San Diego Museum of Art
this month! One show puts a spotlight on the African American community in Southern California during the second half of the 20th century, and the other show highlights the female artists who helped found the Abstract Expressionism movement.
Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California
Photographers Harry Adams (19181988), Charles Williams (19081986), and Guy Crowder (19402011) were prominent members of the African American community in Southern California. Spanning 50 years, their compelling images document the political events as well as the daily life of this community during the second half of the twentieth century.
Adams, Crowder, and Williams worked primarily as freelancers for such publications as the Los Angeles Sentinel, California Eagle, Los Angeles Times, and the LA Metropolitan Gazette. Working during one of the most critical periods in the United States for the advancement of African American civil rights, their subjects were the newsmakers of the daypoliticians, activists, entertainers, and athletesas well as everyday life in churches, garages, cocktail lounges, and schools. Their body of work reflects candid images of a community whose lives were rarely reflected in the wider media, as well as prominent figures such as Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Malcolm X, and others at key moments in their lives.
Black Life: Images of Resistance and Resilience in Southern California will be on view free to the public in the Museums Fleming Sr. Gallery (Gallery 14/15), located off the sculpture court adjacent to Panama 66.
This exhibition has been organized by The San Diego Museum of Art in collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Arts and California State University, Northridge. All works have been generously lent from the archive of the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center, California State University, Northridge.
Abstract Expressionism often brings to mind the work of artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, whose reputations have reached heroic heights. They have been posited as innovatorsthe creators of one of the most uniquely American art movements in history. The significance of the contributions made to Abstract Expressionism by Pollock and his male contemporaries should not be underestimated, but nor should the contributions of the many female artists who not only helped to found the movement but who continued to define abstraction for many decades.
Great efforts have been made in recent years to reevaluate the development of Abstract Expressionism in relation to womens contributions and it is from these efforts that this show builds. Drawn entirely from the Museums collection of works on paper, the work of pivotal artists including Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, and Deborah Remington as well as the work of contemporary artist Mary Heilmann, a leading figure in abstract American art, are brought together to demonstrate that the masculine lens through which abstraction has been previously understood must be removed.