Groundbreaking exhibition of African-American art will tour five US venues

Groundbreaking exhibition of African-American art will tour five US venues

Solidary and Solitary: The Pamela J Joyner and Alfred J Giuffrida Collection will commence at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in Fall 2017

Tour Partners: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; Snite Museum of Art at the Notre Dame University; The Baltimore Museum of Art; University of California, Berkeley. Organizing Institution: Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Presentation Sponsor: The Helis Foundation

A major nationwide touring exhibition announced today, Solidary and Solitary, will offer a new perspective on the critical contribution black artists have made to the evolution of visual art from 1940s through to the present moment. Curated by noted art historians Christopher Bedford and Katy Siegel, this will be the first large-scale public exhibition to bring together a vital lineage of visionary black artists. Commencing in the mid-twentieth century with Abstract Expressionist Norman Lewis, the show will trace a line through some of the most celebrated artists working today such Theaster Gates and Lorna Simpson, as well as Mark Bradford, who will represent the USA at the Venice Biennale 2017.

Drawing on the Joyner/Giuffrida collection’s unparalleled holdings, a central theme will be the power of abstract art as a profound political choice, rather than a stylistic preference, for generations of African-American artists. The exhibition will demonstrate how abstraction has declared individual freedom; a resistance to the imagery of racist mainstream culture on the one hand, and pressures to create positive representations of black Americans on the other.

Ranging across 70 years, Solidary and Solitary will reveal a rich and complex history woven from the threads of artistic debates about how to embody blackness; social struggle and change; migrations and the international African diaspora. Highlights will include large-scale works by an array of artists that fuse the social and the abstract in visceral ways, including Jack WhittenJulie Mehretu, and Kevin Beasley, among many others. Placing a spotlight on individuals’ pursuit of creative freedom in different eras and geographical contexts, the exhibition will also feature several artists’ careers in depth, among them Norman LewisSam GilliamJennie C. Jones, Serge Alain Nitegeka and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

“There is no museum collection in the world that can tell this story.” Christopher Bedford commented, the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), which will host an expanded version of the exhibition across the entire contemporary wing in 2019. “Which is why Katy and I have made it our mission to make this singular activist private collection accessible to the public for the first time in a tour across city art galleries and some of the country’s leading seats of learning. This exhibition is part of a wider growing movement to address the blind spots in our shared cultural heritage. A distinct form of Social Abstraction is about to be made visible for everyone to appreciate from schoolchildren to undergraduates, academics to artists.”

Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming & Research Curator and Thaw Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University added: “As the exhibition title suggests (in Édouard Glissant’s powerful, poetic phrasing), these artists confront with bravery and creativity a tension we all feel, most especially African Americans, between the ‘solitary’ – being specifically, uniquely and only oneself – and the ‘solidary’ of a group’s collective social identity. It is essential that these histories be told, that the possibilities of individual achievement, collective identity and genuine, institutional social change be made vivid, concrete and beautiful. Only by remembering and understanding these histories can we move forward towards a different future collectively imagined.”

Solidary and Solitary will commence at the organizing institution the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans in Fall 2017, before touring to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and then the Snite Museum of Art at the Notre Dame University in 2018. The fourth venue, The Baltimore Museum of Art will present an expanded version which will occupy the entire contemporary wing with additional new commissions. The tour will conclude at the University of California, Berkeley Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).

The Solidary and Solitary tour is supported by Presentation Sponsor The Helis Foundation, a private Louisiana foundation committed to advancing access to the arts, and made possible with the support of The Pamela J Joyner and Alfred J Giuffrida Collection. A companion publication, Four Generations: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art, is published by Gregory R. Miller & Co., and edited by Courtney J. Martin (Brown University) featuring new research and writing from curators at some of the world’s leading institutions.

Tour Dates
Ogden Museum of Southern Art: September 30, 2017 - January 21, 2018
Nasher Museum: February 15, 2018 - July 15, 2018
Snite Museum of Art: August 20, 2018 - November 25, 2018
The Baltimore Museum of Art: March, 2019 – July, 2019
BAMPFA: August, 2019 – January, 2020

The Pamela J Joyner and Alfred J Giuffrida Collection was started in 1999 and originally focused on abstract work by post-war and contemporary African-American artists. Comprised of hundreds of works spanning four generations of artists, the collection ranges from pieces dated 1945 to the present day. In recent years the collection’s focus has expanded to incorporate a more global perspective including artists from Africa and the global African diaspora including South African artists such as Zander Blom, Mikhael Subotzky, and Nicholas Hlobo; as well as artists based in Europe and the UK such as Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Isaac Julien, Robin Rhode, and Oscar Murillo.

Joyner and Giuffrida inaugurated an artist residency programme in 2014 in Sonoma, California. Leonardo Drew held the initial residency and has been followed by artists and curators including: Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Matthew Witkovsky, Andrianna Campbell, Josh Ginsberg, Mikhael Subotzky, Samuel Levi Jones, and Kevin Beasley.

Christopher Bedford is the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the 10th director to lead the museum, which is renowned for its outstanding collections of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Recognized as an innovative and dynamic leader for building greater community engagement and creating programs of national and international impact, Bedford served as director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University for four years prior to joining the BMA and was recently appointed as Commissioner for the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibition, which will debut an exhibition of new work by American artist Mark Bradford. Previously, Bedford held the positions of chief curator and curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University (2008-2012), where he organized a nationally travelling exhibition of the work of Mark Bradford. He also served as assistant curator and curatorial assistant in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2006-2008) and consulting curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts for the J. Paul Getty Museum (2006-2008). Born in Scotland and raised in the United States and the UK, Bedford has a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College, received a master’s degree in art history through the joint program at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art, and has studied in the doctoral programs in art history at the University of Southern California and the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Bedford is also a noted author and contributor to publications including Art in AmericaArtForum, and Frieze, among others.

Katy Siegel is the inaugural Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University, and Senior Curator for Research and Programming at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She is the co-curator, with Christopher Bedford, of Mark Bradford’s exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale, and co-curator with Okwui Enwezor and Ulrich Wilmes of Postwar: Art Between the Atlantic and the Pacific, 1945-1965, at the Haus der Kunst, Munich. Past exhibitions have included Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?. Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, Light Years: Jack Whitten, 1971-1974, and High Times Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967-75, which toured internationally and received an award from AICA. Her edited volumes include "The heroine Paint": After Frankenthaler (2015) and Abstract Expressionism (2011); she is the author of Since ’45: America and the Making of Contemporary Art, which details the collision of American social history and European modernism (2011). She has written criticism and historical essays on contemporary and modern art for numerous institutions internationally, and is a Contributing Editor at Artforum, and Consulting Editor at The Brooklyn Rail. From 2010-2013 she was the Editor in Chief of Art Journal.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Located in the vibrant Warehouse Arts District of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art and is recognized for its original exhibitions, public events, and educational programs which examine the development of visual art alongside Southern traditions of music, literature, and culinary heritage to provide a comprehensive story of the South. Established in 1999, and in Stephen Goldring Hall at 925 Camp Street since 2003, the Museum welcomes almost 85,000 visitors annually, and attracts diverse audiences through its broad range of programming including exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, and concerts which are all part of its mission to broaden the knowledge, understanding, interpretation, and appreciation of the visual arts and culture of the American South. It is the first museum in Louisiana to be designated an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has celebrated its first decade as a major center for the arts in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. The museum organizes and presents leading-edge exhibitions that travel to institutions worldwide. The growing collection includes a focus on work by artists of African descent and photography. Other major strengths include European medieval art, European and American paintings, Outsider art, classical antiquities, African art and ancient American art. More than 1 million people have visited the Nasher Museum since it opened in 2005. For more information, visit

Snite Museum of Art at the Notre Dame University
The Snite Museum of Art provides opportunities to enjoy, respond to, learn from, and be inspired by original works of art. As a department of the University of Notre Dame, the Museum supports teaching and research, creates and shares knowledge, celebrates diversity through the visual arts, serves the local community, and explores spiritual dimensions of art. Considered one of the finest university art museums in America, the Snite Museum permanent collection contains over 28,000 artworks representing many of the principal cultures and periods of world art history.

The Baltimore Museum of Art 
The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 95,000 objects—including the largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse. Throughout the museum, visitors will find an outstanding selection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; works by established and emerging contemporary artists; significant artworks from China; stunning Antioch mosaics; and an exceptional collection of art from Africa. The BMA’s galleries also showcase examples from one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs and exquisite textiles from around the world. The 210,000-square-foot museum is distinguished by a grand historic building designed in the 1920s by renowned American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped sculpture gardens. As a major cultural destination for the region, the BMA hosts a dynamic program of exhibitions, events, and educational programs throughout the year. General admission to the BMA is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and film. BAMPFA is UC Berkeley’s primary visual-arts venue with screenings of some 450 films and presentations of up to twenty exhibitions annually. BAMPFA’s mission is to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.
The institution’s collection of more than 19,000 works of art dates from 3,000 BCE to the present day and includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and Conceptual art. BAMPFA’s collection also includes more than 17,500 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film.

The Helis Foundation
The Helis Foundation is a Louisiana private foundation, established and funded by the William Helis Family. The Helis Foundation’s resources and objectives are divided into two areas: the general fund, and the Diana Helis Henry and Adrienne Helis Malvin Art Funds. The general fund focuses on community needs primarily within the Metropolitan New Orleans area by granting funds to numerous local non-profit organizations.
The Art Funds were established by bequests from Diana Helis Henry and Adrienne Helis Malvin. The Art Funds make grants to sustain operations, to provide free admission to, and to acquire significant art works on behalf of major institutions within the Metropolitan New Orleans area. The Art Funds also underwrite major initiatives and special projects, such as Prospect.3’s Basquiat and the Bayou presented by The Helis Foundation, the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation, Airlift’s Roving Music Village in City Park, the installation of Lynda Benglis’ The Wave of the World in City Park, and The Helis Foundation Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden.

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