Black History Month

by Fred Showker

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The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago

We continue our tour at The Art Institute of Chicago where their collection of African American art provides a rich introduction to over 100 years of noted achievements in painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Ranging chronologically from the Civil War era to the Harlem Renaissance and from the civil-rights struggles following World War II to the contemporary period, these works constitute a dynamic visual legacy.

  • Elizabeth Catlett - Mexican (born United States), born 1915 Sharecropper, 1957 (printed 1970) Color linocut on cream Japanese paper
  • Archibald J. Motley Jr. often depicted contemporary black social nightlife in the city. His focus was Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. Also known as the Black Belt, this area became home to more than 90 percent of the city's black population by the 1930s. Nightlife, 1943 Oil on canvas
  • Kerry James Marshall completed Many Mansions in 1994 (Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas); the first in a series of five large-scale paintings depicting public housing projects in Chicago and Los Angeles. American, born 1955
  • Romare Bearden's The Return of Odysseus portrays the climax of The Odyssey, an epic poem by the ancient Greek author known as Homer. 1977 Collage on masonite. American, 1911-1988

See many works from African American artists who helped shape our art heritage...
Chicago African American art

Douglas was the Harlem Renaissance artist

Aaron Douglas

Douglas was the Harlem Renaissance artist whose work best exemplified the 'New Negro' philosophy. He painted murals for public buildings and produced illustrations and cover designs for many black publications. Douglas has been called the Father of African American art, and his paintings display elements of cubism as well as shapes from Ancient Egyptian and West African art. Many of his works are like Aspiration, above, with layered images and similar color schemes. His paintings represent the African American struggle for political and creative freedoms, and though they are so dynamic, it's important to recognize that Douglas was not only a painter, and some of his drawings and illustrations are also on display.
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Enjoy an entire slideshow of Aaron's work

Rhapsodies In Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance

Rhapsodies In Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance

To discover other Black artists who shaped the American art scene visit the Institute of International Arts' wonderful art gallery. This Web site provides an introduction to the exhibition curated by David A. Bailey and Richard J. Powell and organised by the Hayward Gallery, London in collaboration with the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC., and the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA). The Web site combines images and text to elaborate on some of the key themes in the exhibition: The Harlem Renaissance, Representing the New Negro, Modernism and Modernity, A Blues Aesthetic, Imaginging Africa, Haiti and Images of Black Nationhood.
Rhapsodies In Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance

African Americans in the Visual Arts

Long Island University is home of the C.W. Post Campus and the B. David Schwartz Memorial Library where you'll find an exhaustive study called African Americans in the Visual Arts: A Historical Perspective, under the guidance of Prof. Melvin R. Sylvester, Library Periodicals Department.

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30th Anniversary for DTG Magazine


On February 13th, Anonymous said:

Wow! Paul Collins is amazing! Vel Verrept is another great artist on the rise

On February 15th, Marsha Pennyfeather said:

I enjoyed the journey through the gallery. I missed your request for black artists, but will certainly jot down sites I find during the year and pass them along.

On March 3rd, Arnold L Johnson said:

One artist stands out for me that is Sam Gilliam.

On March 26th, Barbara Wright said:

This is such a wonderful service you do for the design industry --- we read for the first time last year in February...

It's great that you do this every year -- keep up the great work, Fred

Barbara Wright