”Soul of a Nation’: a Major Exhibition of African American Art Opens at ‘The Broad’

  1. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 opens this Saturday, March 23, 2019, at The Broad. Presented in collaboration with the Tate Modern, Brooklyn Museum, and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Arkansas, the exhibition presents an overview of African-American art during a tumultuous 20 year period whose aftershocks have never stopped reverberating. In addition to showcasing visual art from over 60 artists, the Broad is presenting a variety of events both on and off-site during the show’s six month run, including music, film and conversations with artists, curators, scholars, and others. Soul of a Nation is a major exhibition of art and culture that remains relevant today, featuring artists deserving of wider recognition.

The art on display is powerful in its own right and made even more impactful by the thoughtful manner in which it is curated and displayed. Works are arranged so that each gallery highlights a particular movement, region, or artistic medium: one section focuses on abstract art, the next on portraits, and so on. And there are exhibitions within the exhibition, some specific to Los Angeles. One gallery presents work from LACMA’s 1971 exhibition Three Graphic Artists showcasing Charles White, David Hammons and Timothy Washington, while art from Betty Saar’s 1973 exhibition at CSULA fills another. The placement of pieces interpolating and commenting on the American flag by Faith Ringgold and other artists in the same space that recently hosted Jasper John’s interpretations of the symbol offers one layer of metacritical commentary to the exhibtion and, though auxiliary to the main exhibition, the prominent display in The Broad’s main collection of works by contemporary artists like Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, and others who have picked up the mantle from the generation on display in Soul offers another.

Along with the exhibition opening on Saturday, The Broad is hosting Art and Politics: Soul of a Nation Symposium from 10 am to 5:30 pm at the Artani Theatre at 244 San Pedro St. Among those appearing will be exhibited artists Jae and Wadworth Jarrell and Gerald Williams, the poet Kamau Daaood, filmmaker Ava DuVernay and a variety of art historians and curators. A (sold out) discussion between the show’s three curators will be held at the museum on Sunday at 2 pm, and The Broad will host Exhibiting Black Art in 1970s Los Angeles on April 27th. There are three concerts scheduled during the show’s run: an evening of music curated by Quincy Jones and Terrace Martin on June 1st and performances by avant garde jazz icons Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton alongside younger artists on July 17th and August 14th, respectively. Free gallery talks will be presented at 7 pm Thursdays beginning May 2nd, while Art + Practice at 3401 W. 43rd Pl in Leimert Park will continue to present Time is Running Out of Time: Experimental Film and Video from the L.A. Rebellion and Today in association with Soul of a Nation through September 14th. And, if you just can’t wait to get started, you can visit the exhibition online to view some of the art, read more about it and even listen to a playlist of outstanding jazz and funk from the era curated by Mr. Jones.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983. The Broad, 221 S.Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012. March 23-September 1st, 2019. Dark Mondays. Tickets $18 adults, $12 students with ID. Free admission for children 17 and under and free to all Thursdays from 5-8 pm. Special events may require separate ticketing and pay schedules. For more information visit The Broad online.

All Photos by Christy Kane for Los Angeles Beat

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