ART IN OUR COMMUNITIES Vision & Spirit: African American Art

Works from the Bank of America Collection

Rehearsal (Music Series), 1997
Benny Andrews (American, 1930–2006)
Rehearsal (Music Series), 1997
Oil and collage on canvas 46” x 42” (116.8 × 106.7 cm) Bank of America Collection
© 2022 Estate of Benny Andrews / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY.

Vision & Spirit: African American Art is composed of more than 100 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs and mixed-media works by 48 artists born in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Curated in partnership with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the exhibition highlights key aspects of these artists’ lives, as well as the important objects they created. Vision & Spirit focuses on these talented individuals’ strength and spirit as creative forces whose work continues to shape our understanding of the world.

The wide variety of artists represented in the exhibition look forward, contribute to progress and guide the visitor toward greater equity and understanding. The theme of Vision & Spirit is resilience and demonstrates how African American artists have embodied this quality in their work. The exhibition explores the meaning of resilience: Is it perseverance? Is it staying power, or is it something much deeper? Resilience embodies strength and humanity.

Artists in the exhibition include Henry Clay Anderson, Chelle Barbour, Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, Willie Cole, Murry DePillars, Jacob Lawrence, Whitfield Lovell, Gordon Parks, Faith Ringgold, Jamel Shabazz and James VanDerZee.

Artists have always mattered. Whether it’s Lorna Simpson, whose work challenges narrow, conventional views of identity, history and memory using the African American woman as a visual point of departure, or Dewey Crumpler, whose examinations of the lure of contemporary pop culture in his mixed-media works explore global consumer capitalism, they inspire other artists to push forward and develop new ideas.

Vision & Spirit inspires viewers to go on a journey of revelation and discovery. Passion, ingenuity and beauty are brought forth by the creative geniuses in this exhibition. Art is a two-way conversation; viewing art is not a passive act. The artist speaks through their work, and, by way of their experience, the viewer has the opportunity and privilege to listen, reflect and to be transformed.

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