Through July 10, 2022, the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University presents A Site of Struggle: American Art Against Anti-Black Violenceexploring how artists have engaged with the reality of anti-Black violence and the representational challenges that have accompanied it in the United States for over 100 years.
Images of African-American suffering and death have formed an enduring part of the nation’s cultural landscape, and the development of creative counterpoints to these images has been an ongoing concern for American artists. A wrestling site takes a new approach to examining the intersection of race, violence, and art by investigating the various strategies used by American artists to address anti-Black violence, ranging from representational to abstract and from literal to metaphorical.
The exhibition focuses on works created between the 1890s and 2013, situating contemporary art practice within a longer history of American art and visual culture. It highlights African Americans as active shapers of visual culture and highlights how art has been used to protest, process, mourn, and commemorate anti-Black violence.
A wrestling site features over 65 works from collections across the country, including works by Laylah Ali (b. 1968), George Bellows (1882–1925), Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012), Darryl Cowherd (b. 1940), Ernest Crichlow (1914–2005), Melvin Edwards (b. 1937), Theaster Gates (b. 1973), Ken Gonzales-Day (b. 1964), Norman Lewis (1909-1979), Kerry James Marshall (b. 1955), Isamu Noguchi (1904 –1988), Howardena Pindell (born in 1943), Carl and Karen Pope (born in 1961), Paul Rucker (born in 1968), Alison Saar (born in 1956), Lorna Simpson (born in 1960), Dox Thrash (1893–1965), Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953), Pat Ward Williams (b. 1948), and Hale Woodruff (American, 1900–1980).
Following its debut at The Block, the exhibit travels to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Alabama, where it will be on view August 12 through November 6, 2022. The accompanying publication is currently available through Princeton University Press.
The Block Museum of Art is always free and open to everyone. To learn more, visit blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.