Soul of a Nation shines a bright light on the vital contribution of Black artists to a dramatic period in American art and history
The Block Museum of Art is proud to have one of its newest acquisitions, Jeff Donaldson’s 1967 Study for the Wall of Respect [Miles Davis], on display in the landmark exhibition Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (July 12 – October 17, 2017) at the Tate Modern in London. The work will also be included in the exhibition’s tour to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas and the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
Soul of A Nation opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. In its wake emerged more militant calls for Black Power: a rallying cry for African American pride, autonomy and solidarity, drawing inspiration from newly independent African nations.Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey. Vibrant paintings, powerful murals, collage, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures, melted records, and tights – the variety of artworks reflects the many viewpoints of artists and collectives at work during these explosive times.
Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting. This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America.