This survey of the work of black feminist artist Faith Ringgold included paintings, masks, and soft sculptures, as well as the story quilts for which she is best known. The exhibition provided the first in-depth focus on these quilts, a medium that grew out of Ringgold’s need “to tell stories not with pictures of symbols alone, but with words.” The exhibition included Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima? 1983, the first work for which she wrote her own narrative, and Harlem Renaissance Party, 1988, the second quilt in Bittern Nest, a five-part series about an educated middle class black family.
Among Ringgold’s earlier works were paintings from the 1960s including the American People Series, 1963–1967, and The Flag is Bleeding, 1967, as well as The Family of Women Masks and Portrait Masks of the 1970s, which were influenced by such non-western aesthetics as Nigerian art. The mixed media and soft sculpture, Atlanta Series, 1981, created in response to the senseless killing of 20 black children, was also on view.
Organized by Eleanor Flomenhalt, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, the exhibition eventually toured 13 museums, including the Albright-Knox.
Many programs were presented in conjunction with Faith Ringgold: A 25 Year Survey, including a free lecture given by the artist on March 24 and a program of stories for families presented by storyteller and educator Karima Amin.
The catalogue that accompanied this exhibition contains essays by Flomenhaft; Thalia Gouma-Peterson, Director of the College of Wooster Art Museum, Ohio; Moira Roth, Art Historian at Mills College in Oakland, California; and Lowery Sims, Associate Curator of 20th Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
This exhibition was organized by Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Fine Arts Museum of Long Island Eleanor Flomenhalt.