Brooklyn Museum exhibit features black women who inspired change

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 04:55PM
Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the latest details.


BROOKLYN - The title of the exhibit is "We Wanted A Revolution" and it's a look back to two decades of change in the streets and how that was reflected in the art of black women who were proud to call themselves "radicals." This collection of their work is from the 1960's, 70's and 80's.

The idea behind the exhibit is to learn much from those who had little: female artists of color who were excluded and denied.

"They are part of a continuum of struggle, but also of achievement," Linda Goode Bryant said.

Some of those represented at the Brooklyn Museum were first shown at a Manhattan gallery started by Bryant in 1974.

"African American artist and other artists of color were not being shown in galleries or major institutions like museums," Brant said.

What came to be called "the black arts movement" grew out of the black power movement.

"This exhibition covers a 20 year period of amazing change in American politics and American art history," co-curator Catherine Morris said.

The canvas called "for the women's house" was painted by Faith Ringgold as a beacon of hope for female prisoners at Riker's Island.

"Here you have a world where women were what was upfront... Women were being everything in society which in real time society was resisting," Bryant added.

The roots of this art in the politics of the 1960's are obvious.

"But behind that is the spirit and determination for them to make this work and to make it public when the larger society was ignoring them and their expression," Bryant said

The women who wanted a revolution, had to settle for a reappraisal, but they left behind a lesson for all of us.

"When people say 'no' - say 'yes!' Don't say 'no' to yourself. Say YES!" Bryant said.

She is a true pioneer: An early champion of work that has stood the test of time. This exhibit makes an important chapter of history come alive at the Brooklyn Museum. The show is open from now until September.

For more information, visit the Brooklyn Museum online.
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