Black History Month

“Seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” —President Gerald Ford, on the official recognition of Black History Month in 1976

February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a season for reflecting on their major role in our nation’s history.  Numerous works by important African American artists are on view in the Museum’s free collection galleries.

We invite you to take time this month to celebrate and honor these individuals and so many others:

Jack Whitten, Slip Zone, 1971, acrylic on canvas, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2010.26.1, © Jack Whitten

Jack Whitten was beloved by all who met him and admired far and wide for his innovative techniques. He created Slip Zone during a pivotal period of experimentation. In this work, he abandoned handmade gesture and brushstroke; instead, paint and canvas were “processed” through a technique using large paint-filled troughs through which he dragged the canvas, with sticks, rakes, and Afro-combs used to create surface texture.

While in college, Whitten participated in Civil Rights protests in the South until increasing violence led him north. While his artwork was celestial, it also expressed a distinctly Afrocentric narrative inspired by the Civil Rights movement and jazz. In 2016 he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Melvin Edwards, Machete for Gregory, 1974, welded steel, barbed wire, and chain, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2015.17, © Melvin Edwards

Melvin Edwards, a native Texan, was born in Houston in 1937. He is regarded as  a pioneer in the history of contemporary African American art and sculpture. In 1970 he became the first African American sculptor to have works presented in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellow­ship in 1971 and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation award in 1975.

Renee Stout, Fetish #2, 1988, mixed media (plaster body cast), Dallas Museum of Art, Metropolitan Life Foundation Purchase Grant, 1989.27, © Renee Stout, Washington, D.C.

Renee Stout uses her art to explore her African American heritage. She finds inspiration through the African diaspora and her life experiences, and creates works that encourage self-empowerment and healing, harnessing the belief systems of African peoples and their descendants. Among her many accolades are The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, The Pollock Krasner Foundation Award, and the Mayor’s Art Award (Washington, DC).

Kermit Oliver, Autoritratto, 1993, acrylic on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas, 2007.53.34, © Kermit Oliver

Kermit Oliver, who was a US Postal Service mail sorter by night and a painter by day, was named the Texas State Artist for 2017. Oliver designed 17 highly prized scarves for the French fashion house Hermes. The humble artist now resides in Waco, Texas, while his works are exhibited in places like the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

 

Julie Henley is the Communication and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,491 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories


%d bloggers like this: