The Nasher Museum presents a major nationwide touring exhibition that offers a new perspective on the critical contribution that artists of African descent have made to the evolution of abstract art from 1940s to the present.Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection is the first large-scale public exhibition to bring together a lineage of visionary black artists. The exhibition begins in the mid-20th century with Abstract Expressionist Norman Lewis and traces a line to some of today's most celebrated artists, including Theaster Gates and Lorna Simpson, as well as Mark Bradford, who represents the United States at the Venice Biennale 2017.
Solidary & Solitary draws on the Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Collection, which started in 1999 with a focus on abstract work by post-war and contemporary African-American artists, from 1945 to the present. In recent years, the collection's focus has expanded to include artists from Africa and the global African diaspora.
"This bold and colorful exhibition is filled with beauty and layers of meaning," said Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum, who serves as coordinating curator of the exhibition. "This is abstract art at its best-and a rare chance to see these works all together. Visitors will be thrilled with the grand scale, bright colors, unexpected textures and dynamic materials."
In Solidary and Solitary, visitors will discover a wide range of materials and textures, Price said. For example, Kevin Beasley laboriously flattened New Era® fitted Yankees caps and bandanas into the bright petals of a giant flower, veiling his hip-hop fashion references. Shinique Smith juxtaposed geometry and calligraphy in her collage of fabric and acrylic paint, called "No Key, No Question." Leonardo Drew built an 8-foot-tall abstract relief sculpture, "Number 52S," with intricate layer upon layer of wood pieces.
A monumental sculpture from the exhibition has transformed the Nasher Museum's Great Hall: a 25-foot-tall work made of paper and other materials by Mark Bradford.