The exhibition will spotlight the breadth of The Studio Museum's 50 years of supporting and incubating artists of African descent. One of only six U.S. venues for the exhibition -- and the only Midwest stop -- the KIA is proud to welcome art by Kalamazoo native Titus Kaphar, Kalamazoo College graduate Julie Mehretu, and Kehinde Wiley (known for his portrait of President Barack Obama, now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC). The exhibition is currently on view at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC.
Black Refractions will fill all four of the museum's main floor galleries with an array of 90+ works created by artists from the 1920s to present. The exhibition is presented by the American Federation of Arts and Studio Museum, and is touring the country while the Studio Museum completes its new building. The Kalamazoo presentation is supported by Art Bridges.
"This exhibition creates opportunities for dialogue about how artists respond to the social happenings of their time, while also expanding our understanding of American, modern and contemporary art, as the artists address universal themes like class, identity, socio-economic power and status, and social justice."
Also opening September 14 and running through December 8 will be: Resilience: African American Artists as Agents of Change and Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan.
“Virtually the entire museum will offer a broad narrative about the creative genius of Black artists over the past 150 years, with the understanding that no single story encapsulates the strong and diverse voices influencing American society and the world,” says KIA Executive Director Belinda Tate.
The three exhibitions will be supported by a robust schedule of supporting programs, including visits by Black Refractions artists Steffani Jemison, Adia Millet, and Kori Newkirk (who will also host a workshop in the Kirk Newman Art School October 18-19).
The three exhibitions' opening will be celebrated Saturday, September 14 with a free Community Day Opening from 11 am-5 pm. Family activities from 11 am-3 pm include three of the exhibiting artists exploring and creating art with visitors: Brent Harris, James Palmore and Al Harris. Photographer, actress, and poet Tanisha Pyron will perform an extended spoken word piece several times during the afternoon.
"All together, our fall exhibitions and community programming will demonstrate the curiosity and virtuosity of artists who encourage new ways of seeing, understanding, and talking about art, society, and the world," says Tate.