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Civil Rights Movement: American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold's Painting of the 1960s

National Museum of Women in the Arts Presents First Comprehensive Survey of Faith Ringgold’s Politically Charged Paintings of the 1960s

Faith Ringgold’s pointed political paintings of the 1960s are the focus of American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s, an exhibition on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) June 21–Nov. 10, 2013. The exhibition explores the emotional and at times contentious issues that were at the forefront of her experience of racial inequality in the United States during the 1960s. Ringgold created bold, provocative paintings in direct response to the Civil Rights and feminist movements. With only a few exceptions, these once influential paintings disappeared from view, omitted from critical art-historical discourse for more than 40 years. The exhibition includes 49 works from the landmark series American People (1963–67) and Black Light (1967–71), along with related murals and political posters.
“In this important anniversary year for the Civil Right movement, NMWA is proud to show these little known but important early paintings by Faith Ringgold. This engaging and challenging exhibition reflects the depth of Ringgold’s work and the compelling issues she addresses,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Art and activism in the 1960s broadened opportunities within the art world for women artists, a goal that we continue to strive for at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.”
During 1963, the year of the March on Washington, the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the political assassinations of Medgar Evers and John F. Kennedy, Ringgold began work on a series of 20 paintings entitled American People.

This event was posted July 31, 2013 and last updated March 24, 2014