Black Power Art was inspired by The Broad’s new exhibition in Los Angeles, “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983.” It is intended to be an eye-opener, not just to the work of African-American artists during a crucial period of self-assertion, but also to echo African American art today. The timing is right. When bigotry is, once again, raising its head, consciousness of who we are as humans are critical.
Sophia Nahli Allison’s “Portrait of my Mother” film.
What’s Going On, 1974, by Barkley Hendricks.
Homage to Malcolm X, 1970, by Jack Whitten.
Jack Johnson, 1971, by Raymond Saunders.
Unite, 1971, by Barbara Jones-Hogu.
The Flag is Bleeding, 1967, by Faith Ringgold.
Bag Lady in Flight, 1975, by David Hammons.
Revolutionary, 1971, by Wadsworth Jarrell.
Los Angeles International Airport, 1961. Architect: Paul R. Williams.
La Concha Motel, Las Vegas, 1961. Architect: paul R. Williams.
National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Jihad Nation, 1970, by Nelson Stevens.
Trane, 1969, by William T. Willams.
The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, murals, and photography of 60 artists. It proclaims intellectual power vis-à-vis a little-aware public. However, the implication of the show is much broader. It brings the past as shown in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the eloquence of James Baldwin, and the biting humor of Spike Lee.
James Baldwin, Novelist, Activist, Poet.
Angela Davis, Political Activist, Author.
William T. Williams, Painter.
Jack Whitten, Painter.
Sophia Nahli Allison, Filmmaker.
Barbara Jones-Hogu, Painter.
Sir David Adjaye, Architect.
Nelson Stevens, Artist, Educator.
Spike Lee, Filmmaker.
Mark Bradford, Artist.
Good art is good art, or it is not good art, whether the artist is African-American, Latino, Asian or white. Many of the themes in the exhibition are thematic, expressing the black condition at the time. However, abstract examples such as Jack Whitten’s fierce, frontal black triangle, “Homage to Martin,” and William T. Williams’ homage to John Coltrane, “Trane,” with its slashing spectrum of diagonal bands of color intersecting and overlaying each other, join the work of great artists, irrespectively of their ethnical background.