Brooklyn Museum acquires new Black Arts Movement collection

Identity and liberation are among the themes emerging in the Brooklyn Museum’s newly acquired collection of works from the Black Arts Movement. Created in the late 1960s to mid-1970s, these works showcase incredible African American visual artists and their timeless talent and perspectives.

Jeff Donaldson (American, 1932-2004). Wives of Shango, 1969. Watercolor with mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 in.

The collection consists of 44 pieces by 26 artists that were carefully curated by former Chicago art dealers David Lusenhop and Melissa Azzi; together, the art addresses issues of Black self-worth and Black liberation and represent the “distinctive formal modes used by proponents of the Black Arts Movement, including, appropriation, photo-screen printing, and collage.”

According to Brooklyn Museum director Arnold L. Lehman, the collection “adds a new breadth and dimension to the [museum’s] late 20th century American holdings.” A selection of these works will be displayed in upcoming exhibitions from March 2013 through July 2014.

Included are AfriCOBA prints by Barbara Jones-Hogu, paintings and prints by Wadsworth Jarrell that used Day-Glo colors, and works by John Biggers, Sargent Johnson, Lois Mailou Jones, Benny Andrews, Cleveland Bellow, Kay Brown, Marie Johnson Calloway, Ben Hazard, Ben Jones, Carolyn Lawrence, Dindga McCannon, John T. Riddle, and Lev T. Mills.

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