Faith Ringgold (b. 1930) is well-known as the progenitor of the African American story quilt revival that began in the late 1970s. In the 1960s, however, she found her political voice and discovered artistic methods to express it by painting two important series, American People and Black Light. Both series inform works she has created throughout her career and shed broader light on artistic production of the 1960s. Additionally, they provide critical insight into what it meant to be an African American woman artist during that time. However, with only a few notable exceptions, these works disappeared from view. Now, more than forty years after they were created, the Museum was proud to present the first comprehensive survey of these paintings.
The nationally touring exhibition American People, Black Light also highlighted Ringgold’s role as an artist activist and included a selection of her political posters. For the Woman’s House, a mural that she created in 1971 for the Woman’s House of Detention on Rikers Island was on view to the public for the first time.
American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s was curated by Miami Art Museum Director Thom Collins and Neuberger Museum of Art Curator and Purchase College Associate Professor of Art History Tracy Fitzpatrick with students from the Purchase College, SUNY, spring 2010 Art History Exhibition Seminar. Exhibition support has been provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.